What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My most important aim in life is to make my parents proud of me. Nothing beats that.
What is your greatest fear?
To do something that would damage my country, my parents, or my family’s reputation.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I trust people too easily.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Back-biting. I hate that.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I’m not an extravagant person and I’m not brand conscious. The most expensive things I buy are meant for my family and my nephews, not for myself. I definitely spend the most on my sister.
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
I was actually discussing this with my brother and we decided that it was honesty.
On what occasion do you lie?
I do my level best not to lie — but I will lie when the truth is going to hurt somebody’s feelings. Not a big lie, though.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My toe nails.
When and where were you happiest?
I’m happiest when I’m with my nephews. I have two nephews: Hamdaan is four years old and Aryaan is eight months old. When I’m with them, my mind switches off and I’m just happy.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Confidence and the ability to accept his mistakes. It’s very hard for men to say ‘I’m sorry’ so when someone can admit he is wrong it’s a good sign.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
She has to smell good. Beautiful women are often arrogant, so I prefer it when a woman knows she’s good looking but isn’t full of herself.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
‘Yaar’ and ‘never ever give up on your goals.’
Which talent would you most like to have?
Magic. I wish I could do some magic tricks on the side.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I think I’d like to be more independent because I’m always
depending on people.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Just being recognised as a tennis player in a cricket-loving country.
What is your most treasured possession?
My BlackBerry. I always have it with me and I can keep in touch with everyone when I’m on the road. My watch, too — I check the time every five to ten minutes.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
When people aren’t willing to work for themselves and try to seek the easy way out by asking favours.
If you didn’t do your current job, what would you choose to do?
I’d be a fighter pilot, fighting for my country.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
In sports I suppose it would be Mohammad Ali. He was a Muslim, he was fighting the world and taking a stand. I believe I also took a stand when I decided to play doubles with a Jewish person and then an Indian. I was trying to prove that sports shouldn’t be mixed with debates on religion and culture.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My dad, if I could be half the person he is then I would be satisfied. Besides him, Mohammad Ali and Jahangir Khan are sportsmen I admire.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2011.
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