The Humble Palace







Post lunch, Riyasha took out a book to read, when a tattered photograph of a teenager popped out.

Three decades has elapsed, but she could still sniff her old self amidst her refurbished self.

Her husband walked out on her, within a month they stepped into a new city.

Since that day, this tiny 200 sq. feet enclosure has been her everything. This minuscule space has witnessed every trivial change she has undergone to reach the pedestal wherein she can savor life with gratitude and peace.

Though her arduous journey was freckled with interminable hardships, challenges she was absolutely resolute about not returning back to her rural hometown.

“Hang on, don’t turn around, we’re all lost and found” muttered her inner-self. That was her epiphany, which triggered her to do something and make a mark.

She still remembers, how she started out as a mere dabbawalla (home delivery person) delivering her delectable meals to her customers. The initial months, she’d struggled to make ends meet but her unflinching stamina supported her to wade through the troubled waters. All she had was a bag full of determination, valor, fortitude and above all the intrepidity to turn a deaf ear to all those scornful remarks that identified her as a worthless woman unable to ‘manage’ her husband.

Her 200 sq. feet enclosure was her confidante, it was there she learned to dream rather dared to dream despite hailing from a small rural town where people were content with a day’s square meal. Every night it was this 200 square feet enclosure that embraced her in its warm embrace when the world shoved her into oblivion. It was this 200 square feet enclosure that mollified her when she felt paltry and valueless. Every morning it was this 200 square feet enclosure that instilled hope in her to pursue her dreams hinting that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Today as the winner of “International Culinary Forum Chef Awards” Riyasha is a celebrated name. Though the past few years had been uber frenetic with her international travels and humongous workload, still she is at solace with herself. Today she totally owes her success to her mere 200 square feet enclosure which instilled courage in her to dream despite witnessing her vulnerable version.

Though Riyasha’s current sprawling bungalow with mullioned square windows, azure vitrified glasses, thick well-built walls, vintage interiors are just too perfect still every weekend she religiously visits her 200 square feet enclosure which she affectionately renamed as “The Humble Palace”. Even today, amidst her busy schedule whenever her spiraling past tries to devour her present, she makes it a point to visit her ‘palace’ which is undoubtedly her innate place of comfort and relief.

After all, “The Humble Palace” has witnessed it all…..  from a naïve girl to a renowned, confident and a sassy chef who now inspires many. In her recent interview she was quoted saying “Dreams grow best in small houses, as there are fewer walls to impede its growth thereby accelerating the pace of growth”. 



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