Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Sajjad Ahmad Banjara, Jama Masjid
The parlour confession.
[By Mayank Austen Soofi]
The sky is blue, the winter sun is shining, the daylight is warm. The stone staircase of Jama Masjid’s southern face is teeming with citizens. One of them is Sajjad Ahmad Banjara, attired in the customary red cap of professional ear cleaners who stroll through the lanes looking for customers. He agrees to become a part of The Delhi Walla’s Proust Questionnaire series in which citizens are nudged to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore our distinct experiences.
Your favorite virtue.
Not lying, though sometimes one is obliged to lie so as not to hurt a loved one’s feelings.
Your favorite qualities in a person.
Insaniyat (humanity), and devotion to one’s spouse.
What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
Your main fault.
Every man is made of faults. Like most people, I too try to hide my faults, so I cannot answer this question.
Your favorite occupation.
Your idea of happiness.
When my family obeys me, for I am the head of the household…. my wife and my four children live in zila Moradabad.
Your idea of misery.
Betrayal from the family, or from a friend.
If not yourself, who would you be?
A very difficult question. I was destined to be an ear cleaner. My father was an ear cleaner, so was his father, and so was his father…. But I don’t want my children to take up this profession. They go to school everyday. They will receive education and become something else.
Where would you like to live?
Sehalimala, my village in Moradabad.
Your heroes in real life.
My father, he died last year after a heart attack. I respect him greatly because despite being a khandani ear cleaner he was able to change his profession… he became a clothes merchant during his final years.
What do you hate the most?
What is your present state of mind?
I’m thinking of the weather today, so sunny and nice.
Faults for which you have the most tolerance
Being mocked by friends.
Your motto in life.
To always defend myself when being unjustly accused.