The news of Sunanda Pushkar’s ‘unnatural’ death ( they are not yet calling it a suicide) totally came like a bolt in the blue. Only the previous day news channels had been having a field day covering the very public washing of dirty linen by Pushkar that apparently played out on Twitter. One would expect someone bold enough to raise a stink about the escapades of a politician husband, on the eve of elections too, to also have the spirit to take the fight forward –which is why the suspected suicide came as a shock.
Suicide was not something one could easily associate with someone of Pushkar’s tough-as-nails credentials. From what one reads in the papers, she came from a very middle-class family and had a modest education, but went on to establish a formidable career in the male bastions of event management and real estate– without the benefit of any patronage, political or otherwise. She amassed considerable personal wealth and is said to have had a net-worth several times that of her husband. She was successful enough to invite much nastiness from her opponents and competitors, which she took in her stride–a thick skin is one of the first requirements for running a successful business and she had it.
Her garish dress-sense and liking for heavy make-up were probably less than classy, but the fact that she got someone like Tharoor–suave, sophisticated, well-read and handsome enough to turn heads anywhere in the world–to fall for her, did her credit. Whatever else she might or might not have have been, she couldn’t have been dumb.
I remember how she had remained unfazed in the light of controversies and general nastiness when she and Tharoor got together four-five years back, another testimony to her being no shrinking violet.
Such an irony that this strong-by -all-accounts woman should take her own life over a broken heart at the age of fifty-two. She had married twice before. It couldn’t have been her first heartbreak. Maybe her recent major health issues magnified her despair and left her more vulnerable than she would have otherwise been?
Because Tharoor and Pushkar’s marriage was less than seven years old, her death has landed him in trouble. This is bound to have repercussions on his political career–it was bad enough already that he was with the Congress whose chances in the Lok Sabha elections are pretty slim. This was something he could have done without.
Could Tharoor have had an inkling when he first met Pushkar that their romance was doomed? Could Pushkar have had a sense that five years down the line, she would think it fit to kill herself over this otherwise wonderful man? Or for that matter, could the Pakistani scribe at the heart of their quarrel have even imagined that her ‘platonic’ relationship’ with Tharoor would lead to a death? Perhaps not.
Perhaps this is just how destiny works. Or as Pushkar apparently said in her last tweet, jo hona hota hai woh ho kar rehta hai (what has to happen will surely happen). Perhaps this was just what they call karma. Whatever it was, it sure has left many unanswered questions in its wake.