Tag Archive for 'Sunanda Pushkar'

Children by their side, Shashi Tharoor and Sunanda Pushkar tie knot

In The Indian Express:

Elavanchery (Kerala): Former Union minister Shashi Tharoor, 54, and his Kashmiri friend Sunanda Pushkar, 48, tied the knot on Sunday morning in the presence of their children and close relatives at his ancestral home here, 408 km from state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

The simple and elegant ceremony, attended by around 100 guests and lasting barely an hour, was rich in rituals of upper class Hindu Nairs, the Kerala community to which Tharoor belongs.

The wedding, held at the 200-year-old Mundarath Home where Tharoor’s grandmother Jayasinkini Amma lives now, was by and large a private function, except for the presence of Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar and former Indian diplomat T P Sreenivasan. No Congress leader from Palakkad district turned up. Jacob Joseph, the controversial OSD to Tharoor during his stint as the Minister of State for External Affairs, was also absent. More:

The parable of the vamp

What does tarnishing Sunanda Pushkar say about our attitudes to women, asks Shoma Chaudhury in Telehka:

There are so many versions of your life floating in the media, would you like to put the facts on record first.

I don’t really want to. My son and parents have already suffered enough on this. How many times I got married, who I dated — what does any of that have to do with the IPL?

That’s true, but unfortunately the absence of facts has allowed everyone to maul your image. There’ve been reports that you divorced your first husband Sanjay Raina because you fell in love with his friend Sujit Menon. Also that Sujit committed suicide because he was in financial trouble. Even if all this were true, it still wouldn’t make you a bad person, but the key thing is to establish how much is truth, how much fiction.

(Sighs) You are right. It’s probably important to set the record straight. My first marriage was a very dark period in my life. Everyone’s saying Sanjay Raina divorced me, but that’s not true, I divorced him. It was a very painful relationship but I don’t want to go into that. It’s over; he’s moved on, I’ve moved on. I was 19 when I met him and very innocent. My dad was in the army and I had a very protected childhood. I was always sorry for the underdog. My family and friends used to teasingly call me Mother Teresa. I was helping flood victims in Ambala in grade six. When I was in Jesus and Mary Convent, I used to work with abandoned and physically challenged children at an ashram. There was a blind and spastic kid there who was particularly attached to me. No one wanted him because he wasn’t very nice looking, but I used to bathe and feed him. Curiously, many people spoke badly of Sanjay, saying he was strange. Maybe in the beginning that is what drew me more to him.

But the marriage was a big mistake. I was totally unprepared for the worst. ‘The media said, why should the Kochi team pick me? As a woman am I not good enough?’ Soon after we got engaged I told my father I wanted to break it off. I had realised Sanjay and I were very mismatched but my father wouldn’t listen. For Kashmiri Pandits, if you got engaged, you had to marry; we’d never had a broken marriage in the family. Mine fell apart within days. I had a really tough time getting a divorce in Delhi. It was a very lonely time. My parents didn’t want me to divorce even though they knew what was going on. Looking back, I understand them now, but I felt very abandoned then.

The truth is Sujit rescued me. He gave me the strength, as a friend, to quit a very painful marriage. But he was dating another woman; I was just a friend. I got my divorce in 1988 and went off to Dubai in 1989. I married Sujit in 1991; my son Shivy was born in November 1992. If I had left Sanjay over Sujit, why would I have waited that long to marry him? More:

Got a girl, named Sue

Vrinda Gopinath on Sunanda Pushkar, friend of Shashi Tharoor, in Outlook:

Now, why does Sunanda Pushkar sound preposterous when she says it’s insulting to present her as just a proxy for good friend Shashi Tharoor, minister of state for external affairs, in the multi-million dollar IPL franchise sale? Because it’s a bit ambitious on her part to claim she’s a businesswoman in her own right when her present job profile says she is a mere sales manager at tecom Investments, a commercial real estate company in Dubai. But you’ve got to hand it to Pushkar, for her spunk and drive that took her from a gawkish girl from small-town Jammu two decades ago, to becoming swell Sue in Dubai and Toronto, to contriving her new image as swanky Sunanda, the brassy, bold entrepreneur of the eye-popping Emirates.

The belle from Bomai, a small apple-growing hamlet in Sopore, Kashmir, was convinced she was not cut out for the idyllic life of mofussil India, as she excitedly told her pals when she landed in Dubai in the early ’90s, and like the many hick-chicks before her, she took the marriage route to escape a dreary future. The teenaged Sunanda met and married fellow Kashmiri Pandit Sanjay Raina, a hotel management graduate, while she was still studying in the Government College for Women, Srinagar, between 1986 and 1988.

But it wasn’t Raina who took her to Dubai; it was his best friend, Sujith Menon, whom she married within two years of her failed first marriage. The couple landed in Dubai in the early ’90s—Menon settled in a job with the insurance company, Eagle Star, while Sunanda worked as an accounts exec with the marketing and ad agency, Bozell Prime. Their lives would have soon settled into a mundane routine if it were not for Sunanda’s hyper hunger to rise above the plain folks. She begged her friends for invitations to glam events and then cashed in on the ’90s marketing trends of organising small-time fashion shows. More:

Also in Outlook: Shashi Tharoor and his seven sins

Something rotten in the state of IPL

[Updated April 14]

The IPL-Kochi team controversy gets murkier with every passing hour.

Now questions about conflict of interest aren’t limited to minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor alone. Questions are being raised about cross-holdings in various IPL teams, particularly the Rajasthan Royals where IPL boss Lalit Modi’s brother-in-law, Suresh Chellaram owns a majority stake.  Read that story here.

Crickets circles are also buzzing with the identity of the Ahmedabad-based industrial group that Modi is supposed to be batting for. The group is said to be very close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Why is Lalit Modi so keen for this group to get ownership of Kochi? What is his interest here

Meanwhile, other IPL team owners have come under government scrutiny for alleged money laundering. Some owners are involved in tax disputes running into hundreds of crores, while other franchises have routed money through tax havens. The identity of IPL owners has been blurred in several instances through a web of transactions spread over continents.

Clearly a more complete probe is called for in the interests of transparency.

The juicy bit of the story continues to be Sunanda Pushkar. How does this comely Kashmiri friend of Tharoor pick up a stake in the Kochi IPL team at an estimated value of Rs 70 crore? 

In The Telegraph, Samyabrata Ray Goswami on the controversy.

Shashi Tharoor’s friend Sunanda Pushkar was given free equity by IPL Kochi and the junior foreign minister advised against prying into the consortium’s ownership, Lalit Modi has disclosed on Twitter.

The claim by the IPL commissioner has sucked the junior foreign minister into the biggest controversy in his short but tumultuous political career. more

More on Sunanda Pushkar here, here and here.

And Shashi Tharoor responds by hitting back at Lalit Modi, saying he had made attempts to pressure the winning consortium to abandon its bid for the Kerala team. Read that story here.