I have been putting off writing this post for a long time but it is time I do, as much for myself as for all those who shared my dream and supported it. Sadly this dream did not become reality. I am talking of Planet Why, the guest house with a difference that would have allowed project why attain sustainability. Many of you do not know how far we went in our dream.
Planet Why was to be a green guest house with 23 rooms. Solar energy, recycled water, geothermal cooling and heating, you name it, we had it. A beautiful building in red bricks - no need of yearly painting just a good scrub needed - designed in Laurie Baker's inimitable style and sound principles,
made it a delight for the senses and the heart. Juxtaposed to the guest house and separated by an open air amphitheatre was the children centre a haven for differently abled persons and women in critical situations. The centre also had the capacity to house a foray of activities for children of local deprived communities. Planet why would have also been a training ground for project why alumni in a wide range of skills.
We dared to dream and dream big. The Fates did seem to be on our side. True there were some small hiccups but we were able to find and purchase a lovely plot of land. In spite of our lack of business acumen we came up with a plan that was validated by internationally renowned professionals. We meticulously budgeted for all our needs to the smallest spoon or saucer. A beautiful architectural model was designed by an eminent architect. All that was needed were the funds and even here we seemed to be on track as an investor promised us the needed amount. Even the most sceptics amongst us were on cloud nine! The dream was bound to become reality!
Alas that was not to be. The investor backed out suddenly about a year ago. I knew at that moment that the dream was dead but held on hoping against hope that a miracle would happen. But as days became months I knew the miracle was not to be. Planet Why would not happen and it was time to lay it to rest serenely and stop looking back.
However the failure of such a sound and beautiful project has left me quite disturbed. I cannot stop beating myself and wondering if and where I did go wrong. I cannot hide myself behind investors who reneged. The bottom line is that I was unable to raise the needed funds. From day one, fund raising has been my responsibility and I was unable to fulfill it at the most crucial juncture of project why. Perhaps it is because of my having chosen to become a social recluse for reasons I once found sound. Had I continued being the good spouse and accompanied my better half to the innumerable soirees he is invited to, I may have met more people with heavy wallets who could have extended help. So many 'mays' and coulds' make one wonder if that was really the way to go. Given the past record of such individuals when approached for tiny sums, I do not think my pleas, however impassioned, would have made them loosen their purse strings. Perhaps my failure comes from my not having been pro active enough and depended on others. There may be some truth in this and I do not have much to say in my defence and anyway the harm is done and one cannot turn the clock back. I will have to bear the cross of this failure for times to come as I know that we will never have a sustainability option as wondrous as planet why.
Before I end this post allow me to dream a little and share with you what Planet Why was meant to be.
The building on the left side of the picture above is the Planet Why Guest house. It has 23 rooms, each one being decorated in a minimalist and functional style reflecting the rich heritage of India. Each room is wheel chair friendly. The building is eco friendly and has very little carbon emission. On the ground floor is the reception manned by Preeti, a physically challenged young girl who has a smile to die for. A small lounge and coffee shop would serves wholesome organic breakfast to the guests and meals can be ordered in advance. Airport pick up is ensured and handled by well trained project why alumni who double up as enthusiastic guided ready to make you discover the real India. An efficient housekeeping team consisting of challenged persons, project why alumni and local residents under the watchful eye of seasoned professionals ensures that the place is spotless.
The right side building is what we call the 'children and women centre'. It is home to Preeti and many of her physically and mentally challenged friends. A place where they work, laugh, and live together. It is also home to women in distress who come for a short or longer time to rebuild their broken lives. But that is not all. The centre offers a host of activities for local children and women based on the successful project why model: after school support, computer classes, creative activities, tailoring, beauty classes and more. It is always buzzing with activity. Special workshops are also held for project why alumni in order to get them ready for the outside world.
In the kitchen professionals and trainees are busy preparing meals for the residents. They also make mouth watering pastries and delicious breads they have learnt from a French baker during a workshop. These are sold to regular clients across the city as a means of supplementary income.
. Guests can also learn Hindi and Bollywood dancing.
Planet Why is a no profit organisation that support project why activities.
That is what Planet Why was meant to be. You can imagine how difficult is is to let go of the dream.