- by Malav Shah
Nikhil Kumar Tirupathi Uppula is a 20 year old boy from a small village in the southern part of Maharashtra in the district of Gadchiroli. Nikhil lost his father just 6 months after his birth. He now lives with his mother and grandmother. His mother, being the sole bread winner in the family, works as a labourer in a construction company near her village earning Rs. 2000 a month for the family. Nikhil was always very enthusiastic about his studies but he failed his 10th examinations due to the burden of family responsibilities. Thus, he took a year off to work at a Border Road Organization(BRO). Post this, he went back to study and passed his 10th examination with flying colours. Though he wanted to study further, he knew that his mother could no longer support him. He simultaneously worked as a carpenter to finance his education.
His life turned upside down when he suddenly fell seriously ill. The doctors said that Nikhil had a respiratory illness and could no longer work in any job where there would be dust or any sort of fumes. They rendered him unfit to work in any kind of labour intensive job. This is when he met an old friend who told him about the PACE hospitality program. Excited, Nikhil took his friend home to explain to his mother what exactly the Course entailed and how because of the collaboration with the government it was free of charge. Reluctantly his mother gave him her permission to go.
When he first arrived at the centre in Satara, Nikhil was home sick and lonely. He was the only one from his village and could only converse in Telagu. 3 months have passed since he joined the PACE Hospitality Program. Today, Nikhil is a changed man who works very hard. His teachers at the training centre are very impressed by his hard work and calibre. Nikhil is very happy with a lot of friends and support. His dream is to work abroad as a manager, in Australia or the US. Nikhil's Course is about to end and he is desperate to go back home to show his mother how much he has changed. He hopes his mother will be very proud of his transformation. He now realizes how his illness could be considered a blessing in disguise, since his aspirations always involved being well groomed in a sharp uniform while eating great food at a city.