Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Bharatanatyam Dancer Geeta Chandran, Gulmohar Park
The parlour confession.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
These scary days, the world seems to be divided into people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and those who haven’t (yet).
Bharatanatyam dancer Geeta Chandran tested positive last week.
“A red notice on my gate announces my COVID POSITIVE status! So, the pandemic has embraced me.,” she says in a series of e-mails from the isolation of her home in Gulmohar Park. “A low-grade fever that resisted antibiotics, then robbed me of my sense of smell. The daily jasmines could have been naphta balls! I wouldn’t have known the difference!”
Nevertheless, she says that digital medical consulting, along with her doctor’s lab, and the “fabulous” Gulmohar Park Residents Welfare Association have “made me feel cosseted even in COVID times.”
In her 50s, Ms Chandran sportingly agreed to become a part of The Delhi Walla’s Proust Questionnaire series in which I nudge folks from diverse backgrounds to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore the lives, thoughts, values and experiences of Delhi’s citizens. The masked picture was snapped by Rajiv, her husband, who is now also her “quarantine caregiver.” (Plus, you have to check out the last answer—too fab!)
Your favorite virtue or the principal aspect of your personality
I value truth and honesty above all else; being upfront and open is the key – even though I have often had to pay a price for that!
Your favorite qualities in a man
The many qualities my husband does not possess! Ha ha!
Your favorite qualities in a woman
Strength and resilience and the ability to reinvent herself constantly
Your chief characteristic
Ability to remain focussed on the project on hand – nothing else really matters!
What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
That they remain my friends without me constantly reaching out to them! I often wonder why…
Your main fault
I like to finish all the things I begin …no half measures
Your favorite occupation
THINKING DANCE AND “EN-DANCING” the universe!
Your idea of happiness
A good afternoon’s sleep after a languorous oil bath
Your idea of misery or what would be your greatest misfortune?
Of having to cook daily
If not yourself, who would you be?
Where would you like to live?
In my dance studio on the moon
Your favourite colour and flower
Your favorite bird
The mythical annapakshi, who fulfills all desires!
Your favorite prose authors
Shashi Tharoor and Pavan Varma – both friends
Your favorite poets
Kalidas and Jayadeva – can men really be so sensitive?
Your favorite heroes in fiction
Ravana – so fallible despite such merit and scholarship!
Your favorite heroines in fiction
What heroines in fiction? Strong women are absent from fiction!
Your favorite composers
Tchaikovsky and Lalgudi G. Jayaraman
Your favorite painters
Jamini Roy, Vaikuntam, Hussain and my two-year old grandson!
Your heroes/heroines in real life
Doctors, nurses, caregivers! Nothing to beat them
What characters in history do you most dislike?
Those with guns!
Your heroines in World history
The earth – Prithvi, always bartered and battered
Your favorite food and drink
Anything steamed with sambaram (south Indian namkeen lassi)
Your favorite names
Alamelu and Thangam – both grandmothers
What do you hate the most?
Lack of respect for indigenous creativity
The military event you admire the most
The 18-day-war in Kurukshetra – so much to learn!
The reform you admire the most
Renaming Coimbatore as Koyamputhoor; after all, isn’t renaming everything just what we need at this moment!
The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with
How do you wish to die?
Rehearsing in my dance studio
What is your present state of mind?
Faults for which you have the most tolerance
Cravings for dark chocolate
Your motto in life