At least once in a lifetime, self-reflection leads us to examine the circumstances of our birth. Why were we born in this particular corner of the world, on this particular date? These families into which we were born, these countries and cities to which the lottery of life has assigned us - they expect love from us, and in the end, we do love them, from the bottom of our hearts - but did we perhaps deserve better? I sometimes think myself unlucky to have been born in an ageing and impoverished city buried under the ashes of a ruined empire. But a voice inside me always insists this was really a piece of luck. If it were a matter of wealth, then I could certainly count myself fortunate to have been born into an affluent family at a time when the city was at its lowest ebb (though some have ably argued the contrary). Mostly I am disinclined to complain: I've accepted the city into which I was born in the same way I've accepted my body (much as I would have preferred to be more handsome and better built) and my gender (even though I still ask myself, naively, whether I might have been better off had I been born a woman). This is my fate, and there's sense arguing with it.
-Orhan Pamuk (Winner of Nobel Prize in Literature, 2006) Book: Istanbul:Memories of a City