My London: Deepak Chopra

Illustration by Silvia Prada (Illustration by Silvia Prada)
Illustration by Silvia Prada (Illustration by Silvia Prada)

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East Village in New York City. I actually live on the NYU campus. It’s a thriving, bustling, beautiful and vibrant community.

What is your first memory of London?

I first came to London in 1970 and made a point of going to all the places I had romanticised as a child who had read Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle. It was June, but raining and cold and I travelled on foot to Baker Street, the theatre district, The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament.

Which shops do you rely on?

Harrods. I have been going there to buy clothes for maybe 30 years. It’s a habit.

Best meal you’ve had in London?

I went to the Bombay Brasserie in South Kensington many years ago for the first time with George Harrison, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart. They came to a lecture I did and took me out to dinner afterwards. We ate dhal and Goan fish curry. Dave talked about his experiences with LSD and George of his association with the Maharishi and transcendental meditation.

Where would you suggest for a first date?

My idea of an ideal first date is a good conversation, so it would have to be a secluded corner of Hyde Park.

Dave Stewart told me about his experiences with LSD and George Harrison of his time with the Maharishi

Who is the most iconic Londoner?

Charlie Chaplin, hero of silent movies and in my opinion one of the funniest people.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

I would create a day of celebration honouring the theatrical artists of London. I think London has the best theatre in the world — even more so than Broadway. When I first came here, I saw the play Oh! Calcutta! at the Duchess Theatre in the West End. It featured a mix of music, dance and sketches and was notable for its frank depiction of nudity and sexual content. It stayed with me forever.

If you could buy any building in London and live there, which would it be?

I love Covent Garden, so maybe I’d buy the Covent Garden Hotel. Its drawing room is spectacular.

Have you ever had a run-in with a London police officer?

Other than asking them for directions, no! Actually, I once got told off for trying to disturb the stillness of the guards at Buckingham Palace.

What’s your biggest extravagance?

I don’t have any these days. It used to be to go and buy tailored coats on Savile Row, but these things don’t seem so important any more.

Who do you call when you want to have fun in town?

I haven’t had a wild time in London for decades! But in the early Eighties I used to always visit George Harrison and Dave Stewart. They were good friends and we’d go to the theatre and stay out late in Chinatown. There would be a bit of eating. A bit of drinking.

Where would you most like to be buried in London?

It’s got to be Westminster Abbey — why not!

What’s your London secret?

You know, I have gotten lost a few times on the London Underground and enjoyed it very much. There is a special kind of anonymity there. Actually London is a great place to get lost.

What are you currently up to for work?

I have a new book out. It’s called Living in the Light: Yoga for Self-Realization. It’s my 93rd — I like to share.

‘Living in the Light: Yoga for Self-Realization’ by Deepak Chopra is out now (£16.99; Ebury)