With a Pinch of Salt : My dream of a ‘Smart City’

Oct 14, 2016

When the mobile rang, I realised it’s the dawn of a new day. I thanked my Lord for keeping me alive but not awake the whole night. It was a glorious morning, I thought. My wife was still sleeping or perhaps living in a better world than mine, I guessed.

The previous evening we had a gala time at the Panambur beach, where everything was in its place, all decked up with all the amenities. Leisure rooms with clean toilets and barbeque stands drilled to the ground. Self-help kitchens with an ample stock of sugar free capsules and electric kettles. You need to bring only a few sachets of tea bags and there were enough facilities to make and sip your tea. There were frying pan-stands again drilled to the floors so that one could fry bread or make an egg-omelette. There were many bars with a variety of spirits of one’s choice. Even the banks had set up their ATMs everywhere.

Who was on the phone anyway? It was my friend Michael who wanted to check if I could join him to go to the bank. I laughed at him. What is the need to go to the bank? We had all the facilities of e-banking at our finger tips. Just flick open the mobile and buy, cash, make transfers at the click of a button. Pay the power and gas bills through Apps, buy fish, vegetables, and soft drinks, whatever. Don’t ask for a receipt for we live in a paper-less society. What a splendid transformation of a city, my God!

The roads are safe, wide, with broad pathways of course, each electric pole has a solar light. Dust bins on both sides of the road, one for dry and the other for wet garbage. Low-floor buses, all multi axels, and designated seats for the differently-abled, children, senior citizen and girls. Each bus has ‘no smoking’ signs and the public address system to announce every destination.

The city has everything you can ask for. Parking spots with a small fee, every building has a garden, every corner has a toilet, recreation facility, religious centre, everything. The restaurants are crowded with Mexican, Chinese, Japanese and Italian cuisines. KFC, Pizza Hut, MacDonald’s have gone to give way to high brands such as King Joe, Big Brother, Uncle Sam and Bloody Mary. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are owned by local brewers under ‘Make in India’ scheme.

The telephone rang again. When I opened my eyes everything was gone. My wife was still sleeping. I was terrified. I woke her up and asked her – “Why does everything seem to have changed. Are we not in a Smart City?”

She was annoyed to the hilt for ruining her dream world. “Sleep, you silly” she screams. “It’s only two in the morning. To hell with your Smart City and your dreams” – she yells and goes back to sleep.

I pinch myself to make sure I am alive; I go over to a mirror to see if I have aged. No. I am still below sixty.

“Was it a dream or am I already in a Smart City?” – I ask myself or was it our trip to Australia’s Gold Coast, a few years has made a difference.

Alas, it was a bloody dream – the dream of a common man – of living in a Smart City.

by Hemacharya
Hemacharya is the Editor-in-chief of Daijiworld Weekly, the only English weekly magazine published from Karnataka.

Comment on this article

  • vgb, mangalore

    Wed, Oct 26 2016

    all the SMART people have become NRIs
    come back and make your dream come true

    Agree [1]

  • Preetham, Kirem - Sharjah

    Sun, Oct 23 2016

    Yet again a thought provoking write up. Even if 10% of your dream comes true, I would still call it SMART CITY.
    Dream more...

    Agree [1]

  • Patricia DSouza, Mangalore

    Sat, Oct 22 2016

    Smart City yes it is everyone's dream. But can the basic amenities be looked into like the drainage system, collecting the garbage daily, water supply etc. specially in the Kulshekar area. No improvements are being done in that area though it comes under the City limits.

    Agree [2]

  • CGS, Mangaluru

    Fri, Oct 21 2016

    Hemacharya's Pinch of Salt seems to be a real Punch to the (S)mart city! Enjoyed your beautiful dream. Congrats!

    Agree [4]

  • ad, mangaluru

    Thu, Oct 20 2016

    Smart city…. one day my friends, one day. For now lets go fishing…. and live our life smart.

    Agree [3]

  • N.M, Mangalore

    Thu, Oct 20 2016


    I hope we get our basic footpaths-Drainage and traffic signals with CCTV's to capture erratic drivers before going to the next step.

    Agree [3]

  • Tony Crasta, Mangalore/Sydney

    Wed, Oct 19 2016

    Interesting piece of writing! Thoroughly enjoyed. I am sure your dream will come true one day - though it might take another few decades or so, after all, in principle, we are already claiming Mangalore as one of the Smart Cities!

    Agree [3]

  • Ashok Pai M, Mangalore

    Tue, Oct 18 2016

    Very nice write up. I certainly was carried away for once reading all in a flow, non-stop. At the end, felt that this could have had more content going. All the very best! One more please.

    Agree [3]

  • Antony D'Cunha, Permude/Muscat

    Tue, Oct 18 2016

    Nice write-up. Brought back memories of "Thirukana Kanasu", a poem we all loved to recite during early days of our schooling. There beggar becomes King in the dream, albeit this one is common man's dream of a smart city.

    Agree [3]

  • Dr.Anand and Geeta Pereira, Sakleshpur

    Mon, Oct 17 2016

    Brilliant. A new awakening for the sense's. Smart city..A long time to go with vision and innovations.

    Agree [6]

  • Ruben Pinto, Australia

    Mon, Oct 17 2016

    Well imagined. going by smart city metrics, even a small town in US has all these amenities. In India, noting is even close. Perhaps, we need to rewrite the rules for India. Bad roads, open sewers, filth everywhere and pollution to boot will be the norm as we have unqualified town planners with a british era bureaucracy who resist change.

    Agree [4]

  • steven, dxb

    Sun, Oct 16 2016

    Missed the pinch of salt write-ups in my life from Steven sir. Thanks you

    Agree [3]

  • Rodrigues, Australia

    Sat, Oct 15 2016

    Dear Mr. Hemacharya,

    I visit Mangalore once in 6 months and I've often seen some people NEVER following social ethics at all.
    I sternly opine that the changes to be 'smart' must come from within.
    I applaud your imaginary write-up....

    Agree [22]

  • NN, USA

    Sat, Oct 15 2016

    I live in the USA and I know one can make Hemacharya's dream come true easily in a short period of time provided there is a determination to make it come true. It is a simple and more realistic dream we can do it even without the mediocre of Smart City.

    Agree [9]

  • Joseph F. Gonsalves, Bannur, Puttur / Mangalore

    Fri, Oct 14 2016

    Most people great the others saying ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.

    However I am specifically say to anybody may ALL YOUR GOOD DREAMS COME TRUE.

    Mangalore was developed in the SEZ during the UPA regime.

    Knowing very well Mangalore is developed now the bjp have Christened it From SEZ to SMART CITY.

    Dear Hemacharya/STEPHEN MASCARENHAS,



    Agree [7]

  • Juliet Mascarenhas, Bejai

    Fri, Oct 14 2016

    The smart city remained a dream city? Hope not so. Dreams after dreams you will reach the Senior city-Zen being your turning point.

    Agree [5]

  • Antony Cony, Karkala/Qatar

    Fri, Oct 14 2016

    Smart dreams beget smart entertainment.
    But few smart dreams, good dreams here to stay.

    Agree [2]

  • Victor A. Pinto, Damarsakatte

    Fri, Oct 14 2016

    Stephen, Prophet Joel says"...your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions" (Jl.2:28). You are in the middle age so hope for the best. Nowadays dreams seldom come true mostly people have daydreams!

    Agree [6]

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