“The arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Sukhois and religious chants
Riverside Fairgrounds, Deccan, Pune.
Pune Civilian Airport.
In India, I can think of no town or city where the early
mornings are quiet. Blaring religious
chants from small and large temples in every neighborhood on crackly amplified
sound systems provide a constant backdrop. One
might think that this is an urban phenomenon. It’s not! It’s equally bad in the countryside. It’s really depressing when you wake up in the
morning on a trek in the mountains and hear these sounds floating up from a
village way down below. The religious (Hindu mostly) chants and hymns start
around 5 am. They usually stop by about 7:30 to 8:00 am. I think we fear hearing our own thoughts first
thing in the morning and have to snuff them out with the name of the Lord(s).
The sound I really
like in the morning is that of Sukhoi fighter planes, in pairs or singly on practice sorties
above Pune. It starts like a distant
rumble of thunder and waxes and wanes in the wind. As they get closer the jet engine
sound becomes apparent. You can
rarely see them. Black triangular specks
in the sky. They Doppler out going overhead and then go back to being a rumble.
Indian Airforce has based a couple of squadrons of these Russian war planes, Sukhoi Su-30MKI in
Pune. They have a very nice
profile. They resemble General Electric F-14
Tomcats but are not that large. Similar
swing wing, dual engine/tailplane fighters.