The Proust Questionnaire is a fortnightly feature that alternates with the Saturday interview. This questionnaire was administered by Soma Basu
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 idea of happiness?
Happiness is relative. For me happiness comes from friends. People around me should be happy, that makes me happy.
What is your greatest fear?
Fear tends to change from time to time. It is just like desire. What fears I had probably as a 15-year-old, I have at 52 also. It is all about how we overcome our fears.
Which living person do you most admire?
It is difficult to name just one. If you ask me in sports, Bjorn Borg, Gundappa Viswanath, Viv Richards, Dennis Lillee and Sachin Tendulkar… there are more.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I am a brutally frank person — to the point of being rude to others. My over-confidence is sometimes taken as arrogance. I guess I need to keep this trait under check.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
I don’t like arrogance in others either.
What is your greatest extravagance?
To give genuine compliments directly.
What is your favourite journey?
I hate travelling. I am not a great holidayer. But yes, one day I would like to go to the Himalayas.
Who is your favourite painter?
I am not a great lover of art either. But I do admire the work of sculptors.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Being true to yourself or to your spouse. Human tendency is to keep telling your spouse ‘I love you’ even if you really don’t mean it.
On what occasion do you lie?
Sometimes you exaggerate your feelings or emotions to make the other person happy.
What do you dislike most about your appearance?
Oh! There are so many things I do not like about my appearance. I wish I was more handsome.
Which living person do you most despise?
I have come to a stage in life where I feel we should not despise anybody. I do not hate anybody and I am happy.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I always say have ‘lot of belief in your self’. And while playing, I always used to say ‘fortune prefers the brave’.
What is your greatest regret?
When I look back at my stint as a captain of the Indian team, I have only one regret. On the eve of the Pakistan tour, I was over-confident and behaved arrogantly in front of the media. I should not have smoked on television during a press interaction.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My wife Vidya. For the next births, I would like to marry her.
When and where were you happiest?
I was probably the happiest as a school kid. School days are the best. You are carefree, you have a fantastic circle of close friends. As you keep growing, you go on adding responsibilities. And even if you are happy discharging your duties and responsibilities, it is never and not the same kind of emotions.
What is your present state of mind?
I’m totally confused. I don’t know where I stand in life. I don’t know what I want from life.
How would you like to die?
I was born and raised in Chennai, and would like to die in Chennai.
What is your favourite motto?
Love people, and never hate anybody. Always believe love is the most important energy in life.
Krishnamachari Srikkanth is the chairman of the Selection Committee of the Indian cricket team. The stylish opening batsman was also the captain of the Indian team in 1989. He is remembered for his swashbuckling innings, best suited for one-day matches. He was the first Indian player to score a half-century and pick up five wickets in an ODI — it was against New Zealand in 1988. His sharp reflexes and free scoring made him a popular player through the 1980s. He retired from international cricket in 1993 after playing 43 test matches for India and 146 one-dayers. He has had a successful stint as coach of India ‘A’ team after retirement.