Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Muhammed Saleem, Connaught Lane
The parlour confession.
[By Mayank Austen Soofi]
A glass cabinet containing dozens of keys forms the backdrop of his pavement kiosk. Key maker Muhammed Saleem have been manning this modest Connaught Lane landmark for decades. A while ago, this afternoon, a monkey from the adjacent tree suddenly jumped onto his counter, but he showed no alarm (as if they were friends), calmly agreeing to become a part of our Proust Questionnaire series in which citizens are nudged to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore our distinct experiences.
Faults for which you have the most tolerance.
People spewing out gaalis (swear words).
The principal aspect of your personality.
Mera kaam (my work).
What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
That they understand my feelings.
Your main fault.
Your favorite occupation.
Your idea of happiness.
Having a house of my own—Currently I live in a rented house. 2) Having a car—Currently I have a motor cycle.
Your idea of misery or what would be your greatest misfortune?
If my wife dies.
If not yourself, who would you be?
Cricketer. I used to play cricket very well in my schooldays.
Where would you like to live?
Amid silence and beauty, possibly in the mountains.
Your favourite colour and flower.
Your favorite bird.
The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with.
Your favorite singer.
Your heroes/heroines in real life.
Pitaji—my late father, Akhtar Husain, raised me with love and care, and taught me key making. His stall was on the footpath near Scindia House.
Your heroines in world history.
Rani Lakshmi Bai. So brave! She fought the British on a horseback! In direct combat!
Your favorite food and drink.
Your favorite names.
Anil, Manoj, Shahrukh, Salman.
What do you hate the most?
When people lie to me, and when people borrow money from me and then they don’t return.
How do you wish to die?
While I’m still active.
What is your present state of mind?
I’m thinking about the things you have been asking me. These sawal (questions) seemed easy, but I have to think really hard to find their answers.
Your motto in life.