Delhiwale: Sensibilities from Lisbon

  • Confessions of a Portuguese Delhiite.
Delhiwale: Sensibilities from Lisbon (Picture cedit: Mayank Austen Soofi)
Delhiwale: Sensibilities from Lisbon (Picture cedit: Mayank Austen Soofi)
Published on Nov 15, 2021 04:33 AM IST
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ByMayank Austen Soofi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

She reads poetry and makes her own dresses. The Lisbon-born Susana Zarco walks into her drawing room, looking like a woman in a Vermeer painting. She designed this white-and-blue gown from a cotton sari acquired during a trip to Kerala. “I only design for myself and for a few friends… I restrain from massification and quantity,” she murmurs, her headdress anointing her in a halo of the same colours as the rest of her dress. A former journalist who served for eight years as a press advisor to the Portuguese President, Ms Zarco, 57, has been in Delhi for three years. She is married to Portuguese Ambassador, Carlos Pereira Marques; they live in a sun-filled house in Rajokri designed by architect Satish Gujaral. Sitting for a portrait with dog, Egas, she gamely becomes a part of the Proust Questionnaire series in which folks are nudged to make “Parisian parlour confessions”, all to explore citizens’ distinct experiences.

Your idea of happiness

Being barefoot by the sea picking up beautiful shells with my mother when I was a little girl, as I do now with my husband and son

Your idea of misery

Being a prisoner inside yourself

Your favourite virtue or the principal aspect of your personality

Straight forwardness, sense of justice, generosity

Your main fault


Your favourite occupation

To look for/at all kind of beautiful things

Where would you like to live?

In a (comfortable) shack by the seaside

Your favourite colour and flower

Pink, Peony

Your favourite bird


Your favourite prose authors

Fernando Pessoa, Jorge de Sena, Franz Kafka...

Your favourite poets

Fernando Pessoa, Sophia de Mello Breyner, Herberto Helder…

Your favourite heroes and heroines in fiction

Lots of them accordingly with the different stages of my life

Your favourite composers

Rachmaninoff, Caetano Veloso, Tom Jobim…

Your favourite painters

Amadeu de Souza Cardoso, Almada Negreiros, Nicolas de Staël…

Your heroes/heroines in real life

Those who do not give up fighting against all kind of oppression and those who still have to fight every day to survive

Your heroes/heroines in World history

Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Madre Teresa… not only for what they did but also for what they left us to accomplish… still a long walk ahead

Your favourite names

Joaquim, Teresa

What do you hate the most?

Being trapped and stupidity

The military event you admire the most

D-Day (6 June 1944)

The reform you admire the most

The one that is still to come: reverse our way of living and save the Planet

How do you wish to die?

Living! In the twink of an eye: no regrets, no fears. Near the sea, if possible

What is your present state of mind?


What characters in history do you most dislike?

Those who persist to ignore and despise tolerance

Faults for which you have the most tolerance

Lack of punctuality

Your motto in life

Never give up

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Monday, November 29, 2021