People who knew Priyanka Kapoor Chawla, a 25-year-old aspiring model who allegedly committed suicide, find it hard to believe that a woman who “knew half of Delhi” would take such a step.
Priyanka’s acquaintances say she appeared happy, though they feel her marriage changed things.
“Priyanka was a bubbly, cheerful girl. She was a very friendly person who knew half of Delhi because it was also the nature of her job. But after her marriage, or, in fact, when she started dating Nitin (Chawla, her husband), she became a different person. She became a recluse, stayed at home, wouldn’t meet people. She stopped coming on Facebook and even changed her number,” says Tehrima Zaki, who worked with Priyanka while organising various events.
Ramneek Pantal, who runs a wedding-planning company, says: “I knew her socially. We ran into each other at so many parties. On social media we commented on each other’s posts. I even congratulated her on her wedding. She came across as such a happy person. And when I got to know about the unfortunate incident, I was shocked.”
“You know, one could never tell that such a happy-looking person was unhappy to the extent of taking her own life,” says Pantal.
When asked if she met Priyanka after the latter got married, Pantal says: “Actually no. I remember because I would have congratulated her in person but it was only on social media that I congratulated her.”
A few hours after Holi celebrations ended, Priyanka was found dead in her south Delhi apartment, hanging from the ceiling fan of her bedroom. Nitin, 40, who has been arrested in the case, virtually held his wife prisoner in their home, police said.
Apparently, Priyanka’s social nature didn’t go down well with her husband.
“She was the life of parties and had a lot of male friends. And that made the husband uncomfortable, which actually is strange because he knew about all this before they started dating! Once they started dating, he called me up and said that he didn’t want his girlfriend to work. I was surprised,” says Zaki.
According to Zaki, Priyanka went to Cambridge School in Srinivaspuri and did her Bachelors in Arts from Delhi University’s Open School of Learning.
Priyanka had reportedly shifted to Delhi from Chandigarh. She lived with her parents and her younger sister in Lajpat Nagar before tying the knot.
Priyanka was even thinking of relocating to Chandigarh, confirms a friend on condition of anonymity.
“She had confessed to our common friend that there were problems in the marriage and she was thinking of shifting to Chandigarh, that’s originally where her family was from. She was thinking of starting a Pranic healing and Reiki centre.
“Priyanka liked an affluent lifestyle, she loved partying and going on holidays. She demanded a lot of expensive gifts too. He tried to keep her happy. But he also wanted her to stay at home, stop partying and drop some male friends. That made her claustrophobic. She had wanted to become a model but hadn’t done anything major in terms of modeling, and Nitin had clearly told her to drop that dream too,” the friend says.
At the same time, a close friend of Nitin who owns a pub, says: “Nitin is a nice guy. He was crazily in love with her. Recently, he had gifted her a car and they had just come back from a road trip to Ajmer. I am shocked to know that he is being blamed for the entire thing. I was aware that she liked an affluent lifestyle and he tried hard to please her, but guess she wanted more.”
Nitin has two kids --- a daughter and a son --- from his first wife. He did his schooling from New Era Public School, Mayapuri.
Nitin’s brother, Jatin, is also surprised that his sister-in-law would take such a step.
“I am suffering from depression for some years. I am not usually too involved in anyone’s life. And to us they were a happy couple and we didn’t interfere in their lives. I was in the hospital until very recently, so I don’t know if something major happened. Otherwise, we knew them as a happy couple.
“I stay with my parents in Meera Bagh. He stayed in Defence Colony after his marriage. And Nitin had divorced his (first) wife on an amicable note. Although, I do remember that Nitin’s son from his first wife had come to stay with him for some time, and Priyanka’s mom had called up my mother to say that Priyanka wasn’t happy about it. As for this incident (suicide)...usney pehle bhi aisa kuch kiya tha. Drug overdose ke liye woh hospitalised hui thi and Nitin ne Rs 70,000 ka bill bhara tha. Right now, we are trying to come to terms with the whole thing,” Jatin says.