Hammad Rind is a Welsh-Pakistani writer, translator and the author of the debut novel ‘Four Dervishes‘ (Seren Books, 2021), a satire loosely based on a dastan by Indo-Persian poet Amir Khusro. He studied English and Persian literature at the Punjab University, Lahore and filmmaking at the Kingston University, London. His stories, articles and book reviews have appeared in a number of UK and international magazines. Hammad regularly runs workshops and classes on creative writing, storytelling and Eastern literature. He is currently working on the Urdu translation of ‘Knotted Grief‘, the debut poetry collection of the Indian publisher Naveen Kishore for Zuka Books. He is also writing his second novel with the working title ‘Migrant Cranes and Nameless Dogs‘.
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?
I’ve often pictured it as a late afternoon spent in a country cottage reading something I love by a window facing a farm. Sometimes I add background music to this image (often Ravel’s Pièce en forme de Habanera).
What is your greatest fear?
Dying without saying everything I want to say
Which living person do you most admire?
My mother who has worked very hard all her life for her children. I also admire people who stand up against injustice.
What is your greatest extravagance?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Honour, especially the idea found in some Eastern societies
On what occasion do you lie?
When it doesn’t harm anyone
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Happy with what my mother gave me.
Which living person do you most despise?
People who are cruel to animals or to their fellow humans
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Courage and wit
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Courage and wit
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Mundane phrases like aur baqi in Urdu or ‘so yes’ in English or khob pas (right, then) in Persian etc…
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Languages, memories, my family, books, my cat, biscuits…
Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to play a musical instrument, especially kanun or violin
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Having taught myself quite a few languages at a young age with very little help
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
A cat that can read
Where would you most like to live?
Between my two current homes, Wales and Punjab, perhaps somewhere in the middle, where I could build a large library one day
What is your most treasured possession?
A shawl my Nana-abbu (grandfather) used to wear in winters
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Destitution, material or spiritual, that could make you sell yourself
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
Who are your favorite writers?
Saadat Hasan Manto, Bulgakov, Marguerite Yourcenar, Italo Calvino, Ibne Insha, Qurratulain Hyder, Angela Carter, Borges, Faiz, Sa’di, Marquez, Abutorab Khosravi
Who is your hero of fiction?
Shahrzad (Scheherazade), the eternal tale-spinner
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
A writer like Amir Khusro, who seems to have enjoyed playing with different languages
Who are your heroes in real life?
My Nana-abbu, Nazir Khan Baloch, who bought me my first book
What is your motto?
Not sure about a motto, but something by Faiz that I often repeat to myself: Bol ke lab azad hain tere (Speak, for your lips are free)