Delhiwale: Bookseller bares her heart

  • Proust questionnaire with a Millennium City bookstore owner
Ms Sengupta, 62, takes a break from work to answer the Proust questionnaire in which folks are nudged to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore citizens’ distinct experiences.(Mayank Austen Soofi)
Ms Sengupta, 62, takes a break from work to answer the Proust questionnaire in which folks are nudged to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore citizens’ distinct experiences.(Mayank Austen Soofi)
Published on Sep 15, 2021 05:20 AM IST
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By Mayank Austen Soofi, New Delhi

It’s late afternoon. Pricked with high-rises, Gurugram sky is half-blue and half cloudy. Inside, the glass-walled South Point mall is teeming with masked shoppers. 

Even amid the air-conditioned luxury, you feel the ravages of the pandemic. A popular cafe has shut down; a specialty restaurant has been replaced by a beauty shop—what must have become of their friendly waiters? But Quill And Canvas, one of the Millennium City’s oldest surviving bookstores—and perhaps among Delhi region’s most spacious—continues to exist on the first floor. 

Founded in nearby Galleria Market, it will enter its 20th year in October. “Our shop shall survive the pandemic,” says owner Shobha Sengupta as she prepares an online invite on her mobile phone for a forthcoming meet-the-author event on Zoom. “Coronavirus has been horrible to all of us but it has opened other possibilities, like these online events, which is making the world smaller… recently we did a talk with author Raza Mir who was actually sitting in New Jersey.” 

Ms Sengupta, 62, takes a break from work to answer the Proust questionnaire in which folks are nudged to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore citizens’ distinct experiences.

Your favourite virtue

Authenticity, I hope

Your main fault

Bluntness to the point of insensitivity

Your favourite qualities in a man

Fearlessness and kindness

Your favourite qualities in a woman

The courage to be androgynous, and compassion

If not yourself, who would you be?

Ruler of an Utopian kingdom

Where would you like to live?

Right where I am, Gurgaon

Your favourite bird

Eagle from a distance, Hummingbird from up close

Your heroes/heroines in real life

My husband, my mother, the people who stood by me, no matter what

Your favourite food and drink

Chicken chettinad with appam; and champagne

What do you hate the most?

Lies. Any kind of dishonesty, especially to oneself

The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with

Singing. Am totally off key!

Faults for which you have the most tolerance

Excessive love of grammar and syntax

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Friday, October 22, 2021