The Sounds of Perth

The first thing you notice about Perth – especially when you come from Mumbai is how open it is. Where are the skyscrapers? It can actually be scary to see no buildings when the plane lands. The second thing, of course, is how quiet the place is. You can’t believe you’re in a city.

Perth doesn’t have ‘people noise’ here – unlike Mumbai. OK, 1.5 million people will hardly be as noisy as 15 million Indians living on top of each other. The only time Perthites get noisy is a) when they’re drinking beer b) when they’re yelling Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi-oi-oi. But there are other sounds – which sound quite creepy until you get used to them.

You do you hear the traffic whizzing past, a novel concept when you’re used to traffic hooting, honking, cranking gears, and hooting, and honking – did I mention hooting and honking? Perth drivers are smooth, silent types.

For the first week or so I kept waking up every time the sprinklers turned on outside in the night. It was such an alien sound for me! 

The crows – at least I suppose they’re crows – talk to you over here. That’s putting it kindly. They mock you while you walk past. They sort of baa at you rather than caw, and I kept looking out for goats the first few times I heard them. The cockatoos and cockatiels make their presence known as well. After years of rookity-coo and cackling cawing, from the regular Mumbai window-sill squatters, it’s actually pleasant and somewhat fascinating.

There are other sounds too, far more intriguing, and not so frequent. I watched a didgeridoo being played, and it’s the most amazing instrument I’ve seen. For such an inelegant length of wood, it makes a really powerful sound. I wouldn’t even call it musical, because it sort of speaks, with a rhythm and sound like no other woodwind instrument I’ve heard.

As for the sights of Perth…ah well, that’s another Perthinentry.


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