Day 20: Of Star-crossed Lovers and Unnatural Deaths

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.

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7 Responses to Day 20: Of Star-crossed Lovers and Unnatural Deaths

  1. It’s too early to say anything now.
    I don’t suspect any foul play.
    It could be suicide but in my opinion highly unlikely.
    Most suicides leave a note. None was discovered here to the best of my knowledge.

    I agree with your assessment of her nature. She was a fighter and not a “give up” kind of person.
    Besides she had a son to think of. She would not take her own life even if there were problems with her relationship with Tharoor. . She could easily find some one else if she wanted to If it came to separation or divorce from Tharoor, She was not going to be in any financial trouble.

    I think her death is most probably due to the effects of the drugs she was supposed to be taking for her various ailments. May be she overdid taking those drugs or may be some combination of drugs was harmful and at her age in her present health condition, her body could not take it. The autopsy will tell us and we need to wait. But it is also likely the report will not be leaked at all, considering Shashi Tharoor’s political standing.

    As regards Shashi Tharoor’s future , they say there is a tide in the affairs of men.
    High tides are over for Shashi. It is low tide time now.
    May be it will be high tide time once again in future? May be not.
    Only time will tell.

    I loved his writings. Have you read his “The Great Indian Novel?”
    If not, do read it. I found it “unputdownable”

    • The autopsy pointed to an overdose of an antidepressant, and an empty strip of the same was found by her bedside. The police say they cannot be sure if it was an accidental or intentional overdose, but I wonder if it is possible for anyone to overdose on a medication accidentally, particularly if the pills were in a strip.

      I haven’t read The Great Indian Novel, but have read Bookless in Baghdad and liked it. Will surely look out for The Great Indian Novel.

  2. Fem says:

    I don’t think we can assess a person’s mental state so easily from their public persona. She probably had a lot more going on inside her mind that we have no clue about. Committing suicide is often the very last resort left to a person, and you would only do it if your mental state is that bad. Obsessing over a man enough to commit suicide over him or pick up public fights with his female friends are signs of mental issues.

  3. Ashwathy says:

    She was found of drug overdose right? That’s what the post mortem says…….

    • Yeah, that’s what the post-mortem report said, but the police say the overdose could have been accidental..

      • She was said to have a number of ailments.
        She must have been taking several drugs.
        Some of these drugs may have had common ingredients, which when taken together might have resulted in an overdose.

        I don’t think she committed suicide or even intended to.
        She must have left a note if she really did commit suicide.
        Of course it can be argued that not finding a suicide note does not eliminate the possibility of suicide. But Sunanda, when alive went public with tweets. It would be so unlike her not to leave a suicide note if she had really committed suicide.

        People have lived with far worse problems than Sunanda and not committed suicide.
        Besides, very very few actually carry out a suicide threat.
        Lots of people think of it, plan it or threaten their near and dear with suicide to have their way, or in moments of depression but nearly all, hesitate when it comes to taking the actual step.

        I am no expert on this subject, but this is just my gut feeling.
        May her soul rest in peace and may Shashi Tharoor and Sundanda’s family get over this loss.

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