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Delhi's partial eclipse dampened by clouds

It was supposed to be the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century, but for Delhi the clouds played spoilsport as the sun played peek-a-boo from behind them, reports Shakeel Sobhan.

delhi Updated: Jul 22, 2009 19:01 IST
Shakeel Sobhan

It was supposed to be the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century, but for Delhi the clouds played spoilsport as the sun played peek-a-boo from behind them. A small crowd had gathered at India Gate, New Delhi to catch this celestial phenomenon but for most of the time the sun remained hidden behind the clouds.

6:00 am: Blair Miller, a Canadian working as a consultant in India for the past three years had waited since 5:30 am to catch the solar eclipse. "Even though I've seen a total lunar eclipse, I've never seen a solar eclipse. I'm not really an enthusiast, but I'd like to see it if I can," he said. As the clouds continued to shield the sun, he remained expectant. "I'm hopeful," he said, adding, "Probably we would see parts of the eclipse through the cracks in the clouds." Even as other people seemed to be dejected by the play of the clouds Blair continued to remain optimistic. "Even if I don't get to see the eclipse, it is a nice morning, good weather and the India Gate is beautiful," he said smilingly.

6:10 am: Shivaji Handa and Samir Thakral of Meera Model School, Janakpuri were there to catch the eclipse but were disappointed by the no show of the sun. They went off to the National Science Center, Pragati Maidan to get a better view of the eclipse.

6:20 am: Shiv Kumar Gupta, 61 and Ajay Kumar Gupta, 50, were out for a walk when they decided to catch the solar eclipse after hearing about in Tuesday night's news. "We did not come out solely to catch the eclipse," said Gupta, "while we were taking our walk, Ajay felt like coming here and now that we are here, we are waiting for the sun to show up. But I don't know if we'll be able to see anything with all these clouds."

6:30 am: The clouds had parted way for the eclipse to be seen at about 6:30 am and it was around 80 per cent total eclipse. Suman Thapa, 29 and his friend had been waiting since 5 am to catch the eclipse. "After we waited for more than an hour I told my friend that nothing was going to happen but he said we should wait till around 7 am. I'm thankful that we waited," he said, adding, "I wouldn't want to miss this for anything."

6:40 am: As the sun came out from behind the clouds the crowd smiled and quickly whipped out their protective shades to catch this once in a lifetime phenomenon. The temptation was so alluring that Jatin, 21, a media consultant, could not help himself from having a glimpse of the eclipse even though he had been strictly instructed by his mother not to do so. His sheepish smile said a lot.

The clouds might have dampened the spirits of the enthusiasts who had caught the morning early, just to see the eclipse, but for the brief period that the solar eclipse was seen, silhouetted against the India Gate, it was sight to behold.