For the past days I have been overwhelmed by images of Planet Why that keep surging into my mind, often unsolicited and unsought. These images are amazing in their clarity. They extend beyond the visual and stimulate every sense: I can see, hear, feel and even smell planet why and revel in it
This is an entirely new experience for me as I normally tend to be governed by a well honed Cartesian mind and need to find reasons for everything placing myself in the centre and attempting to be in control. The success graph has been mixed and always carried a heavy price. In order to do things 'right', I needed to allow myself to be intercepted by outside factors and often have my true desires hijacked unknowingly, while I sat thinking I was on the right course.
With Planet Why I find that things seem to have taken a 180 degree spin as I know it will happen and the usual doubts, angst and fears that normally accompany any new venture seem strangely absent. In its place there is a fervent need to share, talk and make my vision known, no matter how incredible it may seem. Even the routine voices of doubt one hears and that usually take on huge proportions are cast aside with a smile.
We all love looking for reasons for the things we do and once again we try to find those that make us look or feel good. And if one was to look at Planet Why from this angle there are many reasons that one can find, but any attempt dwarf the spirit of this place that seems more and more to come from deep within as the only plausible path to walk at this moment in time.
So allow me to give you a glimpse of Planet Why:
Planet Why will be located in the sleepy village of Goyla known for its dairy and buffaloes. A pond sits nearby the chosen location and is surrounded by shrubs and trees, and like all villages in India protected by a tiny shrine to the faceless local deity. The village does have its share of urbanisation with many new structures, but one can still find some old homesteads and the local village council. There are several government schools and many children in need of educational support and guidance.
Planet Why once again aims at working with these children as is done at Project Why , but will also reach out to the community , something that was not feasible in an urban slum. Environment projects, rainwater harvesting, health related activities, imparting new skills, adult education, empowerment of women, civic responsibility are some of the projects we intend launch.
Our vision is of simple structure around a courtyard. Whitewashed walls, brightly painted doors and windows, mud murals, greenery will give a joyful feeling to the place. On the first floor we will run a guest house with 10 rooms offering two star comfort and decorated with local craft. These rooms will be for tourists transiting Delhi and who would like to spend a day or two with children before they set out to discover India. Goyla's proximity to the airport makes it an ideal transit point. For those who wish to see Delhi, a short ride to the metro station will be provided at regular intervals.
The ground floor will house three sections. One will have a large kitchen and a living room where guests can lounge, read or just while away time playing with the children; one side will be reserved for children where two large rooms will be converted into dorms at night for the little souls that have dropped by Project Why and who have nowhere else to go to. During the day the same rooms will be used for a host of child related activities for the neighbourhood kids. The third side will house staff quarters (mostly single moms) and all other housekeeping activities. Building material will be eco -friendly and recycled, and we will try to use as much alternative sources of energy as possible: solar panels to heat water, bio gas and green fuel.
All open space will be filled with trees, shrubs and plants of all kinds. The building activity will involve friends from all over the world as well as the local community each one leaving their own special mark.
Tourism with a meaning seems to have come to stay as many friends and supporters have expressed their desire to spend some time with children and local people before setting out to discover the country. Hence our rooms seem almost booked in advance! After cutting the costs needed to run the place, we will be left with a sizable amount that will go on to fund educational and other activities based on the model we have already run and validated for the past 7 years setting us free of the fragile situation we often found ourselves in.
The little guest house will also be a training ground for our own students who can then accede to a wider range of employment. Planet Why will also be an ideal place for short term skill learning workshops and related activities.
We invite you to join the exciting journey we have already embarked on and would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.