What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A beach getaway with all the right perks.
What is your greatest fear?
Being caught at a photo opportunity without batteries.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My inability to tolerate Indian cinema especially at mehendis. When did this quintessential family function become a bad variety show or Chandni bar?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Bad driving and lying.
What is your greatest extravagance?
My art collection. I have been collecting Pakistani art since I was a teenager.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Beauty. Is it a virtue or a vice? While Botox and Photoshop abound, it is definitely only skin deep.
On what occasion do you lie?
When I’m guilty.
Which living person do you most despise?
I despise no one… if I loathed anyone that much they would cease to exist for me.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Character and elegance.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Relax! Everything is under control.
When and where were you happiest?
When I was oblivious.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being midcreek without a paddle.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Photographing Madam Noor Jehan. It took a lot of pleading, but when it happened she was amazing. They don’t make divas like that anymore.
Where would you most like to live?
Despite the loadshedding, the bombs, the bad traffic, the corruption, the backstabbing, I don’t think I could survive in a non-hostile environment, so I have to say good ole Pakistan. Any other country would be boring. Home is where the “heat” is.
What is your most treasured possession?
My family, my friends and my camera… in that order.
If you didn’t do your current job, what would you choose to do?
I already have several jobs: photographer, jeweler, dabbler in radio, music and art. Nothing is permanent. “Be a renaissance man and do it all” is my motto.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Honesty. I’m sometimes too blunt and often tell people what I feel.
Who is your hero of fiction?
Jerry. He always manages to slip out of Tom’s claws.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Edhi, the people of TCF, the Concern For Children and anyone who manages to live in Machar colony.
What is your greatest regret?
Not having photographed Benazir Bhutto. I had a dozen chances but they never materialised.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, said by the King to the White Rabbit.
How many hours of loadshedding did you experience yesterday?
These answers are being written on a laptop while the generator has been running for a couple of hours.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2010.
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