Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Maliha Sultan, Gurgaon
The parlour confession.
[By Mayank Austen Soofi]
She spent her growing years in a home that overlooks Humayun’s Tomb. Perhaps it was the perfection of the Mughal-era dome that inspired her to become an architect. Maliha Sultan’s work has straddled across India and the UK. Currently, she divides her days between Gurugram, where she visits her son in Sector 65, and Ahmedabad, where she lives with four housemates and is pursuing her PhD on “socially relevant architectural education.” She agreed to be a part of our Proust Questionnaire series in which citizens are nudged to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore our distinct experiences.
Your favorite qualities in a man
Honesty, understandability, adaptability, respect for other human beings. Real courage to take this life head on. The one who reads, understands poetry, deeper meanings of life and is still humble about his existence.
Your favorite qualities in a woman.
Courage, integrity and good sense of humour.
Your chief characteristic.
I am a misfit in most places, and always looking for the world to fit. That’s the larger dream in this life. I am also a person with no filters; inappropriate responses to situations make me stand out. I want to know and be everything, and yet still be humble, like the big tree with lots of produce (fruits) – jhuka hua darakht.
Your main fault.
Not being able to draw my boundaries, and not able to say “No.”
Your favorite occupation.
Being a mentor, teacher in this school of life.
Your idea of happiness.
Life is full of fleeting moments of joy and pain. And all beings go through them, everything else is transient.
Your idea of misery.
Where would you like to live?
Home, anywhere in the world. I know I have the power to make my home anywhere, by just being with my true authentic self.
Your heroes/heroines in real life
Iqbal Ahmed (my Daadu), Sultan Iqbal (dad) Nikhat Sultan (maa), Ashok B Lall (educator), KT Ravindran (life mentor), Anwer Jamil (politician, uncle, father figure).
What is your present state of mind?
Perplexed, yet hopeful.
Faults for which you have the most tolerance.
How do you wish to die?
In my sleep, probably by breathing into something toxic (but fragrant) and just going away in peace.