- by Janie Lee
After a local forest officer told Bhashkar about the opportunities at the PACE Hospitality Training Centre in Aurangabad, he decided to make the 1200 kilometer journey in March of 2012 and enroll in the housekeeping course. His parents gave him permission to go, hoping that he would have the opportunity to break out of the family tradition of being farmers. Upon arrival to the campus, Bhashkar was intimidated and uncertain about fitting in. Many people were speaking in Hindi or English, and he was not well versed in either language. He spoke Gondi at home and Marathi otherwise. For ten days, Bhashkar did not speak to anybody at the center and was extremely lonely. He decided to return home after the first ten days, but a fellow classmate told him to complete the course, as it was three months long. Listening to the advice of his classmate, Bhashkar completed the housekeeping course. Despite having difficulty in the beginning, he adjusted quickly and excelled in his course.
When Bhashkar returned home to visit his family after his hospitality course had concluded, his family noticed a complete transformation. His parents believed he came back a drastically different person. Prior to leaving home, Bhashkar was very quiet and subdued due to a lack of self-assurance. Now, he talks more confidently and frequently, in addition to being more groomed and put together.
Bhashkar was placed at the Ramah International Hotel in Aurangabad as a room attendant, where he earned 6500 rupees a month. He remained at the Rama Hotel for three months before deciding to come back to the PACE Center to work as a housekeeper. He sent his first two months of salary back home to support his family and even bought his younger sister four new clothes. At the PACE Center, Bhashkar has made a new set of friends and considers some of them to be like family to him. During his free time, he plays cricket with the currently enrolled students and watches movies.