These scary days, the world seems to be divided into people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and those who haven’t (yet).
Bharatanatyam dancer Geeta Chandran tested positive last week.
“A red notice on my gate announces my Covid positive status! So, the pandemic has embraced me,” she says in a series of e-mails from the isolation of her home in Gulmohar Park. “A low-grade fever that resisted antibiotics, then robbed me of my sense of smell. The daily jasmines could have been naphtha balls! I wouldn’t have known the difference!”
Nevertheless, she says that digital medical consulting, along with her doctor’s lab, and the “fabulous” Gulmohar Park Residents Welfare Association have “made me feel cosseted even in Covid times.”
In her 50s, Ms Chandra sportingly agreed to become a part of our Proust Questionnaire series in which we nudge folks from diverse backgrounds to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore the lives, thoughts, values and experiences of Delhi’s citizens. The masked picture was snapped by Rajiv, her husband, who is now also her “quarantine caregiver.” (Plus, you have to check out the last answer—too fab!)
Your favourite virtue or the principal aspect of your personality I value truth and honesty above all else; being upfront and open is the key - even though I have often had to pay a price for that!
Your favourite qualities in a man The many qualities my husband does not possess! Ha ha!
Your favourite qualities in a woman Strength and resilience and the ability to reinvent herself constantly
Your chief characteristic Ability to remain focussed on the project on hand - nothing else really matters!
What do you appreciate the most in your friends? That they remain my friends without me constantly reaching out to them! I often wonder why...
Your main fault I like to finish all the things I begin ...no half measures
Your favourite occupation Thinking dance and “En-Dancing” the universe!
Your idea of happiness A good afternoon’s sleep after a languorous oil bath
Your idea of misery or what would be your greatest misfortune? Of having to cook daily
If not yourself, who would you be? MS Subbulakshmi
Where would you like to live? In my dance studio on the moon
Your favourite colour and flower Orange; Jasmine
Your favourite bird The mythical annapakshi, who fulfils all desires!
Your favourite prose authors Shashi Tharoor and Pavan Varma - both friends
Your favourite poets Kalidas and Jayadeva - can men really be so sensitive?
Your favourite heroes in fiction Ravana - so fallible despite such merit and scholarship!
Your favourite heroines in fiction What heroines in fiction? Strong women are absent from fiction!
Your favourite composers Tchaikovsky and Lalgudi G Jayaraman
Your favourite painters Jamini Roy, Vaikuntam, Hussain and my two-year old grandson!
Your heroes/heroines in real life Doctors, nurses, caregivers! Nothing to beat them
What characters in history do you most dislike? Those with guns!
Your heroines in World history The earth - Prithvi, always bartered and battered
Your favourite food and drink Anything steamed with sambaram (south Indian namkeen lassi)
Your favourite names Alamelu and Thangam - both grandmothers
What do you hate the most? Lack of respect for indigenous creativity
The military event you admire the most The 18-day war in Kurukshetra - so much to learn!
The reform you admire the most Renaming Coimbatore as Koyamputhoor; after all, isn’t renaming everything just what we need at this moment!
The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with Diplomacy
How do you wish to die? Rehearsing dance in my studio
What is your present state of mind? Neo-normal
Faults for which you have the most tolerance Cravings for dark chocolate
Your motto in life (currently) Zoom-Zoom-Zoom