Momina Mela is a writer from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine and elsewhere. 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?
Freedom to travel to see my friends and family without visa restrictions and systematic dysfunctions.
What is your greatest fear?
A burglar or a killer entering my home at night.
Which living person do you most admire?
Poet and scholar Anne Carson.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Cat food and antique furniture
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasion do you lie?
Sometimes when I don’t trust the person I’m talking to. Otherwise, never
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I think I’m attractive enough. I’ve had resentment towards my large, lopsided ears though I’ve grown out of it. I just cover the tops of them with a loose strand of hair.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Essentially, Core, Crux, Sis, Bro
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My sister, Mavra Mela
Which talent would you most like to have?
Oh. Gee. None at the moment thank you. I’ve already taken up: violin, ballet, swimming, theatre, singing, poetry, fiction, oil painting, skate boarding, ice-skating, in-line skating, broadcasting, writing, visual art, film writing, teaching, performance artistry, street theatre, yoga, meditation, reiki, rap, opera. I don’t know how to ride a bicycle though so I could learn that.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I don’t think that would be up to me to decide. But I would like to come back as some form of light or water body.
Where would you most like to live?
In a home
What is your most treasured possession?
All the possessions of my late sister, grandmothers, grandfathers and uncles. Their letters, poems, diaries, photos.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Breaking one’s spirit, knowing you’re breaking their spirit.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My brutal honesty
What do you most value in your friends?
Their brutal honesty
Who are your favorite writers?
From the top of my head: Arundhati Roy, Anne Carson, Ali Smith, Claudia Rankine, Anais Nin, Leonora Carrington, Flaubert, Proust, Ovid, Homer, William Shakespeare, Fernando Pessoa, Zbignew Herbert, Hassan Manto, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Iqbal.
Who is your hero of fiction?
Marian Leatherby and Carmella from ‘The Hearing Trumpet’.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Hazrat Ayesha who fought wars, transcribed hadith, was center of many controversies and still did whatever she needed to do to protect her faith, and that of others.