Delhi’s Proust Questionnaire – Neha Ansari, Gali Chandi Wali
The parlour confession.
[By Mayank Austen Soofi]
Neha Ansari is young and wishes to spend her life as an artist. Her immediate career goal is to become a hotel receptionist. She recently finished a 11-month-long “hotel management course” in a Gurugram institute, and is currently learning the art of stitching from “Farzana Aunty” in Mohalla Qabristan, which is a short walk from home, here in Old Delhi’s Gali Chandi Wali. This afternoon, sitting beside younger sister Ilma, she agrees to be a part of the Proust Questionnaire series in which citizens are nudged to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore our distinct experiences.
Your main fault.
Getting impatient too often with my behen Ilma.
Your favourite occupation.
Your idea of misery.
Not being able to complete my BA degree course.
If not yourself, who would you be?
Masakali, the pigeon. No rok-tok, no control. Azad panchi (free bird). Flying from one place to another.
Where would you like to live?
Mussoorie. It’s very beautiful with trees and mountains. I have been thrice to the hill station. I love walking on the Mall Road there. Unlike in our Old Delhi, you don’t have to face any judgmental crowd.
Your favourite bird.
Kabutar. I talk to them in my balcony. Look, there’s one sitting on the washing machine!
Your favourite poets.
I don’t read poetry but I love film songs, and currently I’m enjoying Jhoome Jo Pathaan.
Your favourite painters.
Shadab sir. He was our Fine Arts teacher at school. He always talked in favour of women’s rights, and repeatedly told us girls to build a career and be independent.
Your heroines in real life.
My mother, Saira. She looks after the house. She looks after us two sisters. And she also helps my father, Muhammed Afaq, in his zardori embroidery work.
Your favourite food and drink
The Kashmiri dish of Rista. And Appy Fizz.
What do you hate the most?
Loud music by neighbours.
The reform you admire the most.
Abolition of child marriage. I feel especially strong about this because recently a friend got married even though she is very young, though above the legal age of marriage.
The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with.
To have a body as flexible and alert as a karate player.
What is your present state of mind?
I’m thinking about a horror movie.
Faults for which you have the most tolerance.
When people get angry with me.
Your idea of happiness
Being with my mobile phone.