Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Ram Swaroop, Sadar Bazar
The parlour confession.
[By Mayank Austen Soofi]
Rickshaw puller Ram Swaroop arrived in the Delhi region from his native Fatehpur in UP around 15 years ago, his family still lives there. In his early 40s, he sleeps on his rickshaw at night, he says, which he parks on the footpath. His hobbies include listening to Hindi film songs. This afternoon, waiting for customers in Sadar Bazar, he gamely became a part of the Proust Questionnaire series in which folks are nudged to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore citizens’ distinct experiences.
The principal aspect of your personality
Your favorite qualities in a man
Ability to earn well for his family.
Your favorite qualities in a woman
She should take good care of her husband’s parents, she should be religious, and she should keep her children clean.
What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
I don’t have friends. But I like those men who can sing filmi gaane (songs) in their entirety.
Your main fault
I get scared easily.
Your favorite occupation
Your idea of happiness
Earning 500 rupees in a single day.
Your idea of misery
Losing my legs or arms in a bimari (sickness) or an accident. My family needing me in an emergency while I’m far from them.
If not yourself, who would you be?
A rich man.
Where would you like to live?
Where there are no thieves.
Your favourite colour and flower
Your favorite bird
No bird. They drop their beet (excreta) wherever they want. So many times on my head, on my arms, on my rickshaw seat.
Your heroes/heroines in real life
Surinder Singh. He runs a dhaba and gives food to beggars for free.
What characters in history do you most dislike?
Your favorite food and drink
Fish curry. Daru and Limca mixed together.
Your favorite names
Ram. Krishna. Seeta. Lakshmi.
What do you hate the most?
The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with
To appear and disappear on my own will, like Mr India.
How do you wish to die?
When I’m very old.
What is your present state of mind?
Theek-thaak (fine). I have earned 200 rupees since morning and it’s only afternoon.
Faults for which you have the most tolerance
When people abuse with gaali. They don’t mean those dirty words. Even I sometimes use gaali.
Your motto in life
Don’t talk much, do your job chupchap (silently), and remember that God never sleeps and he is watching you.