Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire - Gulam Muhammed Malik, Public Library

Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Gulam Muhammed Malik, Public Library

Waiting for Godot.

[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]

The same handsome gaunt face, the same lean figure. The hawk-like eyes glinting in immersive thoughts, the meditative lines on the forehead, and the smart short-cropped grey hair.

He is every inch a Samuel Beckett (have you read his Waiting for Godot?!). The only thing missing is the Gucci hobo bag that the great Irish playwright was seen holding in an iconic photograph.

Gulam Muhammed Malik is a retired school teacher from Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir, who spends the winter months at his daughter’s home in less cold Delhi. Here, he often hangs out in a public library, poring upon books and newspapers. That’s exactly what he is doing this afternoon. He agrees 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.

The principal aspect of your personality.
I’m unbendable, a man of principles.

Your favorite qualities in a person.
Their life should comprise of good alfaz, of words that never hurt others.

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
A friend shouldn’t ask me just about my feelings, but also share his own feelings with me.

Your main fault.
I panic easily, even for small things.

Your favorite occupation.
Reading newspapers, especially the news on politics.

Your idea of happiness.
To stay in the middle of things, not very up and not very down.

Your idea of misery.
Apno ko khana… losing my people.

If not yourself, who would you be?
A police officer.

Where would you like to live?
A place full of greenery and silence.

Your heroes in real life
My maa; her support helped me reach this stage in life. Her name was Sakina, she died in 1994, she is buried in Baba Mazar Qabristan in Srinagar.

Your favorite food and drink.
Mutton korma with rice, milk.

Your favorite names.
Firdaus, Saleem, Sarfaraz, Sahil.

What do you hate the most?

What is your present state of mind?
My mind is currently at rest.

Faults for which you have the most tolerance.
When people say bhura-bhala about me.

Your motto in life.
Forgive, forget, move on.