| Russian models at the show. (PTI)
Bangalore, Feb. 10: If the flying machines don’t get you, the birds on the ground will.
There is no question who are the bigger draw at Aero India 2007, the hulking fighters and bombers or the leggy Russian models at the stalls.
“The women are better than the machines, which look ugly. The women dress up really well. Quite an eyeful,” said Amit Shankar, a visitor.
Flown in by aircraft manufacturers as stall assistants, the 20-odd beauties strutting about in figure-hugging clothes didn’t mind the stares.
“In any case, I am too tall for you Indians,” joked one of them in a thick Russian accent, identifying herself only as “Anna”.
At least six-foot-two and wearing high heels, she and her “sister” Petrova would tower above most Indian males.
“They look like Fashion TV models: tall, leggy,” an IAF officer said admiringly. “And like those women, they never smile.”
But they willingly stopped to pose for news photographers as they shuttled between their company stalls and chalets, clutching a bottle of water.
Neither the girls nor the five Russian companies that hired them would accept they were here as eye candy, though.
“Are you a model'”
“No, no. We have been hired as assistants on contract,” replied a bluish grey-eyed girl in a white frock that ended above her knees. Another, Eva, in a colourful T-shirt and skirt, said she was an assistant at MiG’s Moscow office.
“Why do we have the girls' They are here on our business,” replied a MiG employee manning the company stall rather curtly. Rosobaronexport, Irkut, Sukhoi and Klimov were the other firms that hired the models.
The girls handed out brochures, did photocopies and even tried to answer visitors’ queries in their pidgin English. A question, however, would mostly be followed by a flurry of exchanges in Russian before one of them went and fetched a male, who would be no better.
The large stalls, with company logos and names blazoned across the top, exhibited aeroplane models, engine parts and cockpit simulators. Most had several large screens playing company DVDs, but few were watching those.
“The women are certainly interesting. I wish they could speak more English so I could converse with them,” rued visitor Vinod Kumar.
The girls helped out also at the chalets — makeshift private rooms hired by the companies where their officials rested and had snacks or drinks served by five-star hotels.
But for regulars to Yelahanka, the venue of the two-yearly show, Russian babes are nothing new. They have been coming for many editions.
Maria said this was her second visit. “I like Bangalore,” the young blonde claimed, but moments later added that on neither occasion had she stepped out of Yelahanka or her hotel to sightsee or shop.
The Indian stalls employed college girls. Why not Carol Gracias'
“Our staffers are manning the HAL pavilion. We didn’t feel the need to have models here,” said Hindustan Aeronautics Limited spokesman Anantha Krishnan M.
Nor did any of the other countries at the show, including the US and France.
“But it’s a good idea if it grabs more eyeballs,” the HAL spokesman said. “We’ll put it up before the HAL board and maybe next time make it more glamorous.”