Sunanda and Shashi Tharoor lived their lives under the arclights and was easily the most seen and sought couple in Delhi. Embarrassingly cosy and often kissing and holding hands in public, the couple turned around the Delhi patriarchal code in which wives seldom accompany ministers.
Sunanda was always one up on her husband, matched him in elegance, power dressing, public appearances, and as we saw in the last few days, outgunning him tweet for tweet. Maybe Sunanda would have loved the way she went: in a blaze of headlines and tweets.
Around such women with extraordinary beauty, guts and charm, there is always a surrounding haze of whispers and unattributed barbs. Sunanda took all of this headlong, like she did her husband. She was at once a charming wife, the hand-holding consort and a femme fatale who hid within her the barbs of anger and a quiverful of arrows.
Trophy marriages that are conducted under the arclights should also have the glue of utter trust and we now know that this marriage clearly lacked that. Of late, they often lived apart and the so-called ‘true stories’ were already doing the rounds in Delhi when Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar cropped up as a friend of Tharoor and Sunanda went viral with rage. There is nothing more lethal than a woman scorned and a ‘betrayed’ Sunanda was a pack of dynamite.
Shashi like Sunanda was married twice earlier. Tharoor was so besotted by Sunanda that they were inseparable during the first year of marriage. To see them at his marriage reception in Delhi was to see the dream couple that only scriptwriters wrote of. People in his constituency, Thiruvananthapuram first marvelled at Tharoor’s grandeur as an English-speaking intellectual and without any doubt, voted out the last of the Stalinist communist who tried to defeat him.
Sunanda was often with Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram, his constituency, and they were often seen at Leela Kovalam set on a cliff. Their marriage too it turns out was lived on the cliff edge with drama, doubt and deception swirling around them like a frothing sea. In a way, it was a marriage which started as convenience and ended up in disaster.