The kaleidoscope that was Sunanda

Updated: Jul 28, 2019, 11:12 IST | A correspondent

In a new book, a childhood friend the varied and complicated life of Sunanda Pushkar

The kaleidoscope that was Sunanda
Pushkar's brother Ashish Dass and her son Shiv soon after she moved to Toronto. PIC COURTESY/The Extraordinary Life and Death of Sunanda Pushkar, Pan Macmillan

Protective sister
Sunanda Pushkar was extremely protective of her younger brother Ashish Dass. Once, during a school picnic to Chhat Bir Zoo, Patiala, the bus where the two were travelling in along with 70 others, rolled down a slope towards the river Ghaghar. While a tree halted the fall, Sunanda wrapped her brother's arms through the tossing and turning of the bus, and didn't let go of him, till they were rescued. While Sunanda suffered a dozen bruises, Ashish came out of the accident unscathed.

Doting mother
Two years after the passing away of her husband Sujith Menon, Sunanda moved with her son Shiv Menon to Toronto in 1999. Money was scarce in the initial years, and the mother-son often lived on jam, bread, and butter. Once, when her son complained about eating boring food, while his friends went to McDonald's, Sunanda made a mental note. After she started to earn more money, she would sometimes go to McDonald's in the middle of work to pick up lunch for Shiva and drop it off.

Pushkar Shashi
Sunanda Pushkar and Shashi Tharoor at a wedding reception in February 2010, New Delhi. Pic /Getty Images

The real estate queen
After living in Canada for five years, when Sunanda moved back to Dubai, she immediately made a name for herself in real estate. She had successful stints in Best Homes and government-owned-TECOM, where she joined as a sales manager in 2005, a position previously only reserved for Arabs. Shah Rukh Khan booked his house, a signature villa at Palm Jemeirah, through Sunanda, and also recommended her to Priyanka Chopra.

A woman spurned
Sunanda had been insecure about her marriage with Shashi Tharoor, especially after she learnt about Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar—a friend in Dubai had told her that Tharoor had checked into her hotel with his 'wife,'when Sunanda wasn't there. Few days before her death, direct messages allegedly between Tarar and Tharoor surfaced on the latter's Twitter timeline. It's likely that Sunanda had accessed Tharoor's phone.

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