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.    The 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.