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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Sunanda no more: A life made public through Twitter

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 18, 2014
First Published: 00:11 IST(18/1/2014) | Last Updated: 16:09 IST(18/1/2014)

Right up till Friday evening, people were laughing over the Twitter war between Union minister Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar and Pakistan journalist Mehr Tarar. The former accused the latter of “stalking” her husband. But the jokes died with the news of the death of Pushkar in a Delhi hotel room.

Who was Sunanda?
Sunanda, the wife of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, belonged to a Kashmiri family and her father is a retired army lieutenant colonel. After her first divorce with a Kashmiri man who worked at a Delhi hotel, she moved to Dubai and married a businessman who was from Kerala. Her second husband died in a road accident in Delhi in 1997. It’s has been reported that she used to run a spa and fitness chain in Dubai.

In 2010, Pushkar tied the knot with Shashi Tharoor at a ceremony in Kerala. This was Pushkar’s third marriage, and Tharoor’s too. The minister was earlier married to an academician — they had two sons, Ishaan and Kanishk — and then to Christa Giles, a Canadian woman who worked at the United Nations.

How Twitter was abuzz with alleged affair and IPL controversy
It was in 2010, that then-chairperson of IPL, Lalit Modi, tweeted the shareholder details of Kochi IPL team’s franchise. He also wrote that he was asked by an influential Union minister to not get into the details of Sunanda Pushkar, who had an equity of 4.5% (approximately Rs. 70 crore) in the venture. Later, Tharoor denied having pressured Modi or having made gains from the Kochi deal and Pushkar gave up her stake in the team. However, as the entire episode snowballed, Tharoor had to quit his ministry post he held then.

Mrs Tharoor, a lively person
Soon, Mrs Tharoor became a darling of the social circuit and was often spotted at high-profile events and parties. She was lively. However, by her own admission, her warmth was looked down upon by the high-brow gentry. “I like to mix up with people and talk to them. If I feel something, I just say it. Some people tell me that I should not be so approachable and warm. But I see no point in not speaking my mind or acting cold toward people. I really don’t care about what they think,” she told Hindustan Times on one occasion.

The Tharoors were often spotted together at events, parties and wedding, including fashion shows.  While Suhel Seth remembers her as the “most fun-loving and lively person” and Ramneek Pantal calls her the “life of every party”, Fashion Design Council of India president Sunil Sethi remembers her as a “friend of the fashion fraternity and we were all recipients of her warmth and friendliness. She had no airs”.

 “I remember her as a person who served me the best Kashmiri food, as the liveliest, lovely and life-loving person,” Seth said.

The Cracks
The cracks started appearing in the ‘perfect’ marriage within three years of tying the knot. As early as May, 2013, several media outfits published reports alleging the two were set to split. However, Pushkar rubbished such reports and said there was no trouble in paradise. Nonetheless, people saw it as an attempt to avert further controversy before the elections. In October, 2013, she told HT that she was planning to join her husband in Kerala for campaigning. “Many women say why do you get your hand dirty? They think a woman can’t help her husband in campaign. But I like helping my husband. And I am not the kind who would shy away from such things,” she had said.

Twitter spills the beans again
When a few tweets from Tharoor’s Twitter account hinting at a possible affair between Tarar and him were posted on his timeline, the social media sphere went in a tizzy. Though Tharoor said the accounts were hacked, Pushkar in an interview confessed that she had sent those tweets to show to the world that Tarar was “stalking” her husband and the husband also was enjoying all the attention. After much drama, the Tharoors issued a joint statement saying they were “much distressed” by it all. At 4.15am on Friday, Pushkar sent a text to HT saying she would talk about the whole issue in detail.

 Celeb tweets of shock:


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