The Proust Questionnaire: ‘I don't like the idea of virtues' - T.M. Krishna

What is your idea of happiness?

The times I am happy without cognitively recognising my state of happiness. When I become aware of it, what comes to mind is an event, occasion or relationship that provided the context for the happiness. In some way it's more a happiness born out of a sense of pride from the context to which I am party. For example, when I think “I am very happy to see my daughter smile.” The happiness I am referring to is actually is born from the operative words “my daughter” and not from the smile. True happiness is an experience that exists as sheer experience and is unquantifiable.

What is your greatest fear?

Fear is a word I don't associate with myself. But wait, wait... How can I forget? I am terrified about the world ending. I was singing in Austin, Texas at 6pm on 21/05/2011 when the world was supposed to end or start ending. Close shave, wasn't it?

What is your favourite virtue?

I don't like the idea of virtues. They are usually a standardised set of qualities placed in front of us by social constructs. Actual human qualities are far more subtle. To me the most important quality is awareness in its complete form. Without awareness most virtues are non-functional. Enforced virtues are usually overblown displays of a social or individual arrogance.

What is the principal aspect of your personality?

What you see is what you get.

What is your main fault?

Same as the above. Add to that a loud voice and a genetic defect to react. Can also get self-obsessed at times, but I think I am getting better now.

For what fault do you have the most tolerance?

Imperfection and failure while trying.

What do you hate the most?

Hate may be too strong a word. Let's just say it saddens me when people get stuck in a limited world around their egos and miss seeing their real friends. People who fake who they truly are. People who have insight but will give all that up for success.

What would be your greatest misfortune?

That I don't have a time machine to go to the past and understand why we are where we are as a society today.

What is your most treasured possession?

My beard/moustache and my complete control over its shape and length. Vanity at its best. Ha ha! More importantly my growing collection of thamburas ( tanpuras). The number stands at 17 now. I collect old thamburas that are restored. We find very few thamburas with the quality of wood, sound and workmanship of the past. I use all of them in some kind of rotation in my concerts.

What is your favourite colour?

Actually black. But nowadays I seem to be getting far more brash with colour options.

If not yourself, who would you be?

Mahatma Gandhi? My, my, what arrogance!!!!!!

Who are your favourite poets?

Language is not my strength and most times it's hard for me to understand poetry. But what I like about poetry is the fact that it is very much like music. The abstraction of the form gives it a beauty of thought, expression and interpretation, and like music each time you read it you see something new, you feel something new.

What is the reform you admire the most?

To be able to say sorry anywhere and anytime. I am still working on it.

Which talent would you most like to have?

To understand complicated aspects about the human mind in a jiffy.

Which character in world history do you most despise?

I used have a long list but not any more. Even the worst characters are born out of the society we live in. So we are as responsible for what they were or are. For example, our nature to be passive tocrime, as long as it does not affect us directly, makes us culpable when a person is robbed in broad daylight.

What is your favourite food and drink?

Food as an idea is the most sexy aspect of life. Therefore all cuisines work for me. Drink? A real good single malt whiskey, a strong mojito, and ellaneer (tender coconut).

What is your present state of mind?

It is: Why the hell am I answering these ridiculous questions? But it should be fun to see how people interpret me based on the answers. A more generic state of mind: Not too sure how long I will continue to be a concert performer. 10-15 years? I know I just HAVE TO for at least some time.

How would you like to die?

I'd rather spend my energies on how I live. Thinking about death is self-indulgent and a waste of time.

What is your favourite motto?

No mottos. They are for people who have no clue of what they are or what they stand for, and therefore have to constantly say it to themselves.

What is the military event you admire the most?

I just cannot admire any military event. The whole concept of war does not work for me. This may be too utopian but let me just live that dream.

(T . M. Krishna is a leading Carnatic vocalist, known for his resonant voice and strict adherence to classicism. He has been performing from the age of 12. He has taken his music across the length and breadth of the country, and to many countries abroad. He is the recipient of numerous awards and titles)

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 4:34:28 PM |

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