Condolences and tributes have been flooding in on Viveka Babajee’s Facebook page since the world learnt Friday night that the former Miss Mauritius had committed suicide.
Babajee, who had also choreographed fashion shows in Dubai and Muscat, became an overnight celebrity in India when she shocked and titillated the nation by frolicking under a waterfall with fellow model Inder Sudan in an advertisement for condom manufacturer Kama Sutra.
“LOVE YOU FOREVER!!!! I’m Broken!!!!,” model and actor Upen Patel said on Babajee’s Facebook page. Indian fashion show director Rasna Behl, who mentored her during the breakthrough Kama Sutra commercial and introduced her to Mumbai’s fashion community, wrote, “Why… why did you need to explore the next world so early in life. There is so much love and happiness here you could have enjoyed. Come back and answer all of us!”
Sakala Appachu Debrass, a Doha-based model who walked India’s fashion runways alongside Babajee wrote: “You cannot read this, but may you find peace where you are.”
Early reports have speculated that the 37-year-old model went into a depressive spiral after breaking up with her boyfriend. Her body was founded hanging from a ceiling fan at the Western Mumbai apartment she lived alone in.
Worried neighbours reportedly rang the police when Babajee did not answer her doorbell on Friday despite a smell of gas emanating from her apartment. The police are reported to have found at least one suicide note, the contents of which have not yet been made public. The note reportedly names a certain Gautam, who, it is speculated, dated Babajee for a few weeks.
Friends say she had been online and on Facebook for large portions of Friday, posting videos and talking about surfing holidays.
Babajee was a Miss Universe contestant in 1994, the year Sushmita Sen, the Bollywood actress, won the title.
After several years modelling in Mumbai and Delhi – with short stints in Dubai – she carved out a niche for herself as a fashion choreographer. She also tried her hand at acting, starring in 2002’s Yeh Kaisi Mohabbat.
In her personal life, Babajee had been engaged to Bollywood director Rohit Jugraj, but the relationship ended over a year ago.
In recent years, Babajee had found new energy running events. Her company, Vibgyor Entertainment, an event management company.
The Twitterverse is also buzzing with the news. Film designer Anna Singh, who had spoken with Babajee days ago about doing a show together, tweeted: “I suggest we send viveka love and peace without judgement as her end must have had a enormous emotional breakdown pls pray”.
The model-turned-actress Mughda Godse said: “lets send prayers for peace to viveka, love u n miss u always!!!!!!”