Pratyusha is a poet who has recently published her first collection of poems. She is also an editor at amberflora, an online magazine with a focus on eco/world poetry.She has also previously served as poetry editor at The Missing Slate. Her work has appeared in numerous websites and magazines, in the forms of poetry, literary translations, and travel articles. She takes part in our interview series to shed light on more of her psyche.
The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Feeling at peace.
What is your greatest fear?
Losing rainforests, a fear realized daily. In a broader sense, loss in general.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Travel.I live away from my family so I tend to travel to spend time with them a lot. Tropical fruits and vegetables (while standard in India, they are expensive imported).
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
The drive for positive thinking, often without nuance.
On what occasion do you lie?
I’m protective of my time, and if I feel like I need time to myself but I can’t wrangle myself out of social commitments easily, I’ll think of an excuse. Time spent alone isn’t valued or considered an acceptable excuse.
Which living person do you most despise?
Fascists. We don’t need to pick just one.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Humility. Willingness to learn & speak out. Self-awareness. Nuance.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Solidarity. Tenderness. Self-knowledge.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Poetry. Alphonso mangoes. The sea. Leaf shadows. Mountains. People I’m closest to.
Which talent would you most like to have?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My anxiety-prone mindset.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Finding a job from scratch in a world where you need fifteen years of experience and an MA to be an unpaid intern. Opening a really tight jar of lime achaar. Working on amberflora.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Where would you most like to live?
In my dreams sometimes I wander through the rooms of my grandfather’s home in Coimbatore, which no longer exists. I’ve never seen it; I’ve reconstructed it in my mind through the stories my family tell me. The house sits at the foot of the Nilgiris, with the scent of tea lingering over the small town.
What is your most treasured possession?
Photos of my grandfather, and his shawl.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being dismissive of, or attacking, those who came before you / paved the way before you for your privileges. Feeling self-righteous about paving the way.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
Who are your favorite writers?
There are so many poets whose work I love/admire/revere. So many of them are contemporary, which is a gift.
Who is your hero of fiction?
1) It lives its own gentle life.
2) It is fascinated by raindrops and umbrellas.
3) It has a fondness for naps.
4) It shows up to Satsuki’s rescue when Mei is missing, Catbus in tow.
5) It grows plants through magic.