Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Aditi Bhatia, Saidulajab
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 nineteenth installment of Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire, Aditi Bhatia — a “born-and-bred Delhi girl and budding writer” — made confessions to Manika, outside the former’s office in Saidulajab.
Your favorite virtue or the principal aspect of your personality
Your favorite qualities in a man
Both humour and sensitivity. And ambition
Your favorite qualities in a woman
If a woman has the capacity to love unconditionally, even beyond family ties, it is a sign of power and beauty
Your chief characteristic
What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
That they can bear with me
Your main fault
Haven’t thought about that yet
Your favorite occupation
Your idea of happiness
When everyone is happy
Your idea of misery or what would be your greatest misfortune?
To not be able to come out of one
If not yourself, who would you be?
I haven’t yet mastered the art of being myself, so I’ll stick to being myself for now
Where would you like to live?
You mean settle down forever? India, where else will you find so much colour! But I also want to travel a lot and keep coming back to India
Your favourite colour and flower
I love the deeper tones of all colours, and white, anytime. Love a huge bush of Bougainvillea
Your favorite bird
All the very tiny ones
Your favorite prose authors
Ayn Rand, Roald Dahl (his creepy stories), John Grisham
Your favorite poets
Not big on poetry. Makes me sleepy
Your favorite heroes in fiction
Howard Roark from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Your favorite heroines in fiction
Jo from Little Women, even Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind) and of course Draupadi (if mythology counts)
Your favorite composers
Rahman, Vishal Bhardawaj, Indian Ocean
Your favorite painters
Madhubani artists from rural India
Your heroes/heroines in real life
Zora Sehgal for her sheer spirit. Hers was not an easy life
What characters in history do you most dislike?
Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter’s Defence against the Dark Arts teacher in year 5 (history can be Hollywood history too, right?)
Your heroines in World history
Malala Yousafzai, Cleopatra
Your favorite food and drink
Chinese and Mojito or Watermelon juice
Your favourite names
Noor, Anamika, Vaidehi, Meenakshi (only when you pronounce it the way they do it in the South!)
What do you hate the most?
When people have double standards
The military event you admire the most
The reform you admire the most
Most of the social and women related reforms of the 1900s
The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with
I do have a few (I sing, and am trained in Hindustani classical). I just need to put them to better use
How do you wish to die?
Don’t want to feel any pain
What is your present state of mind?
Faults for which you have the most tolerance
I think I am quite tolerant as a person in general
Your motto in life