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:
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