When people, circumstances, society – when everything turns against you, don’t think Life’s conspiring against you too. What you see as a conspiracy is actually Life’s inscrutable design at play – to make you wake up and claim a new Life that’s waiting for you!
|Suzette Jordan: Zest for Life
Pic Courtesy: Shriya Mohan, Grist Media
Ask Suzette Jordan, 38, known world-over as the hapless “Park Street Rape Victim” from Kolkata. And she will tell you how much her world has changed ever since those horrific midnight hours of February 5, 2012. That night she was offered a lift by someone she had met at the Tantra nightclub at Park Hotel. She was then assaulted, raped and thrown out of a moving car. When, a few days later, she summoned the strength and courage to report the crime, the police jeered at her. She was provided no support by the government machinery – what with her own state’s Chief Minister, ironically a lady, claiming the entire episode was ‘cooked up’. Another lady Member of Parliament, representing West Bengal’s ruling party, said that since Jordan was divorced and a mother of two teenage daughters, the episode was probably the fallout of a ‘commercial deal going awry between a professional and her client’. Abused, ridiculed, depressed, cashless and alone (although her father, sister and extended family did throw a ring of protection and emotional support around her), Jordan could have given up. But she did not. She says she knew that while she had been physically battered and socially ostracized her zest for Life had not diminished. She wanted to live to tell the world what it means to survive a rape, face up to Life and continue to trust humankind. To be sure, it wasn’t as if the rape was the only challenge Jordan was up against. Long before the rape, her career had hit rock-bottom. She had last worked at a call center before starting one of her own. The investments she and her sister made in setting up their call center soon went up in smoke as they were cheated by one of their partners. Even as she was trying to piece together her career, the rape happened. And just when she was beginning to lose hope, help arrived in March 2013 in the form of an angel, Santasree Chaudhari, a philanthropist and entrepreneur. Chaudhari offered to support Jordan and her family financially and emotionally so that Jordan could carry on her fight for justice. In June 2013, Jordan made the momentous decision to reclaim (mark the word – she does not say ‘disclose’) her identity. Sick of being called the ‘Park Street Rape Victim’ by the media, who thrived in sensationalism than in just reportage, she stepped forward and identified herself. She says she was not willing, any longer, to be a blurred face on TV or in the newspapers. She was ready to come out and tell the world that she – daughter, sister, mother, woman – was willing to face a cold society__curious gossip-loving onlookers, lecherous men, an apathetic administration__and tell them that she may be single and a mother of two girls, but she was neither available nor was she willing to cower just because she had been violated. “I will fight and keep on fighting,” says Jordan. She told Shriya Mohan of Grist Media, when Mohan asked her what she wanted to do with her Life now, “I am already doing it”. Meaning that the rape had given her Life a purpose, a reason to live. Which is to become the face and voice of helpless rape victims the world over. And when Mohan again asked her what she loved doing the most, Jordan quipped: “Partying!”
Jordan’s story is one of rape. But each of us have our own stories. Life happens to us differently no doubt. But when things come crumbling, they often come collectively. A job loss, a health-challenge, a relationship-breakdown, a death – whatever, a few events happening at the same time plunge us into despair and depression. Fear and insecurity, often anger too, then consume us. This is when reference points such as Jordan become relevant and essential. Look at the lady’s spirit and feel inspired. Despite what has happened, she is willing to soldier on – and, above all, unabashedly concede that she loves partying!
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Is my problem graver than Jordan’s?
2. What does my experience teach me?
3. What can be my Life’s higher purpose from here on?
4. What do I love doing the most, despite whatever’s happened or is happening to
Irrespective of where you find yourself in Life just now – whatever you answer to Q # 4, just go do it! You will come alive!
Remember: in Life you will fall. You may often feel beaten. The more you bemoan your fate, the longer you will lay fallen. It is when you get up, face up to Life, that the true reason why things happened to you will become evident. And remember too that everything that happens to you is taking you in the direction of the Life that’s waiting for you!