Ravi Subramaniam interviewed author Sunanda Mehta about her popular book, ‘Life and Death of Sunanda Pushkar’. It was a great interaction between Sunanda Mehta and Ravi Subramanian. When one thinks of Sunanda Pushkar’s life, the first question that hits everyone’s mind is “Was it a suicide or was it not?”. The next one being, “Did he or did he not?”


Sunanda Mehta who as a friend knew Sunanda Pushkar very well said that the police investigation concluded it as a suicide but she did not believe that it was a suicide. She said,” Three theories have been discussed – accidental drug overdose, suicide, and murder” and I believe suicide is the least likely one, because she was not that kind of a woman. She loved life and she had good financial support. She had seen a lot of ups and downs. She loved her son more than anything in the world. She was a woman who was ruled by heart rather than the head.”  Accordingly to her, except for the Delhi police, the rest of the world doesn’t believe it was a suicide.


In her book, Mehta mentioned that Sunanda Pushkar had a phenomenal amount of wealth in Dubai. She had a property worth 150 crores. Mehta questions how can a person who has been accused of being bad at financial management managed to get property of 150 crores on her own without any help.


Mehta continued to explain that Sunanda Pushkar was there in the real estate business and she had seen a huge explosion in it. She used to handle bigger projects in the Dubai government. She got a lot of commissions from the land deals she arranged. She invested all again in property and the property worth 150 crores which were bought in Dubai includes 12 apartments. Most of these apartments were under a mortgage and probably in partnership with others. Her son Shiv is still struggling to clear the financial burdens since she didn’t make any will. Her accounts are frozen and he is not able to clear them out.


Sunanda Mehta being a famous journalist chose to write about Sunanda Pushkar because everyone was aware that she was married to Shashi Tharoor for three and a half years and judged her based on that which was extremely unfair. She was 45 when she married to Shashi Tharoor. She lived a long life before that during which she toiled to reach wherever she was. Mehta wanted to bring out that life of Sunanda Pushkar to the audience. She thought it was important for the people to know about Pushkar’s earlier life before judging her as a gold digger, socialite etc.


Sunanda Mehta says Sunanda Pushkar’s life has been defined by her death. The death mystery is still unresolved. The book was written after meeting and discussing the story with close family members. Sunanda Pushkar was very close to her son(Shiv) and she was a devoted mother till the end. Sunanda Mehta is still awaiting the reaction from Shiv as he is still going through a very tough time in Dubai because of the financial mess and he is still spending more time in courts to release the accounts and property.


The book doesn’t talk about how Shashi Tharoor felt about Sunanda Pushkar. He refused to talk about it since his lawyers advised him not to speak on the subject as the case is still on. When it started, her relationship with Tharoor was genuine. She was absolutely in love with Shashi Tharoor and vice versa. They were completely happy with the marriage initially. As time passed, somewhere in the middle of 2013, things started to change between them. Differences started showing up more often which started building a distance in the marriage. Sunanda continued to be in love until the end. After the separation, she completely changed from being a very cheerful woman to a suspicious woman. She became a typical insecure wife which drove her to the edge.

Sunanda Pushkar should be remembered as she was. She was an emotional woman who lived by her heart and a fabulous mother who lived for her son.



About the Author: Swapna Patil is an author of adventure travel and romance. “Why stay at one place and talk about it, when you can make your whole life more interesting by traveling and narrating those stories in words” is the motto she lives by. She is also a trek leader and flirts with words on the top of mountains and chooses poetry over prose. She currently writes for TheSeer.