"If you could choose any one place in the world to be your home, where would it be and why? Feel free to choose anywhere in the world, even if it's somewhere you haven't been."
This should have been a simple question to answer. Technically, home should be the place you are staying with your family. One can even be a tad sentimental and say that it doesnt matter where you live as long as your loved ones are with you. This is true to a great extent, after all the best & most beautiful city might seem empty if you dont have any one to share your life with. But when I am being given a choice of picking a place anywhere in the world, I am not going to let go of this opportunity.
I have lived in exactly 4 cities throughout my life so far. I have visited numerous other places. Each of these places has left an impression, sometimes negative but positive for the major part. But do you really think about pros and cons when you are thinking of your favourite place in the world? Arent pros and cons very perspective? What I might like in a city might be the exact thing that you hate about it. So to conclude there is really no benchmark or criteria to decide this, not that I needed any. As soon as I read the topic, my choice was clear in my mind.
It has to be Bombay without any shred of doubt. Yes! I still call it Bombay and not ‘Mumbai’. It was Bombay when I moved in and that is how it will stay for me. I know it should officially be called Mumbai, but does the name change the city or the people living there? I dont think so. I have many reasons to like Bombay (the friends I made there, being a very important one), but I am sure these reasons might apply to a lot of other cities. Living conditions, good facilities, career prospects, safety & security and so on. As I have mentioned earlier, this city also has a lot of things that people dont like at all, such as the crowd, the ever ‘on the move’ life, people being stuffed inside local trains, not to forget the 2 months of monsoon rains that almost turn this city into a huge ditch. In spite of all this, advocates for this city will argue for the city, citing the famous ‘spirit of people’, solidarity, diversity and rich culture & heritage of the city. Apart from these ‘positive’ points I actually quite like the ‘negative’ points also that I have listed. I really long to travel in Local trains again, where you meet and make friends for life, who otherwise would not even have a chance to cross your life. I quite prefer the busy life, where everyone has a purpose and no one is idling away their time. I used to love walking around the Dadar-Plaza area, which is always crowded any time of the day or night. And, I would give anything to experience the Bombay rains one more time, notwithstanding the July 2005 flooding which had caught all of us unawares. Really, after the drizzle fest that I have been treated to all these years in London, I am ready to do anything to get ‘real’ rain on my face!
But these reasons are not enough for anyone to pick and choose a home. Wherever I have lived so far, I have always formed great memories to cherish. Actually, for me it just boils down to the fact that I feel ‘at home’ when I am in Bombay even though I dont have a ‘house’ there any more!