Alone, on street named after son
The 83-year-old Grathel Richards is the proudest mother in Antigua, writes Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.india Updated: Jun 01, 2006 14:31 IST
It wouldn't be going overboard to call Grathel Richards the proudest mother in Antigua. She lives in a house on a street named after her elder son, a privilege that couldn't have been enjoyed by many.
It was startling to see that the 83-year-old mother of a celebrity like Sir Issac Vivian Alexander Richards lives in what is at best a most humble house even by local standards. And she lives all by herself, ever since her husband Malcolm passed away in 1993. Forget security men driving away scores of tourists who invariably stop by the place just to look at where one of cricket's most unforgettable characters grew up, there is no car, no cellular phone and not even an air-conditioner.
Grathel lives there because that's where she has been for 55 years, though her explanation is different. “My church is close by, so is the market and the pharmacy and doctor's clinic. Why should I live elsewhere?” says the mother who takes as much pride in her abilities to look after herself as in her son's deeds.
“I walk to the market and cook my own food, though arthritis has made my knees weaker. I do visit my sons on Christmas and Mother's Day, but the thought of shifting doesn't cross my mind. I will become dependent if I move.” The old lady likes spending time with her grandchildren whenever she gets the chance to and Viv's sister-in-law Edna - who often drops in to check whether everything is fine - says Grathel is fond of Masaba (Viv and Neena Gupta's daughter living in Mumbai) too. “She has spoken to her over phone and wants to see her before she dies, though I am not sure how that's going to happen. We have accepted it because we think children are not responsible for what adults do. Even Mali (Viv's son) met her when he went to India,” said the sister of Viv's wife Miriam.
Grathel says as a kid Viv wasn't very difficult to handle, though she had a tough time keeping him at home as he would invariably run away to play. “His father was a cricketer (for Antigua) and that way, our sons were never short on encouragement.” Her most memorable moment at Antigua doesn’t feature Viv. "I think it was in 1981 when West Indies beat England. That's the match I treasure most."