Monday, January 27, 2014

Shiv Menon - what happens to him?

This appeared in The Week
 As expected, the story is as good as dead in the media.... how swiftly we move on...
                            Sunanda’s sad saga….
As I write this, my thoughts are focused on Shiv Menon – orphaned at the tender age of twenty-one. Shiv is Sunanda Pushkar’s son from one of her earlier marriages. His father died in a car accident years ago. And last week, Shiv lost his mother, Sunanda, who was found dead in her lavish suite at the opulent Lee la Palace Hotel in Delhi. Her death was described by the Delhi police as “sudden and unnatural’’. Television coverage of his mother’s funeral, showed a tiny young person bravely fighting back tears as he dutifully performed the prescribed last rites, along with Sunanda’s  husband. I am sure a lot of hearts went out to the frail lad while he struggled to retain his composure as flashbulbs popped incessantly, capturing every grimace and tear. Sure, he is not the first young man to be orphaned. But given the harsh glare of publicity that surrounded his 52-year-old mother’s tragic death, it was inevitable that Shiv’s every reaction and move would be relentlessly tracked, even before the poor fellow had had the chance to absorb the enormity of the tragedy.
What happens to Shiv next? I am looking at it in purely practical terms. Where will he live from now on? How? With whom? What’s ‘home’ for him? Did he ever really have one he belonged to ? How will society treat him? Is moving in with his grand- father – Sunanda’s dad –  the only answer?  Or will  his step-father assume charge? Take responsibility? What about his two step-brothers? And the extended political family / community in Delhi? The same people who once fawned over his glamourous mother and kootchi-kooed him – will they have time for him now that Sunanda is no more? Does he have friends – good friends – who can see him through these difficult times? What happens to his plans of making it in Bollywood?  Will film makers still open doors for him without his well-connected mother to steer his career and utilize her countless contacts? That’s the downside. Let’s look at the upside. This may prove to be Shiv’s biggest test to grow up.  And grow up fast. Sunanda was known to be a loving mother who doted on her only child. Through all her tumultuous times, Shiv had been her one constant. The steadying, sobering factor. Watching his spirited mother’s descent into physical and emotional hell must have taken a gigantic toll on the boy. It is never easy on a child whose single parent happens to be a high profile celebrity, living in a glass house, with enough detractors ready to throw stones at her.  As it had happened to Sunanda during her final, agonizing days. I keep wondering what Shiv must have gone through as Sunanda engaged in ugly spats  with the ‘other woman’ who was hitting back viciously, often aiming way below the belt.
 I feel for Shiv. His mother was a fragile and vulnerable woman behind the tough, brazen façade. He had seen her swing from euphoria to depression, panic to exultation. God knows what sort of storms he had witnessed as her latest marriage was falling apart. And God knows how he will find the strength to battle all those demons that may haunt him for the rest of his life. I can’t help thinking of Prateik, Smita Patil’s young son, who lost his mother just after she gave birth to him. Raised by Smita’s aged parents, Prateik’s growing up years were defined by confusion and rebellion. Today, he may be a recognized name in Bollywood. But Prateik is also fighting several ghosts as he struggles to make something of his life in a highly competitive industry. Both these boys represent the complex emotional dilemmas young people have to confront in these troubling times. If Shiv can successfully negotiate the next phase of his life without cracking up, he’ll emerge that much stronger. At this point, nobody knows the exact status of  Sunanda’s legacy –  did she leave behind a valid will? Will her son be financially secure? Does he have any contact with his late father’s family? Cousins and other relatives he can count on ? Where are his dependable support systems when he needs them the most?

Sunanda’s dramatic life and sudden death attracted a huge amount of negative attention… and there was Shiv, a lost child at the centre of this terrible vortex, desperately trying to make some sense of the ghastly turn of events. His mother was incredibly proud of him…she had big dreams for her boy. She had even bigger dreams for herself. Shiv will be flying solo from now on. Even the people who may be consoling him currently,will eventually move on… as it inevitably happens. He needs all the courage in the world to cope on his own as he navigates life’s shark infested waters. The loss of  the most important person in his tender life is impossible to fill. But I hope he knows there are people out there who genuinely care.


Manju Modiyani said...

A heart-wrenching tale. Wish it were not real..

May Shiv find strength and navigate his life successfully in a right direction. May God watch over him.

Unknown said...

He is 21 and he can take care of himself. Shashi Tharoor will surely help him.

Pooja Rathore said...

Touching post!

V said...

Tough times used to make people tough enough to sail through high tides. Though such loses at young age for sure gonna have deep impact for whole life!

GODSPEED said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GODSPEED said...

What doesn't Kill you...
Will definitely make you stronger.

Don't worry he'll be fine... I am sure Sunanda's brother will look after Shiv

This article speaks a lot about the concern you have for the boy (even when I came to know that Sunanda had left behind a son from previous marriage, I instantly felt - what will happen to 'the Boy who Lived'.. but I conveniently assumed that he must be having a well to do father to look after)

The best you can do for Shiv is pray... pray that He will bless the boy with 'sad-buddhi' - that is most important thing he will ever need...

Latha said...

Excellent post. I've been thinking about Shiv for quite some time.As if you have read my mind, you have written everything that I wanted to say. A compassionate post. I really appreciate it. The legacy that she has left behind ! Yes, he deserves all of it. Only a grandfather can help. Hope he gets everything that Sunanda has left for him without any "problem". May God bless him. Amen.

LadliBegum said...

Oh heart wrenching. The poor orphan will be in a bollywood movie soon buy a pad of his own - or use one of the many that his mother owns- and live. I am sorry that his mother dies, I am sorrier the way she lived. Leaving him with whomever when she went to canada to make a fortune. Living in the spotlight with Tharoor. Oh please everybody wants to live and die like Di!

Desi Babu said...

Don't worry, he is old enough to take care of himself!

Now, do me a favor. Please call a lady who lives in Janpath, New Delhi, and tell her what I told you above.


Curb me said...

This post isn't really about Shiv, is it? It is about the journey that every 21 year old has to take, the journey from teen to adult. 21 for me was - arranged marriage, motherhood and a father, who passed away from a heart attack. 21 is not pretty.

Unknown said...

A woman above 50 is referred as old woman when reporting news.

An old woman aged 60 goes the report.

Nowadays women maintain themselves well and even if they dont maintain they dont like to be called old. Indians are so ageist minded especially when it comes to women.
Women in their 60s have good sex lives with their partners, yet they are called old.

Write something about this.

For actresses, it is the worst thing. They are called over the hill, get offers to do mother roles for heroes who are elder to them. The middleaged Khans still romance young actresses but their once upon a time heroines dont get a chance. Only aamir considered Rani for Talaash. Talented actresses like madhuri, Vidya, rani, Juhi , manisha, tabu are made to fade away. It is so unfair.

maya said...

This was really touching..Shobhaa ji sounded like a mother throughout.Yes,there is indeed a concern on Shiv,Son of late Sunanda Pushkar,but it's up to him to be able to evolve himself when age goes on..we are audience and the lot is with him as he is in his crucial age..prays

W.A.G. said...

Why is sunanda admired so ? I also am baffled by women themselves- first for expecting that this time around the man of their dreams would be faithful and also for not being united and have some feeling for the spouse and keep their hands off the husbands.( many bollywood celebs fall in this class)

gati Patel said...

Reality always heart wrenching. But user knows where the shoe bites.This range of psycho-analysis a teen-passerby can't realise.only an empty space will seem plunging to crumble him.

This comment has been removed by the author.
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