The Proust Questionnaire is a fortnightly feature that alternates with the Saturday interview. These questions were most famously answered by the French writer Marcel Proust, whose personality-revealing responses came to define this form of celebrity confession.
What is your greatest fear?
(Long pause) Being eaten alive by sharks — I go swimming often, you see.
What is your favourite virtue?
Loyalty, because so many people have betrayed me!
What is the principal aspect of your personality?
Genius. Modesty too.
What is your main fault?
I can’t tolerate fools.
For what fault do you have the most tolerance?
Insincerity. When people tell me things that are not completely true, I fall back on the family motto, which is the intelligent must make concessions.
What do you hate the most?
I hate superstition and religious bigotry.
What would be your greatest misfortune?
The loss of my loved ones.
What is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possession has to be my children — Tamineh, Shireen, Jahan, Danyal and Tir.
What is your favourite colour?
My favourite colours are saffron, white and green.
If not yourself, who would you be?
Obviously, William Shakespeare.
Who are your favourite poets?
W.B. Yeats, Alfred Tennyson, Adil Jussawalla, Dom Moraes… Gosh! I can think of so many. The list is endless. My favourite poem, though, is Tennyson’s ‘In Memoriam’.
What is the military event you admire the most?
The heroism displayed by the Russians in the siege of Stalingrad.
What is the reform you admire the most?
It hasn’t happened yet. I would welcome the abolition of inequality in India. Dream on.
Which talent would you most like to have?
That of a professional footballer.
Which character in world history do you most despise?
Alexander for destroying the Zoroastrian civilisation.
What is your favourite food and drink?
My favourite food is Parsi cuisine. As for favourite drink, it’s Sula Sauvignon Blanc — all free cases welcome!
What is your present state of mind?
Peaceful and excitable.
How would you like to die?
I’d like to die suddenly, in the blink of an eye, without knowing about it.