Patricia Thomas married Narayan at the mere age of 17. More so, she was ousted from her family home as her parents were against this inter-religion marriage. To top it all, the love of her life who she left everything for, turned into a drug addict soon and she was left with no money and four hungry mouths to feed. However, she wasn’t the one to give up and she decided to start over. Thus, she set up a mobile cart on Marina beach and with help from two specially-abled people, she started selling snacks, coffee, tea and juice. She claims that Marina was her business school as it taught her everything there was to learn about running a business.
Over the next years, she started running canteens for offices in Chennai and soon in 1998, became the director of Nelson Manckam road restaurant. However, it wasn’t the end of grief for Patricia. In the year 2002, Narayan, passed away and after some days, her daughter and son-in-law lost their lives in a car accident too. These events seemed to have devastated Patricia but she decided to hold on to her determined spirit and move on.
Patricia and her son soon set up their first restaurant called “Sandeepha” which was named after her late daughter. Since then, she has gone on to devote all her time to building and nurturing her restaurant and making it bigger and more popular than ever.
Her struggles to make odds meet were difficult but the courage and determination she showed was definitely extraordinary. In 2010, her struggles and business sense was appreciated and she won the ‘FICCI Woman Entrepreneur of the Year’ and soon became an inspiration to all women across the country.
“I started my business with just two people. Now, there are 200 people working for me in my restaurants. My lifestyle has changed too. From travelling in a cycle rickshaw, I moved to auto rickshaws and now I have my own car. From a mere 50 paise a day, my revenue has gone up to Rs 2 lakh a day.” -Patricia Narayan