‘Not realizing my full potential is my greatest fear’ - Saran Chatterjee of Housejoy
(The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one's personality. It has its origins in a parlour game popularized by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.)
Saran Chatterjee is CEO of online home services platform Housejoy. Prior to this, he was with Flipkart as VP of Product Management and was a key part of the leadership team for three years. Saran was earlier with Yahoo! for six years in various senior roles. Now in his 40s, Saran is also an angel investor. We asked him questions from the Proust questionnaire and here are his answers...
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
What is your greatest fear?
Not realising my full potential.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Lack of commitment.
Which living person do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
I am not a materialistic person but I spend a lot of time thinking about and playing sports. There is not a single sport that I don’t play.
What is your current state of mind?
Excited about the possibilities in the near future.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Educational qualification over real life experience.
On what occasion do you lie?
Only for a good cause and if it makes somebody happy.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Which living person do you most despise?
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Their ability to be silent warriors.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
At work, we say this a lot – ‘Karo’. The other is ‘Done’.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
When and where were you happiest?
The birth of my first child – experiencing the creation of life, the complications and intricacies of it – it is an unforgettable experience.
Which talent would you most like to have?
To read something once and absorb it fast.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Listen more to, and understand, the opposite side.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
As a kid I was very scared of heights. My father enrolled me into a rock climbing club, where you climb rocks with a rope tied to your waist. For the first two or three days I was miserable, and I kept slipping and falling. But by the fourth day, I managed to climb to the top. That changed something. In that group of 55 kids, I was top of the class when we graduated.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Jawaharlal Nehru – just laying the foundation of the country, looking at how the world has evolved and make a much better India.
Where would you most like to live?
In isolation, amidst nature.
What is your most treasured possession?
My diary from when I was 6-7 years old. It is interesting to read the thoughts that I used to have at that time.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
What is your favourite occupation?
Reading books and listening to music.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I am very aggressive.
What do you most value in your friends?
Just being myself, not being judged.
Who are your favourite writers?
PG Woodhouse and Rabindranath Tagore.
Who is your hero of fiction?
I am not into fiction.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Subhash Chandra Bose.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Rafael Nadal and my father.
What are your favourite names?
My daughters’ names – Tanisha and Alisha.
What is it that you most dislike?
Lack of commitment.
What is your greatest regret?
Not having started up at an early age.
How would you like to die?
With some strong legacy, of an impact I created in the ecosystem.
What is your motto?