Author: Sanjay Arora

Advertising professional, promoted Shells Advertising Inc. in 1987 at the ripe young age of 26. With Nagpur, India as HQ & a Dubai branch. I try straddle the two functions of Strategic Brand Management and Creative. Like most facets of my life, a strange combination. A trained & certified Yoga teacher, a faculty with reputed Management Schools, another strange mix there. Have led the Rotary GSE Team to USA & Australia. A Mason, squared Round Tabler and above all a confused, inquisitive soul still trying to figure out why I have been put on earth.

‘Smart City’ a lot of hype & hot air. Focus on ‘Smart Citizens’

Its not strange at all that some words catch people’s fancy and soon start being bandied about without anyone pausing for a moment to think what the hoopla is all about. ‘Smart Cities’ is one such ‘fad’ word. It’s suddenly TOIbecome the flavour of the season, especially so since the powers that be want to sell another dream so that we the people somehow forget the reality that we confront every single day.

Another aspect of this ‘smart city’ concept is the large consulting firms and technology giants have everything to gain since there’s big money involved and hence write papers on it, sponsor conferences and seminars where dazzling presentations are made to aggressively fuel the hype further and sell the idea to the city fathers.

For me a smart city should first and foremost mean a more liveable city, which offers the basics to every citizen rich or poor, be it good roads, water, consistent power supply, affordable transport, schools, open play grounds, cultural hot-spots, accessibility to differently abled, environmental care etc. I find it most strange that a city that cant handle a heavy downpour without its streets turning into rivers, power black-outs, landline phones being rendered dead and the entire city coming to a virtual standstill being promised the label of a smart city.

Incidentally not one ‘smart city’ in the world is a success story so much so that there isn’t even an agreeable definition of a smart city.

We who cant run a half decent city bus service, a waste management system, a citywide traffic and parking system, an urban planning that inspires any confidence and we are being sold another humongously expensive concept of a smart city! Remember it is we the citizens who will have to ultimately pay for this.

What we really need probably are smart citizens who are participative in the city’s development. Use the technology backbone by all means to ensure greater transparency, monitoring and data-driven decision making, so that if a school teacher of a corporation school doesn’t show up we know, if a religious structure comes up on public land we know, if a mall knowingly flouts the city’s developmental regulations we know, if area shown as parking is usurped by the owner we know and as involved citizens to do something about it.

I may stand out like a sore thumb for going against the tide but I guess that’s smarter than suffering when the ‘smart city’ will seem like a dumb idea with a huge price to pay by future generations too.

The TOI peice TOI


Are you ready to make the change?

How long will this continue?

Aren’t we ashamed of what’s happening around us?

Can we not make a small difference at our own places of work & homes?

It may be a small difference for us, it’ll be a huge leap for (Wo)Mankind.

Let’s not be condescending, we aren’t doing anyone a favour.

We are simply following nature’s law.

It is her world as much as it is ours. No exceptions!


Rakh dena mere janaze par kagaz aur kalam,

Khuda ko bhi sher suna ke rulana hai mujhe..



Koi to hai mere andar mujhe sambhale hue,

Ke beqaraar ho kar bhi barqaraar hoon main..



Badi shiddat se raat bhar roya hoga koyi,

Warna ye mausam to nahi tha itni barishon ka..



Jin ke aangan main ameeri ka shajar lagta hai,

Un ka har aeib zamaane ko hunar lagta hai..


नजरंदाज उन्हें करू जो नजर के सामने हो,

उनका क्या करू, जो दिल में बस गए है…



नसीब की बारिश कुछ इस तरह से होती रही मुझ पे,

ख्वाहिशे सुखती रही और पलके भीगती रही..



उनकी नज़रों में फ़र्क़ अब भी नहीं,

पहले मुड़ के देखते थे,और अब देख के मुड़ जाते है



उल्फ़त, मोहब्बत, ग़म, अश्क, बेवफ़ा, अफ़साने…

शायद वो आयी थी जिंदगी में सिर्फ ऊर्दू सिखाने।


घर से निकलो तो पता जेब में रखकर निकलो,

हादसे इन्सान की पहचान तक मिटा देते है ।



कैसा अनोखा रिश्ता है..

दिल धोके में है और धोकेबाज़ दिल में!!



मुझे तो उन की इबादत पे रहम आता है,

जबीं के साथ जो सज्दे में दिल झुका न सके!



कब्र की मिट्टी हाथ में लिए सोच रहा हूं,

लोग मरते हैं तो गुरूर कहाँ जाता है?!


सिर्फ हवाओं पे शक ना कर,

चिराग़ खुद भी तो जल जल के थक गया होगा…



इश्क ‘महसूस’ करना भी …इबादत से कम नहीं,

ज़रा बताइये… ‘छू कर’ खुदा को किसने देखा है..



वो बेपरवाह बचपन, वो छोटी छोटी ख्वाहिशें..

बस हंसी और सिर्फ हंसी, कितने रईस थे हम..



यहाँ हजारों शायर हैं जो तख़्त बदलने निकले हैं,

कुछ मेरे जैसे पागल हैं जो वक़्त बदलने निकले हैं..!


Aankhon ki gali

Aankhon ki gali mein koi awaara sa aansu,

Palkon se tere ghar ka pata pooch raha hai…



ये चिराग़-ए-जान भी अजीब है के जला हुआ है अभी तलक,

तेरी बेवफाई की आँधियाँ तो कभी की आ के गुज़र गईं



चन्द लम्हें जो गुज़ार आया हूँ अंजानो के साथ,

दिल नहीं लगता मेरा अब जाने पहचानों के साथ…



दिल भी कमाल करता है,

जब खाली होता है , भर आता है!