Name: Fawzia Begum

Zodiac sign: Gemini (June 5th)

Education/Profession: B.S., Geology, graduate work, Geophysics. Changed major to Technical Writing. Currently employed as a Technical Writer.

Music training: As a child, training in Indian music. Self-taught mandolin. After coming to U.S., had taken some piano and guitar (Classical/Flamenco) lessons. Everything else is self-taught.

First time I played an instrument: At age four/five, without any training. Just by listening to my mother taking lessons in the next room. It’s called a banjo, nothing like the American banjo. It had four very thin, steel strings tuned to the same note, and rounded metal keys. You put it down flat on something, like a keyboard. Then with a pick you strum on the strings and let your left hand work its way through the keys to play the tune. It sounded similar to mandolin and banjo. You get the idea! I played an entire tune (a popular Indian tune) without missing a note for my mother’s instructor. He lifted me up with sheer excitement and gave me a little basket of English chocolates. I think everyone sort of planned on my first performance!

Music I listen to: When not listening to Neil Diamond and Josh Groban, I mostly listen to instrumental classical, sometimes Indian, flamenco guitar or other instrumentals that I find interesting. However, I’m familiar with all types of music and the popular musicians.

The reason I couldn’t be a Neil Diamond impersonator: Wrong gender! Ha! ha! (Even if I still sang like I used to)

Where I live: Currently, Orange County, California

Where I wish to live: Aspen, Colorado

Place I call home: None. I drove down “country roads” many times, but none “took me home.” So, now I just drive. Faster the better!

Favorite flowers: Roses, particularly red.

Favorite colors: Red, sky-blue, light yellow, sunset.

Favorite food: Other than Indian, Thai and country-style French (only obtainable in small French villages).

Do I cook: Yes! I enjoy cooking especially for others, spoiling them.

Favorite domestic animal: Horse

Favorite wild animals: All the big cats, the bears, and the elephants.

Favorite activities: Long walks by the ocean, and high speed, long drives down scenic highways to nowhere, listening to music.

Other things I do: When not playing music, I read poems of Rumi and Rabindranath Tagore (Nobel laureate of India), write poems and memoirs, and photograph nature.

Favorite author: Hard to pick

Favorite book: Hard to pick

Dream cars: Porsche, and Jaguar (only the model used by Inspector Morse in British TV serial, Inspector Morse)

My happy places:: Mexico (by the Caribbean) and Aspen, Colorado

Favorite water: The Caribbean Ocean

The happiest moment: Still to come

The saddest moment: The day my mother died of cancer (a few years ago)

Things I watch on television: Comedy, AMC movies, PBS, Discovery, and Bravo programs, occasionally VH-1, golf, tennis, car racing and skiing.

Favorite television interviewer: Charlie Rose and James Lipton

Favorite singers: Neil Diamond and Josh Groban

Favorite Groban song: “GIRA CON ME”

Favorite Diamond song: “I’VE BEEN THIS WAY BEFORE”

Diamond song I relate to most: “I AM I SAID”

Favorite American composer: Henry Mancini

Favorite classical composers: Mozart and Chopin top the list, but I like all the others as well.

Favorite conductors: Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Mehta

Favorite instrumentalists: Yitzhak Perlman, Paco DeLucia, Santana, Vladimir Horowitz, Vladimir Ashkenazi, John Williams (the guitarist), Jean-Luc Ponty, and Ravi Shankar.

Favorite movies: Doctor Zhivago, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Cinema Paradiso, Roman Holiday, To Kill a Mockingbird, Remains of the Day, and The Out of Africa.

Favorite Star Trek movies: The Voyage Home and the Generations

Favorite James Bonds: Sean Connery and Pearce Brosnan

My best companion: Music

Two things I always carry with me: Music and love

Topics I avoid: Politics and religion

Topics I adore: Music, literature, love, movies, high technology, and travel.

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