#MostLivable -Sit Back And Enjoy It For As Long As It Lasts!

Most Livable City
Image used for representation only

You, dear reader, and everybody you know, has doubtless heard that Pune is one of the most (if not the most) livable cities in this country.

And you, dear reader, and everybody you know, has doubtless snorted loudly and derisively upon hearing this news.

What if, I contemplate in my weekly dispatches this time around, the government actually got it right this time? What if Pune actually is the most livable city in India? This is, I’d argue, a searing indictment of every other city in this country.

Now, now, before we get into the jabbing our fingers in each other’s chests mode, here is what I mean.

First, in case it hasn’t been clear, I love my city. Couldn’t love it more if I tried. I love its history, its weather, its people, its cuisine.

Give me a couple of drinks, tell me tomorrow is an off, and I might even pretend to love its streets, so long as said street doesn’t have a BRTS corridor.

But all of that being said, I will have to resist a very strong urge to bundle you off to the closest loony bin if you insist on Pune being a genuinely great city when compared to other cities on this planet. We don’t hold a candle to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or Boston (and those are just cities that I have been to myself. Don’t get me started on Barcelona, or London or Paris).

And if we are actually the most livable city in India, then heaven help us.

And by the way, I do not say heaven help us because of the way these cities are right now. I say heaven help us because of the way they are going to be in about twenty years from now. Here’s what I mean:

Almost everybody in this country agrees that roughly one third of India’s population is currently urban. Around 65%, therefore, is rural. If we assume that there are 1.3 billion of us currently living in India, that means about 400 million are in our cities.

If we assume that there’s going to be about 1.5 billion of us in twenty years from now (and that’s a fair assumption), and if we assume that at least sixty percent of us will stay in our cities then (an equally fair assumption, because no country in the world is developed without an urbanization rate of about 70%) then that means there will be 900 million of us in our cities by then.

Or, put another way, there are going to be twice as many people in India’s cities two decades from now, as there are today. Heaven, as I said, help us.

You know the part that scares the bejesus out of me? Which city would I want to move to, if I was a rural Indian today?

Why, the most livable city of them all, obviously. Enjoy it while it lasts, fellow citizens: even if you think Pune is a most livable place today, it ain’t going to be eternal.

For sure.

~~

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni

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