I just realised that one of the things I miss most about Chembur, where I lived between ten years old and mid-20s, is the number of people I could hang out with who lived within walking distance, or, when we moved a little further out, a cycle ride away.
College and work expanded my circles, the online world expanded them even more, and over the years I have found many who are my tribe, who matter deeply to me, so I don’t regret these for a second.
But there is something to be said for having friends whose homes you could stroll over to on a whim, to play a board game, watch a movie, have a snack, just chat and lounge around, and then walk back.
The more scattered friendships of choice all require some planning and coordination, some effort, some expense, just to hang out. Of course Chembur has changed, my old ’hood is almost unrecognisable, most pals have moved elsewhere.
Besides, there was much about life there that was very… narrow, many of the ‘friendships’ were really just because of proximity, some of those folks were really rather toxic.
You can’t really go back; ‘home’ is both a place and a time.