(The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one's personality. It has its origins in a parlour game popularised by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions an individual reveals his or her true nature.)
Bala Sarda, Founder and CEO, Vahdam Teas, comes with a lineage of over 80 years in the tea industry. It was when he was working in the bulk export business of his family that he noticed the huge gaps in the $90 billion tea market. He started Vahdam Teas to address these problems and make garden fresh teas available to consumers across the world, direct from source, under a home-grown tea brand by leveraging technology.
We gave him the Proust questionnaire and this is what he had to say…
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
What is your greatest fear?
Losing my family.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Impatience, which often results in anxiety.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
The lack of loyalty.
Which living person do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
The more you grow, the less materialistic you become. But I do love short weekend getaways.
What is your current state of mind?
Both excited and anxious about the future.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
I have come to realize that most things in life are overrated. So it is important to live in the moment and enjoy the journey.
On what occasion do you lie?
If it is a harmless lie that makes someone happy.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Not a thing.
Which living person do you most despise?
Despise is a strong word.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
I like a man who doesn’t brag about being one.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
The compassion and sensitivity of a woman.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
When and where were you happiest?
The journey of Vahdam Teas, each day, every day.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Better oratory skills.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Become more patient. Less anxious.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being at a stage in my life where I can create an honest social difference through Vahdam Teas.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Sachin Tendulkar. I would have loved to play cricket as a day job and be the best at it.
Where would you most like to live?
I wish I do get to live in Australia at some point of time. It’s my absolute favourite country.
What is your most treasured possession?
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being helpless. Lack of support from one’s family.
What is your favourite occupation?
My current occupation!
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
The ability to be entirely yourself around them.
Who are your favourite writers?
Nobody specific. I am a big fan of autobiographies.
Who is your hero of fiction?
Harry Potter, created by J. K Rowling. It is the only fictional series that I have read and watched.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Not a clue! I am a fan of creating my own identity.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Just one. My father.
What are your favourite names?
I love my father’s name, ‘MADHAV’. ‘VAHDAM’ is in fact a reverse anagram of my father’s name.
What is it that you most dislike?
Lack of loyalty.
What is your greatest regret?
Not a thing. Regretting is pointless.
How would you like to die?
What is your motto?
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life”.