Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Artist Gauri Gill, Hazrat Nizamuddin East and Surroundings
The parlour confession.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Proust Questionnaire represents a confessional game that owes its structure to answers given by celebrated French writer Marcel Proust in two parties that he attended at ages 13 and 20 in the late 19th century.
The Delhi Walla have brought these Parisian parlour confessions into the Indian capital to explore people’s lives, thoughts, values and experiences. The series interview folks from diverse backgrounds.
So today, say hello to Gauri Gill. One of the most acclaimed contemporary photographers, Ms Gill, 49, has her works exhibited worldwide, including the Venice Biennale 2019. Born in Chandigarh, she lives in central Delhi’s Nizamuddin East and is often spotted walking along its lanes.
Your favourite virtue or the principal aspect of your personality
Your favourite qualities in a man
Kind, intelligent, ethical, liberal, irreverent
Your favourite qualities in a woman
Your chief characteristic
What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
Your main fault
Your favourite occupation
Your idea of happiness
Awareness and immersion
Your idea of misery or what would be your greatest misfortune?
Losing loved ones, love itself
If not yourself, who would you be?
The perennial student of a great teacher
Where would you like to live?
Where I do, in the neighbourhood of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya
Your favourite colour and flower
Green; sweet peas
Your favourite bird
Your favourite prose authors
Too many to recount. Have been studying the Nalanda Buddhist master Shantideva recently
Your favourite poets
Vidrohi, Kabir, Bullehshah
Your favourite hero in fiction
Maharaj Kumar, the protagonist of Cuckold
Your favourite heroine in fiction
The Rose in The Little Prince
Your favourite composers
Musical loves include Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone
Your favourite painters
Everyone must see the Sudhir Patwardhan retrospective at NGMA Mumbai this winter
Your heroes/heroines in real life
HH the 14th Dalai Lama; honest doctors and teachers in overfull and underresourced government hospitals and schools; all those who strive to overcome physical, mental or economic handicaps, using creative ways and means to survive and thrive; those who work behind the scenes in any capacity
What characters in history do you most dislike?
The insecure, cruel ones
Your heroines in world history
Aruna Roy, Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy, the brave young student leaders we have seen emerge recently, mothers at large
Your favourite food and drink
Eggs, chocolate, coffee
Your favourite names
Commonplace, unpretentious ones
What do you hate the most?
Admin and accounts
The military event you admire the most
I believe in non-violence but have enjoyed reading about the Battles of Kalinga and Chamkaur. Asoka and Guru Gobind Singh are fascinating figures
The reform you admire the most
Most recently, the Right to Information
The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with
How do you wish to die?
What is your present state of mind?
Faults for which you have the most tolerance
Lack of confidence, nervousness, lame jokes
Your motto in life
The Golden Rule
Into the citizen’s heart