Dil Khush Hai Jahan, Teri Toh Manzil Hai Wahi

Contributed by:  Maaz Hasan

 Dated:  26th  July, 2017

What is your goal in life?  Someone asked me 5 years back, and this is how I randomly responded to it – ‘Make at least 100 people of the country employable.’

In these five years a lot of things have happened. I graduated out of college, volunteered for a student run organization for a year, moved to New Delhi to work for a start-up, worked in three different companies and travelled a little. The point I am trying to make here is that even after doing a lot of random things, the lack of sense of fulfilment was haunting me. This led me back to Lucknow and co-incidentally to Project KHEL.

Dil Jahan

I was introduced to Project KHEL by a friend of mine who explained to me – “they teach life skills to underprivileged kids using sports”. I have been a sports lover all my life, and have had a casual overnight conversation with friends about how sports make an individual a leader and more self-aware as an individual. There are very few things which sound fancy and make sense at the same time. Project KHEL had that impression on me in the first time.

It started with a mail I wrote showing interest to work with them, followed by a number of conversations I had with different people of the organization. I was very clearly told that it isn’t an interview process but a conversation, and indeed it was that, because at no point I feel I am going through an interview process. As a result of these conversations, July 19th, 2017 turned out to be my first day in Project KHEL.

It was a small office compared to the concrete jungle of Gurugram I was experiencing in past two years. To be honest that led me to judge everything about them as an organization – Operations, Culture, Professionalism, Processes and every other thing which I had no idea about but my non-existential wisdom at that time allowed me to do.  Honest confession, I did ask myself “fass toh nahi gaye?”.

In the first few days I was introduced to different programs they run, some Google sheets, partner locations we work with in and around Lucknow and a lot of processes around these things.  There was so much happening that first 2 weeks passed in no time. By this time I was handling Project KHEL’s Twitter account, facilitating a minimum of 3 sessions every day, was major touch point for few important processes and more.  Though in these two weeks there wasn’t any time which took me back to the question I asked myself on the first day. However, I was still exploring and absorbing the new place I was now part of. Unsure if it was the right place for me.

In this time I also met some 15 people I work with. These included both people who work with me in a full-time capacity and some part timers as well. Here’s the first part which served reassurance to all the stupid dubiousness I had on the first day. This was the time which killed my doubt which I had around the cultural part of the organization. I have hardly seen people working with the amount of honesty; I am not even talking about full time people right now. These are part timers who give 5-8 hours in a week. The amount of ownership each one of them takes for simplest of tasks is beyond explanation. Something I have not seen in a lot of years. If anyone wants to know what I mean by passion they must attend one of the sessions facilitated by these set of people. I am not overselling but few of the beneficiaries are smarter than a lot of the mainstream school going kids and that is the result of the passion I am talking about.

In the last one month, a major part of my job has been to go around the city and play with kids. Few of these kids are extremely confident, some are very good speakers, some are great athletes and most importantly they are passionate and serious about life, which takes me back to the answer of the question which was asked to me 5 years back- ‘What is your goal in life’?  Although I am yet to figure if this will be the path to my goal.