Book review: Fairy tale gone wrong

Ye Dil, Ye Paagal Dil Meraa, Kyon Bhuja Gayaa, Aavaaragii Is Dasht Mein Ik Shahar Thaa, Vo Kyaa Huaa, Aavaaragii

When the mesmerising voice of Ghulam Ali, softly kissed sunsets after sunsets, many who heard him associated themselves with it. After reading this book, I do not have an iota of doubt that if anyone came closest to these lines, was Sunanda Pushkar.

Ironically, Ghulam Ali happened to be Ghazal-loving Pushkar’s favourite singer, as mentioned by her childhood friend and author of this book Sunanda Mehta.

Talk of Sunanda and by default mind jumps to yet another illustrious personality, Shashi Tharoor — politician, best-selling author, amazing orator, columnist and Sunanda Pushkar’s third husband.

Respecting Sunanda’s strong and never--give-up attitude, this book, The extraordinary life and death of Sunanda Pushkar, portrays her in totality with deserving mentions of all those who touched her life in some way or the other, including Tharoor.

Life has its own way of making us experience several highs and lows. But, what really matters is what you do in between these two extreme phases. Mehta through this book has given a glimpse of Sunanda during this ‘in-between’ phase, which many have interpreted in their own way, but were never sure about the reality.

The last line of the first chapter in this book reads: “Sunanda Pushkar was born, surviving all odds. Was Sunanda destined right from the very first deep breath she took, to battle out all odds in her life for her and her son Shiv’s survival?” Simple language, respecting every individual’s personal space and identity, the author has provided answers to this question and many such more.

From bountiful love to broken relationships, from wealthy pursuits to hand to mouth existence, from social and business tie-ups to personalised isolation and pain, from exchanging pleasantries to nasty twitter abuses, Sunanda always had her plate (be it happiness or sorrow) full. Every time one tried to write her off, she would emerge stronger as a person and reach greater heights.

Mehta, who has seen Sunanda Pushkar from her school days until her controversial death that took the nation by surprise, has taken efforts to take us closer to understanding what Sunanda was like.

Among several interesting instances mentioned by Mehta in this book, Sunanda’s major mishap in Mumbai partly sums up her goal in life. Years down the line, narrating her experience to her son Shiv, she said she was swinging between what seemed like life and death, she had a vision in which God asked her if she was ready to come to Him.

She had spoken about heaven looking tempting with colourful rainbows and waterfalls, but she told God that her young son did not have a father and still needed her. She would be ready to go only after he became an adult, old enough to look after himself. Moreover, uncannily enough, says Shiv, she died just as he turned 21 and was beginning to feel like an adult. 

Coincidently, Ghulam Ali also sang, ‘Nafraton ke teer khakar, doston ke shehar mein, humne kis kis ko pukaara, yeah kahani phir sahee.’ Sunanda fit perfectly in this verse too. Grab a copy of this book; you never know you may just hum another one in the memory of extraordinary Sunanda.