Families bid tearful adieu to Sunanda

Final journey: Standing alone, son kept staring at burning pyre

Families bid tearful adieu to Sunanda

Emotions were high as Sunanda Pushkar, wife of junior HRD Minister Shashi Tharoor, was given a tearful adieu on Saturday, as both families cried on one another’s shoulder just before her mortal remains were consigned to flames.

Pushkar’s only son Shiv - from her second marriage - hugged her body one last time before it was cremated at 5:21 pm at the Lodhi Estate crematorium in south Delhi.

Her father P N Dass and Tharoor also hugged the body and broke down. Dass wept inconsolably and almost collapsed on the ground before families standing by caught hold of him. He walked over to Shiv, who too had tears rolling down his cheeks.

“Don’t cry,” he said in his ear, as he hugged and consoled the boy. Some other family members were inconsolable, struggling to come to terms with the reality just after Pushkar’s body was brought to the crematorium from the couple’s residence in Lodhi Estate around 5 pm.

Shiv also whispered in his grandfather’s ears and said: “It’s the end.” Pushkar’s body was draped in a red saree and her face was left uncovered.

The funeral pyre, made of sandalwood and showered with rose petals, was lit by Tharoor and Shiv, both wearing white kurta-pyjamas. Tharoor pleaded with mediapersons to stay away and leave the family in peace while they performed the last rites.

Once the final rites were performed, Shiv settled into a corner of the cremation ground. Standing alone, he kept staring at the burning pyre, lost in thought.

He did not interact with any of the family members all through the ceremony.

Anger mixed with grief was clearly seen in Shiv’s behaviour. When his grandfather was consoling him, Tharoor also tried to catch his hand to stop him from crying but he dismissed him and went and stood next to Pushkar’s pyre.

Till 7 pm, when Tharoor left the crematorium, Shiv maintained a distance from him and continuously stared at his mother’s pyre.

After Tharoor left, Shiv decided to stay at the crematorium with a family member until the pyre was extinguished.

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