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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Uncertainties, losses took an emotional toll on Sunanda Pushkar, say psychologists

Debasmita Ghosh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 18, 2014
First Published: 19:51 IST(18/1/2014) | Last Updated: 08:52 IST(19/1/2014)

Burden of uncertainties and losses coupled with the pressure to maintain a proper public image might have affected Sunanda Pushkar, psychologists say.

After analysing Pushkar’s Twitter account and her recent behaviour, experts say her self-esteem was hurt and she was under immense pressure.

Pushkar, wife of Union minister Shashi Tharoor, was found dead in a seven-star hotel in Delhi late on Friday — after two successive days of spat on Twitter with a Pakistani journalist, Mehr Tarar, over an alleged affair with the minister.

While doctors are yet to shed light on the actual reason behind the death, psychologists and social media analysts feel the multiple failures she had been through were disturbing her.

Read: Hours before death, Sunanda 'confided' in senior journalist

Pushkar’s house in Kashmir was burnt by militants when she was barely 27. Her previous two marriages to Sanjay Raina and Sujith Menon were not successful. She had gone through a lot of financial ups and downs.

However, she was known to be a cheerful and resilient person, very popular in the social circles and a toast of all high-profile parties.

Psychoanalyst Pulkit Sharma feels she was possibly a person with extreme emotional conflicts and her brave face was perhaps an attempt to hide all that troubled her.

Read: The brave side of Sunanda Pushkar

“She had a huge burden of uncertainties and losses. And usually, that leads to sadness and gradually, anger and rage. All this makes a person emotionally unstable and impulsive. This person cannot take anything wrong in life.

“Possibly that’s why she sometimes behaved in an irrational manner, evident from her recent tweets. Else why would one want to bring into public eye such very personal matters?” Sharma says.

Read: Tragedy likely to cast shadow on Tharoor’s LS poll prospects

According to him, there was a constant conflict between Pushkar’s rational and impulsive mind.

Soon after the Twitter war, Pushkar first admitted to posting the tweets targeting Mehr and Tharoor (using the minister’s Twitter handle). She accused her husband of being unfaithful, but later issued a joint statement saying all was well in their marriage.

Sociologist Mala Kapur feels the burden of maintaining a clean public image often adds to the woes of people who are going through a bad phase.

Read: Sunanda ‘planned to do something’ about Tarar: friend

“When they are in the limelight, there is pressure to maintain a certain kind of decorum. So, they are generally not able to take anything that hampers their image. Sunanda was always very conscious of her image.

“I am not sure to what extent it is true that Shashi was having an affair, but probably she might have felt her husband was not attracted to her anymore,” says Kapur.

Read: Will go smiling: Pushkar tweeted | Who's Mehr Tarar

An analysis of Pushkar’s Twitter timeline, loaded with depressive quotes — and even a song like Richard Marks’s ‘Wherever you go whatever you do, I will be right here waiting for you’ (On January 5) — also make experts believe her self-esteem was hit.

“Yes, it appears that her self-esteem had reached rock bottom, and all this could have led to immense hopelessness. She was also possibly not able to hold on to the person she considered closest – her husband.

“Yet she had the social pressure to put up a brave front. It’s not surprising for such a person to give up in life,” says social media analyst and psychologist Dr Niranjan Reddy.

(With inputs from Subhi Parvez)

Read: Sunanda Tharoor cremated at Lodhi Road Crematorium in Delhi

Also read: Sunanda's dad wasn't told about her death

Also read: Sunanda's village in J&K mourns her death

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