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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

Day dreaming

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
[No response]

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

Love unconditionally