I once witnessed a total eclipse of the sun. I can’t recall the year — just that I was young. And that I was home in India.
It was supposed to happen at midday. All of Kolkata was abuzz. We went and bought our eclipse-watching goggles and waited with the kind of anticipation that could rival a bride’s as she walks down the aisle.
But in India, solar eclipses are the stuff of superstition. Pregnant women stay indoors for fear of giving birth to a tainted baby. Temples close. Somehow, the sun’s light disappearing is cause for much concern.
And eerie it was. When there should have been skin-burning rays, darkness fell upon the congested city of millions. When there should have been bustling markets and overflowing buses, there was emptiness. Day became night. We ran to the rooftop of my grandfather’s house to catch a glimpse of the sun’s corona.
Miraculous, it was. The sun appeared like a crescent moon, a silvery sliver high in the sky.
I helped put together CNN’s story on the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century, first seen on Wednesday in eastern India. I wondered if my friends and family were out on rooftops, just like I had been, marveling at the celestial spectacle.