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. This questionnaire was administered by S B Vijaya Mary
V.V.S. Laxman’s retirement from international cricket has been one of the gracious exits by a sportsman in recent times. The Indian cricket team’s quintessential Man Friday in his playing days, Laxman walked into sunset just the way he played his game — focussed, determined and very certain of his move. An iconic inspiration for a generation keen on competitive sport, Laxman’s on-field exploits and impeccable manners off it are worth emulating.
What is your idea of happiness?
Having peace of mind. I always feel that if your mind is at peace then irrespective of what’s happening around, you will be happy.
What is your greatest fear?
There is nothing I am fearful about. I think it’s important to enjoy whatever situation and challenges you face, whether good or bad, and for me that’s the excitement of life.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
None, but I take inspiration from a lot of them. I love reading and hearing stories of a lot of successful people from various walks of life and try to learn how they handled various situations and challenges they faced in their lives.
Which living person do you most admire?
My dad. He has always been my role model and is the person I would most like to emulate. I admire him for the way he has led his life. I would be very happy if I can follow in his footsteps and inculcate his values and principles in my life.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I wouldn’t call it a defect, but until I retired from international cricket I used to have cricket at the centre of my life and that meant having to neglect my personal life and other interests of mine. I was so passionate about the game that I wouldn’t do anything that was not beneficial to me as a cricketer.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
I don’t like it when people are not straightforward.
What is your greatest extravagance?
My marriage and birth of my kids.
What is your favourite journey?
Any journey where I can see and learn anything new. I was lucky that because of cricket I had an opportunity to see a lot of nice places in the world and also meet a lot of interesting people. But any journey with my lovely family is very relaxing.
Who is your favourite painter?
I am very fond of art work, and I have a long list of artists whose work I admire. In fact I try to collect a lot of art work. The painting of Raza is my most treasured one I have till date.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Modesty. Because a lot of the time it isn’t real. I have seen a lot of people who feign modesty.
On what occasion do you lie?
I try not to lie. I avoid situations and circumstances where I need to lie.
What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I am happy the way I am. Now that I am retired from international cricket I have to be very careful that I don’t put on weight.
Which living person do you most despise?
None. I try to see the good in every person.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I am blessed.
What is your greatest regret?
None. I am happy the way my life has been till now. I feel blessed I have lived my dream till now.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Without doubt my beautiful wife Sailaja. She has got all the traits I desired in my wife. She is the one who fills my life with happiness. I am lucky to have her in my life.
When and where were you happiest?
Till date there have been a lot of occasions where I was very happy. Making my debut for India and various achievements during my career made me happy. But nothing can beat my marriage to Sailaja and the birth of my two kids, Sarvajit and Achinthya. They are my biggest treasure and possession.
What is your present state of mind?
Now that I am retired I feel satisfied and contented the way my career has shaped up. I feel blessed to have played for India for 16 years.
How would you like to die?
I always think about the way I want to live my life. Never thought of death as yet.
What is your favourite motto?
Practise what you preach and be honest with yourself and others.