Mumbai

A lifetime at the Taj Mahal Palace

The Chaskar family has more than 20 members working in various roles at Mumbai’s landmark hotel

In the late 1960s, Dattatray Chaskar arrived in the city, then known as Bombay, after completing his Class XI exam on the insistence of his father, Dhondiba Chaskar, who worked as a porter at the dock. His father’s sole wish was to see Dattatray work at the Taj Mahal Palace, which he passed daily on his way to work. In 1971, Dattatray applied for a job in the hotel and the next year, he joined the stewarding department. “My father was really happy, and he praised Mumba Devi,” said Dattatray.

Being the eldest son in the family, Dattatray managed to get employment for his three younger brothers at the hotel within six months, with the help of his then manager, Ignitious Lobo. In 2006, his son, Jalindar Chaskar, joined the hotel as a butler after his hospitality management course in Pune.

A family legacy

The Chaskar family is one of the several second and third generation employees who consider working for the Taj a family legacy.

With dedicated service of 42 years, Dattatray retired as headwaiter in the food and beverages department in 2014. The Chaskar family has more than 20 members working in various roles at the Taj currently. “From my childhood, I planned to work in the Taj. I used to be inspired with the stories my father used to tell me about his guests and how he used to anticipate what they want,” said Jalindar.

The hotel has over the years hosted many dignitaries from around the world, but for Dattatray his workplace is special because they treat their employees with dignity. “Ratan Tata had promised that the staff working in my establishment are my family members,” he recalled. “This is my house, which has made me what I am. I got a promotion within two years [of joining] and retired at the age of 64.”

In its 115 years of existence, the hotel has acquired many accolades but for many like the Chaskar family, it continues to remain a second home above all.

Over the last 115 years

The Taj Mahal Palace was built in 1903, 21 years before the Gateway of India.

During World War I, the hotel was converted into a military hospital with 600 beds.

The Taj Mahal Tower, an additional wing of the hotel, was opened in 1973.

The hotel was renovated within a year after the terrorist attacks on 26 November 2008.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 10:53:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/a-lifetime-at-the-taj-mahal-palace/article25746952.ece

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