‘You need to give love to get love’ : Geeta Ramakrishnan, author and ontological coach

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, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

Geeta Ramakrishnan grew up in Mumbai, India and later, moved to Dubai. Keenly interested and intrigued by human behaviour, she focused on human capital management of the family business. Her curiosity and passion led her to attend an ontological coach training programme from Newfield Asia, Singapore. She offers coaching and conducts workshops on her favourite subject 'Change’. She offers her experiences demonstrating the balancing act of nurturing success with happiness in her book, The Game of Change. The book is based on her research, and her decades-long experiences gathered from a large family business. She shares with readers her discoveries on the impact of mindfulness on one’s physical, mental and emotional health. Here are her responses to our Proust questionnaire…

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness that is created from within me and independent of my surroundings.

What is your greatest fear?

Fear of separation from my loved ones.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Doubting my abilities and underselling myself.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Judging people and being negative all the time.

Which living person do you most admire?

My grandmother. She is 97, is adaptable and open in her attitude and approach, specially having seen and lived through generations, right from being brought up by her grandmother to nurturing her great-granddaughter.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Using my resources for designer goods, far in excess of my needs and more to pamper my ego.

What is your current state of mind?

Bliss and happiness.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Being non- judgemental.

On what occasion do you lie?

When I don't want to hurt someone.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?    

If I had a choice, I would like to be taller. 

Which living person do you most despise?

A tough one. If I think about it, Mukesh Singh, one of the accused in a Nirbhaya rape case.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Being caring.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Boundless Love.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

‘So, what can you do to change?’.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My husband, who is my best friend and guide.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Listening with empathy.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To replace my anxiety by being calm. I would like to trust the higher power and accept that ‘I’ am not in charge and ‘I’ cannot change the other person.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

To constantly evolve. I am Geeta 2.0 right now and work in progress.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

A big strong tree with aerial roots. 

Where would you most like to live?

In a city surrounded with people.

What is your most treasured possession?

My books. My planner/ diary where I scribble my thoughts.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?


What is your favourite occupation?


What is your most marked characteristic?

My ability to be curious and learn from my mistakes.

What do you most value in your friends?

That I can share any thoughts and feelings without being judged.

Who are your favourite writers?

Amish Tripathi, Bruce Lipton, Richard Bach, Jeffery Archer, Paulo Coelho, Lewis Carroll, Hermann Hesse, Chetan Bhagat and R K Narayan.

Who is your hero of fiction?


Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My heroes are the soldiers who are willing to fight and die for the country. Heroes also come in the form of normal people like my friend who is resilient and fights cancer and its repercussions with a smile.

What is your favourite name?


What is it that you most dislike?


What is your greatest regret?

Not connecting with my dad whom I lost many years back.

How would you like to die?


What is your favourite journey?

To disappear and be lost in nature. I enjoyed going to Matheran when I was young.

What is your motto?

You need to give love to get love.