A Common Man’s salute
When I was more of a kid and less of a prick that I am now, anyways I am sorry I am losing the point here. I have a faint memory of getting out of bed one morning, the sun shone right through the window and the voice of my mother arguing with my father told me that it was one of those days when father is at home occupying his place on the bed of the master bedroom and reading newspaper the whole day. I came to my father’s room and found him smiling at a piece of cartoon in the TOI. I had no interest in whatever interested my father neither I read the newspaper. But the small bearded man in the cartoon caught my attention and that’s when I looked at the headline “you said it by laxman”. I found it amusing “when did I say anything, and who is this Laxman” but from then on everyday I used to read the cartoon completely unaware of the pun intended by the cartoonist. I tried to decipher what that old man did being there in each of the cartoon. I thought “by laxman” may be the guy in the cartoon is laxman himself. That is the oldest memory and association that i had with the great cartoonist RK Laxman and now when I have grown old enough to understand what the common man and “by laxman”means I like to cling onto the old memories that I had of his cartoons.
Rk laxman gave the definition of common man a meaning and an identity. His portrayal of a hapless, dhoti clad common man witnessing the daily happenings of life remains true, he never resorted to vulgarity and portrayed his views in a subtle yet comic way. The image of Indira Gandhi with her crooked nose is an example of how Mr. Laxman’s keen and observant eyes tried to look for peculiarities in people that only some have the eyes and skills to spot. His common man is still the same although he wears pants and shirts but the identity, aspirations and expectations are very much what they were.
Laxman was a cartoonist of the generation that only few would forget. His cartoons will enthrall and amuse the generations to come even if there relevance is diminished with times. He had a fulfilling life and died at an age of 95 at a time when the world is lamenting the loss of satire and humor. The death is a symbol of a world in which ideas and free speech are suppressed and people are subservient to the whims of censor bodies who call themselves the protector of religion and protector of ideals. It is good that RK laxman left us because the times that he saw were of freedom and humor. This world has no place for people and cartoonists like Laxman. Mr. Laxman had his own world or in other words “rk laxman kii duniya” in which he will always continue to draw cartoons and bring smiles to our faces. He can never leave us we have just lost the eye to spot him and his humor.