Did Sunanda Pushkar sense that she didn’t have long to live? Pushkar sought the help of Rohit Kochhar, a friend and corporate lawyer, to help her draw up a will about three months ago. At the time, she emphatically told him, “life is uncertain.”
“She asked me to do so when she was
in the pink of moods and favourably disposed towards Shashi. She spoke about life’s uncertainty in the context of her illness,” says Kochhar, who attended a wedding reception in Dubai along with the Tharoors on January 9.
Sunanda, 52, was found dead in a Delhi hotel room on January 17.
Her friends admit she was concerned about her health.
One of her closest friends, Sridevi Badiga, a Dubai-based consultant who spent New Year’s Eve in Goa with Sunanda, admits her friend had “health issues” and sometimes chose to stay indoors during their Goa holiday. However, she adds that Sunanda was not someone who would take her own life. “What hurts me the most is people floating these drug overdose and suicide stories. It’s all bunkum. She was an extremely strong, fiercely independent and inspiring woman,” says Badiga.
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Badiga was hoping to meet Sunanda and her husband Shashi Tharoor at the Jaipur Literature Festival on January 18. She had even brought from Dubai a few of Sunanda’s dry-cleaned clothes and three cartons of rice milk for her “didi.” But the reunion was not to be.
Regina Mazhar, another Dubai-based friend, who has known Sunanda for 19 years, spent time with the Tharoors at Thiruvananthapuram from January 12-14. “We had gone out for dinner and Shashi was telling Sunanda that actresses lose their charm as they grow older but she was only getting more beautiful. Shashi was trying his best to keep her happy,” Mazhar says, breaking down on the phone from Dubai.
A day before Sunanda was found dead, she had called Mazhar and shared her concerns about the state of her health. The next morning, Mazhar sent Sunanda a text saying she would pray for her during the Friday prayers. A few hours later, she realised her prayers hadn’t been answered.
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Friends say the Tharoors were a regular couple. Sunanda always behaved like a schoolgirl when Shashi Tharoor was around, says Badiga, adding that they shared a wonderful relationship, with “normal issues” between couples.
Kochhar put the Tharoors’ marriage “on a higher pedestal” than their contemporaries. “Even in the most perfect marriage, there are moments of imperfection. But those are private moments. It is unfair to insinuate what happened was due to stress and strain of marriage,” he adds.
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