Great Interviews Start with Great Questions

Keeping it original and embracing the emotional could be sought after tactics to get to know people in general, too.

The Daily Post

Not sure how to get started? Check out The Art of the Interview, from Blogging U‘s Writing 201 course, “Beyond the Blog Post.” Mark Armstrong covers interview prep, tools, and offers a sample reading list of great interviews to inspire you.

As humans, we’re innately curious about one another, maybe because understanding others is one way to better understand ourselves. Interviews, via podcast, video, or print can help you expand your audience and attract repeat visitors to your site. Today, we’ll look at some tips on how to craft interview questions that will make for compelling watching, listening, or reading on your blog.

Get schooled on your subject

I sometimes find that in interviews you learn more about yourself than the person learned about you.
–William Shatner

Your interview subject has said yes: congratulations! After you celebrate, start preparing: read your subject’s work. Read their blog, Google them…

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RISHTA – THE HORROR

Disclaimer: The facts mentioned/cited are anything but facts. The ideas matter though.

“Aunty ayi hen, rishta ley kay’, this statement is a lightening bolt thundering another ‘Nelofer’ approaching without consent, for a leisure trip down the memory lane, when ‘saas bhi kabhi bahu thi’. More like grocery shopping at Metro, where you scrutinize the ‘dairy products’ as per your budget and ‘needs’; the aunties, dressed to perfection, drop by and there the hunt-check starts. Oh, wait, what century am I referring to precisely speaking? B***h, you guessed it. 21st century! Where: Pakistan. Why: 1. Islamic Republic 2. That’s what has been happening so it’d better continue. 3. Sc*** all the reforms of every kind at every level, Rishta-Test Report qualifies more merit than a PhD. Plus, a female (human, of course) with a PhD is too old to take the test anyway. We have got our uncles, prone to tharak-syndrome, to take them, you know, as 3rd, 4th wife perhaps.

The Rishta-trend dates back to the origin of species, when Darwin – married b.t.w, claimed us originated from Apes, once saw a group of apes – females, heading towards another dwelling, all dressed in cool leaves and shi*. Soon, the leader ape (a she) came out stomping angrily, leaving the dwellers all sad and dismal behind. Darwin could guess, it must have been ‘the Rishta-Audit’. The social custom, thence, was passed over from generations to generations, evolving as humans, physically only, with a few exceptions of brains may be. But the only keepers of the code-of-whatever-ship surviving in the 21st century could be found in an Asian society – let’s narrow down to ones in Pakistan for a better analysis.

In Pakistan, Rishta-Hunt functions as an autonomous, non-profit body, mediated by the match-makers around the globe, (don’t forget the aunties overseas), with an objective of finding a perfect match/soul mate for the men  and women, beyond age, cast, creed. The definition of a perfect match, mutually agreed upon by the successful match-makers and aunties-next-door, goes like this: “Girl: educated – Doctor at least, beautiful – Deepika at least, Tall – Maria Sharapova at least, age – 20 at most, perfect cook – Gulzar at least, innocent but well-versed when required in domestic politics, and not to forget, Religious: Alhuda-qualified at least, Rich – apna-house, car, gold, etc. Male: rich, sexually-active, car, house.” This universally accepted definition has been drilled in the brains so deep that it can be claimed as a mindset malignant in its effects. Nevertheless, the chicks around would be wondering how to score considerable bands in RT – Rishta Test. Here are some of the Do’s and Don’ts for all the young-boisterous-processed females of our society. Don’t forget to thank me in the comments, just saying – Ba Dum Tuss*

To score 8.5-9 bands in the Rishta Test:

DO’S

  1. Dress-up well:

Wear something trendy, with light make-up on, open hair if long, tied, only if oily, heels if short, more heels if tall. Yes, please perfume yourselves as you’d have to hug any of the counter-party members. No, not the guy. Not happening.

  1. Keep Calm:

Keep calm as it ain’t a big-deal. Don’t get all heebie-jeebies-oh-my-god-I-am-being-rishtaofied in front of them. They like calm chicks. Your response during the scrutiny must be patient and yielding. If you looked up during the scrutiny and your eyes met theirs, Drat!

  1. Smile – Nothing else turns those creeps on.
  2. Serve them:

Ladies, you’d better learn how to pour tea in a cup, to perfection, like exactly proportionate to the desired standard. You spill tea in saucer, you are barred from the RT right away. No questions asked.

  1. Talk to the Aunties only. Uncles are never supposed to be addressed or made a conversation with during the RT.
  2. Excuse them during the conversation and leave. It’d testify your shyness.

DON’TS

  1. Can you speak? Nay-Not Interested:

Wait, are you qualified, a Masters may be, from a renowned university with a 2 years work experience. “Ennnn – Wrong Answer – Neener-Neener – sad trombones playing.” DO NOT show that. Shush the damn mind. Play all dumb and gooey. And, yes, nod only – in affirmation mostly.

  1. Don’t Eat:

Are you serious? Did Depika eat when Ranvir brought her proposal in the movie, Ram Leela? Or whenever they were making out and – sorry, got carried away. So, yes. DO NOT EAT a damn morsel.

  1. Do not Laugh. LOL is prohibited, also LMAO,LMFAO, ROFL etc.
  2. Don’t Look at the Guy!

‘Sluts’ do that. A death stare from your would-be saas would be imminent if you did so, followed by reprimanding gazes from your parents, siblings etc. Play shy.

  1. Don’t Slouch. Straight back, head down. Nice, that’s more like it.

These RT-score indicators have been certified by the Royal Institute of Social Norms, Government of Pakistan.*

Now, the next time you are being tested. Get the dice rolling and watch the show as it’s a regretful custom which doesn’t have an end, and to the non-conformists, the soul-mate believers, the educated PhD-ies, Masters’ or working women, you ladies need to flee before the trumpet blows.

Big Oak Tree

Times when even the safest of havens don’t allow you residence and all you are left with is a pile of dead black leaves of your memories to lie on under the big black oak tree of your fears. The only mates you could have then would be the silhouettes of them from the safe haven you were forced to exile, rummaging around for you, mute and helpless.

To All That We Need…

“Your one thought is a precious paint brush of yours. You have been given a repertoire of various colors; bright, light, dark and grim, countless colors. Your mind is a palette, too, and your canvas is the universe around you. Do you have any idea how tangible your strokes could be with this brush? Wait, did I tell you this brush has one more eccentricity to share? It attracts similitude.” He couldn’t keep track of the rest as he woke up precisely at the same instant. It was a recurrent dream as usual.

He would find himself in an Art class, amongst a group of students of different age groups and an instructor with a paint brush in hand. Students were dressed in rags and tatters, sitting and listening intently on white wooden chairs and tables. In front was a huge white canvas. The room was cold and grim. The instructor, well, that’s the most intriguing part of all. It was a 14-year-old girl, dressed in an ash grey night-gown, with tangled open hair. Her face was a blur but her voice was crystal clear and that’s what mattered most. Her words had the power to drag you to other dimensions, while you stayed still in a trance. And odd was the fact, he wasn’t amongst the students but a mere listener standing in the corner of the room, beside the only window in the room. It was dusk outside.

He struggled to shut his thoughts down and bring himself back to the reality common to all. “I am alive and this was all a mere dream. I should get up now. I have a new job to start today, Goddammit! Get up, would you?” He was speaking out loud and in almost ten straight minutes managed to get out of bed. “But wait, let me at least jot down the words she spoke.” He took his iPad off the side table and made note of that Morse code. In less than 20 minutes he was ready to get going. He made himself some pan cakes with maple syrup and a glass of chocolate milk. His breakfast was always incomplete without the morning dose of news flash. He switched on his iPad and scrolled down some headlines. There, something caught his eye and he couldn’t help reading it through, “Stephen Hawking Warns That Aggression Could Destroy Us All.”

“Good Heavens, what’s been cooking all this while?” He muttered in confusion. He already had a lot on his plate and now this thought. “Aggression could destroy us, how?” He stood still at the kitchen counter for a while and suddenly his muscles visibly relaxed as he decided something. “I need to see her. She could decode all this ambiguity.” He headed towards the only lyrical dancer in town and the person closest to his heart, Tennessee. Her name was enough to make him beam inside out. He chuckled inwardly. “Well, ditching your first day at new job, not a good idea but I guess aggression would take care of that too.” He seemed amused by his own thought.

“There she is.” He could never help falling over and over for that only being worthy of his complete attention in the world. She was standing still in the middle of the wide veranda, eyes closed, inhaling the morning bliss and smiling to herself. Her smile could tell she had sensed his presence there. “What now, Aleph? She asked opening her eyes slightly. She nodded him to follow her and sauntered towards the living room. He followed blindly. “Actually, I have a lot to ask and make sense of, you know.” He managed to break the ice. She didn’t say anything, just smiled, ensuring complete trust and confidence. He continued to share his dream than the headline and now he was silent and waited for her to decipher all that. She spoke after a while.

“Aleph, our thoughts attract similitude; be they negative, positive, good, evil, homicidal or revolutionary. The way one paints a picture but the first stroke and even before that the first color from the palette sets the tone for all, likewise your world works. Imagine yourself the sole creator of your life’s course, believing in the guidance from God, or for others, the universe. Your first thought is innocent but magnetic, the more you focus, it expands and the more you resist, it persists. For instance you started worrying about your presentation today, or a debt to clear or an interview to attend or a recent break-up to get through.” She paused to let the idea sink. He was too engrossed to breathe. She continued, “You started with the thought “worrying about”. You chose the color black. Your first stroke had to be likewise. Now imagine its magnetic streak. It’s now attracting similitude as promised. In a few minutes your reality would be nothing but grimmer, darker with despair lurking clear. Are you getting how this works, Aleph?”

She left him there; deep in thought and stood up to make some tea. She was addicted to tea and so was he. She was soon back with two cups of hot tea. He hadn’t moved an inch. She smiled and knocked on the table. He started and apologized for being so lost in thoughts. “Thoughts”, this word was now measuring his mind’s labyrinth. “Was Newton right when he proposed rather proved the theory of cause and effect?” He sounded absurd asking the obvious but he really wanted to. “Great, you nipped the right root there. Cause and effect, our life’s course is a conspicuous instance of that. But don’t miss the fact, not just actions have equal reactions but here thoughts, if intense and focused could actually transform your entire existence.” She sipped her tea and continued, “Now, let’s make sense of our beloved Stephen Hawking’s prediction as to the end of the world or humanity for that matter. Tell you what, he is right. Wait, you do the math here, substitute the thought “aggression” in the example I just shared, and track down the course.” She paused for him to respond. “Good Grace, you mean to say, aggression, could for sure destroy the world; one being’s aggressive thought attracting similitude and manifesting all in actions, affecting the fellow humans, who in return, having the same fatal thoughts. Lord, it’s like a jungle catching fire in no time. Tennessee, there has to be a solution, an antidote?”

She couldn’t help praising his attempt on comprehending the nature’s game. “This world also works on opposites. Remember. So the cure lies in nothing else but ‘Empathy’; an empathetic thought could do the needful only if it were of the same intensity. Aleph, we need empathy here. We need light here. It’s already dark enough to tread. Humanity needs empathy.” She sighed and stopped. She couldn’t say anything more. He didn’t force her to.