An Interview with Jane Richardson

Just a few minutes from Reserve, the Stow Brookdale Senior Living Center is home to an influential author. While Jane Richardson has written nine novels on varying subjects, the majority of her works are centered on India.While living in the Ohio area, the author hosted an Indian engineering student studying at Western Reserve University. “We learned more than he did, I think. I decided I should go to see India.” In the summer of 1955, Jane and her daughter made their first trip to South Central India. Both were instantly in awe of the fascinating culture. Richardson has met many notable figures throughout the years. Her first day in New Dehli, Jane had the privilege of meeting the President and Indira Gandhi. “I was invited my first day and my first day in India, I don’t know how I managed [it], I got in touch with the person who was in touch with tourism in New Delhi, and they had me meet them. We sat down and she had two sons and she would talk about them.”

Jane began taking frequent trips to India and soon began giving tours to visitors. She remained close friends with Indira Gandhi. In 1980, Gandhi’s son Sanjay died, and Richardson returned to see the mourning Prime Minister. “I went to the house and I didn’t expect to see her, and I brought flowers. She and I liked to talk together. I said I’m flattered because I’m nobody and you meet so many darn people all over the world and I don’t get [it]. She said ‘You’re a woman and a mother and so am I.’” In addition to being a close friend, Jane had the privilege of sitting in an Indian Parliament session. She remembers, “I went to Parliament and that was very interesting to me. They gave me a visitor’s seat just above Indira [Gandhi].”

Jane’s tour company position also allowed her to meet Mother Teresa. “I just asked if I could just meet her. I went to where she treated people if they had a physical ailments and that was very interesting.” Richardson’s prior experiences made the research she did for her books, “Not feel like research.”

As a closing remark, Jane believes her favorite sight in India is, “The Taj Mahal when the moon hits it.” To this day, Richardson keeps a replica of the landmark in her room to remember her beloved travels.

– Olivia Robinson ’20

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