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Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Naman Govil, The Book Shop

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 twentieth installment of Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire, Naman Govil — co-founder and director of I Share to Care — made confessions to Mayank at The Book Shop in Jor Bagh.

Your favorite virtue or the principal aspect of your personality

Understanding rather than judging

Your favorite qualities in a man

intelligence, wit, tolerance

Your favorite qualities in a woman

Intelligence, wit, tolerance

Your chief characteristic


What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

Their company

Your main fault

I am fickle

Your favorite occupation

Traveling, reading and daydreaming

Your idea of happiness

Traveling, solitude/good company, books

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

Losing the ability to see

If not yourself, who would you be?

A rock

Where would you like to live?

South of France, Argentina, Berlin, Himachal/Ladakh

Your favourite colour and flower

Green and magnolia

Your favorite bird


Your favorite prose authors

Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Milan Kundera, Albert Camus

Your favorite poets

Elliot, Frost, Plath

Your favorite heroes in fiction

I’ll mention my favorite characters, might not necessarily be heroes – Dorian Gray, Lord Henry Wotton, Atticus Finch, Boo Radley, Theo Decker, Boris, Raskalnikov, Tomas, harry Potter, Severus Snape (there are many more, but these are the ones which come to mind right now)

Your favorite heroines in fiction

I’ll mention my favorite characters, might not necessarily be heroines – Scout Finch, Teresa, Sabina, Liesel Meminger (there are many more, but these are the ones which come to mind right now)

Your favorite composers

Mozart, Chopin, Tchaikovsky

Your favorite painters

Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet

Your heroes/heroines in real life

There are people who influence and affect me in the most positive way, but making hero/heroines in real life can be a dangerous business

What characters in history do you most dislike?

Human history is littered with dislikable characters. Can’t possibly list them all here

Your heroines in World history

[No response]

Your favorite food and drink

Italian, Japanese, thai, Indian/tea, beer, wine, single malt

Your favorite names

Zoya, Sarah, Jehangir

What do you hate the most?

Cruelty towards animals

The military event you admire the most

[No response]

The reform you admire the most

Thomas Cromwell’s idea of reformation in 16th Century England. There have always been admirable ideas, but execution is where we have failed as a race

The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with

Playing the piano

How do you wish to die?

Without pain

What is your present state of mind?


Faults for which you have the most tolerance

Faults which are a part of who you are as a person, ones which cannot be helped

Your motto in life

Live and let live