Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Rekha Massey, Paharganj
The parlour confession.
[By Mayank Austen Soofi]
Each time she flashes a smile, its sunshine radiance lights up her Bubbles, the boutique she has been running inside a Paharganj cafè for 15 years. Delhi’s backpackers’ district is yet to recover from the pandemic, but Rekha Massey remains optimistic for her establishment. It is crammed with tops, shorts, skirts, scarves (and also tatty Lonely Planets in Hebrew and French that Paharganj travellers occasionally leave behind at her place). In her early 40s, she commutes daily on the Metro from her home in distant Dwarka. She agrees to become a part of the Proust Questionnaire series in which citizens are nudged to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore our distinct experiences.
Your favorite virtue.
I smile all the time.
What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
Their ability to make me feel free.
Your main fault
I’m too helpful. Sometimes I offer help to people without them asking for it… turns out that is not always helpful!
Your idea of misery.
That I am all alone.
If not yourself, who would you be?
Where would you like to live?
Greece. I love everything about it—sky, sea, salad and ah, the olive oil!
Your heroes/heroines in real life
Papa. His name is Mr Raj Kumar. He retired from the army. Whatever I have learned from him is what I’m following in life.
Your favorite names
Alex, my brother’s son.
What do you hate the most?
Going to dentist.
The reform you admire the most
The hard-earned freedom that I have inherited as a woman. But I personally know some of us women who take this freedom very lightly. That makes me furious, because there are still so many of us living without their freedom, without their choices.
How do you wish to die?
While still young.
What is your present state of mind?
I’m feeling free.
Faults for which you have the most tolerance.
People’s superficial rudeness.
Your motto in life
Stay honest, stay with honest people.