Ricky Martin at Mother House on Tuesday. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
“Special, very special.” That is about all Ricky Martin would say when, on his last morning in Calcutta, he paid his first visit to Mother House.
The Puerto Rican pop star — a beard covering half his face, and thinning hair, with flecks of grey, cropped short — spent an hour on the AJC Bose Road premises.
Dressed in hawai chappals, grey drawstring pants, stole around his neck and tattoos peeking out of a muscle-hugging white T-shirt, he could have been just another foreign tourist.
After paying his respects at Mother Teresa’s tomb, he spent over 15 minutes in the chapel. Around noon, after thanking the sisters, he left.
This is the 36-year-old’s fourth trip to Calcutta. He usually does his best to stay away from the media and the mobs, spending time with the children of Sabera Foundation, a home for underprivileged girls that he supports, off Thakurpukur.
But on this trip, he took some time off to see the city.
“Ricky loves India. We don’t want any stress for him here,” said one of the star’s companions.
That was probably why he allowed Metro’s reporter and photographer to accompany him inside Mother House, on the strict condition that afterwards, he would be left alone.
But midway through the visit, he softened and insisted on seeing all the pictures that had been taken. He pointed out his favourite ones and requested that they be sent to him. Even after being assured that he would get the photographs, he didn’t seem convinced. “Look into my eyes,” he said suddenly.
Just as suddenly, after another assurance, he boarded the Sumo with his entourage and drove away.
“He loves this place (India), everything about you people. It all comes straight from the heart. He has a very close bond with the children of Sabera Foundation,” explained one of his companions. But “he doesn’t want to brag about it or have it splashed in the media”.