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Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Judith Oriol, Connaught Place

The Proustian self-introspection.

[By The Delhi Proustians]

The Proust Questionnaire represents a form of interview that owes its structure to answers given by French novelist Marcel Proust, the author of In Search of Lost Time, at two birthday parties that he attended at ages 13 and 20 in the late 19th century.

In early 2013, The Delhi Proustians started taking Les confidences de salon (Drawing room confessions) around the city to explore people’s lives, thoughts, values and experiences. The series involves interviews across Delhi and is conducted by writers Manika Dhama and Mayank Austen Soofi.

For the eighteenth installment of Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire, Judith Oriol, who works in the Book Office of the French Embassy, made confessions to Mayank.

Your favorite virtue or the principal aspect of your personality

Observation and listening

Your favorite qualities in a man

Charisma and a touch of feminity

Your favorite qualities in a woman

Independence and unconventionality

Your chief characteristic

To be unpredictable

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

Their tolerance, their minds open on the entire world, their faithfulness, their freedom, their acceptance of my extravaganza and their stunning talents

Your main fault

Being solitary – and liking it

Your favorite occupation

Reading and travelling

Your idea of happiness

Reading and travelling

Your idea of misery or what would be your greatest misfortune?

Loss and disappearance

If not yourself, who would you be?

A better me

Where would you like to live?

I would love to live simultaneously in different places and wish I could spend my mornings in India, my afternoons in Africa, my evenings in France and my nights in Turkey

Your favourite colour and flower

The range of different purples that you can see on some very rare orchids

Your favorite bird

The one who visits me every morning to check on me in my small Delhi garden

Your favorite prose authors

Marcel Proust, Marguerite Duras and Patrick Modiano

Your favorite poets

Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Francis Ponge and Yves Bonnefoy

Your favorite heroes in fiction

Dorian Grey and all the heroes of Balzac, from the strongest to the most fragile characters, full of humanity despite their failures

Your favorite heroines in fiction

All the women in Marcel Proust’s works

Your favorite composers

Tchaikovsky far before all the others

Your favorite painters

Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard and Gustav Klimt

Your heroes/heroines in real life

My parents, both for different but obvious reasons, and a few writers I admire, had the chance to meet and who happen to be even more impressive as human beings than as writers

What characters in history do you most dislike?

The ones who deserve to be hated but who have had the luck to be forgotten

Your heroines in World history

Simone de Beauvoir

Your favorite food and drink

French, Italian, Japanese and Thaï food – along with French wine

Your favorite names

Salomé, Esther, Joseph, Ana, Lisa. They all come from the past or from my past

What do you hate the most?

When people disappoint me as well as when I disappoint people

The military event you admire the most


The reform you admire the most

The one still to come which will federate people

The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with

A great voice, a Nina Simone‘s voice

How do you wish to die?


What is your present state of mind?

Find intelligent answers to this questionnaire so that I don’t disappoint you

Faults for which you have the most tolerance

The ones caused by suffering

Your motto in life

Don’t do to others what you would not want others to do to you. As old as Confucius

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