Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Labourer Salman Abbas, Around Town
The parlour confession.
[By Mayank Austen Soofi]
Salman Abbas’s day is full of physically exhausting work. In between assignments, the young labourer lies down on the long wooden bench of his employer’s warehouse in central Delhi, and instantly falls into deep sleep, he says. This afternoon, after waking up from one such nap, he gamely agrees to become a part of the Proust Questionnaire series in which citizens are nudged to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore our distinct experiences.
Your favorite virtue or the principal aspect of your personality.
Mehnat (hard work), lagan (dedication).
Your favorite qualities in a man.
Your favorite qualities in a woman.
Ability to give love.
What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
That I can use them in case of an emergency. Especially when I suddenly need some money.
Your main fault.
Sometimes I gamble.
Your favorite occupation.
Your idea of happiness.
That my family is well and healthy, and that all my family people live in a nice big house.
Your idea of misery or what would be your greatest misfortune?
That has already happened. My mother’s death.
If not yourself, who would you be?
I would still have been a mazdoor (labourer). After all, a mazdoor’s son can be nothing but a mazdoor.
Where would you like to live?
Calcutta. I went there once with my mother about 20 years ago. The city was very beautiful. Much to see there.
Your favourite colour and flower.
Your favorite bird.
Your heroes/heroines in real life.
My elder brother Irfan. He is a motor cycle mechanic in Aligarh. He has really looked after me.
Your favorite food and drink.
Hari subzi (green veggies). Thums up.
Your favorite names.
What do you hate the most?
I hate the fact that I was never able to attend school. I’m illiterate.
How do you wish to die?
Lete-lete (while lying).
What is your present state of mind?
I’m feeling puzzled by your ut-patang (crazy) questions.
Faults for which you have the most tolerance.
When people mock me for my squint.
Your motto in life
Follow the heart.