Jyotsna Suri, managing director of Bharat Hotels Limited, epitomises perseverance. She is the perfect example of what women can rise up to, in the face of the toughest challenges. An English Literature graduate from Delhi University, with no training in hospitality, Jyotsna, was a homemaker; a mother taking care of her four children before she started managing the hotel business with her husband- Lalit Suri. She faced various challenges along the way- her husband was incapacitated for two years due to a surgery; after his recovery she took over additional responsibilities from him when he became a Rajya Sabha member and eventually after he passed away, she had to consolidate everything and prove the naysayers wrong, who claimed that the business wouldn’t run. She rebranded the hotel and is now counted amongst the top 50, of the most powerful women in the country.
Dr Suri, is not only a force to be reckoned with, in the hospitality sector but has also been a staunch supporter of her children. All four of them are involved in the business. Her unflinching love and support for her son, Keshav Suri, who is a LGBTQ activist, led her to perform with him at his first drag show.
I chanced upon her words recently and it amazed me how little we know the people we grew up around! Her daughters studied in C.J.M and the youngest one was a batchmate of mine. I remember her as a sweet, polite girl. We never moved in the same circles, so I had no idea what was going on with her! But when I read Jyotsna’s article, one got thinking about her, what her life must have been like, what ‘privileged people’ look like to the outside world but what goes on in their lives, is the same, sometimes more complicated than what goes on in yours or mine.
Much can be learned from Jyotsna Suri, not just for her own achievements; strong mothers, they show their children and the rest of us, how women can get up, multitask, build empires and fix any problem, inspite of the odds.