Archive for November 14th, 2009
As I write this post The Uncommon Man is in our city Mysore, The City where he grew up. And I had the opportunity of meeting this creative personality.India’s greatest Cartoonist, Mr RK Laxman. I have always wanted to meet him but more so off late because I’ve been harbouring this thought of starting a Walk on Malgudi Days in Mysore. With help from Mr Vattam and Mr GVK I was able to locate Mr Laxman in Mysore. I called introducing myself and Mrs Kamala Laxman was extremely kind to give me an appointment, She is the author of Children’s Books having authored more than 15 books, her book “Tenali Raman” was serialised by Doordarshan.
As I entered their Hotel room and took a seat I found Mr Laxman in conversation with an elderly man or should I rather say listening to an elderly man as he was doing most of the talking. Then I realized they were childhood buddies and also played cricket together. The elderly man turned to Mrs Laxman and said “Your husband was a great bowler” And she innocently replied “I suppose So” The elderly man kept asking Mr Laxman if he remembered this person or that from their childhood days but I could just see Mr Laxman silently nod in disapproval. Then finally the elderly man asked if Mr Laxman knew who he was talking to for which Mr Laxman very innocently said “No” The elderly man then asked, how can you forget all this , for which Mr Laxman pointed to his head and looked up in despair indicating his old age. I couldn’t help but notice the innocence on Mr Laxman’s face so much like his creation The Common Man. His outstanding ability to just observe and it put in on paper I guess is what makes him stand out.
They talked very fondly of Kunjappa who I then realised was RK Narayan and the other brothers whom they fondly called Srini, Pattabhi etc. I couldnt help but recollect from Mr Laxman’s Auto Bio The Tunnel of Time where he recollects that when he went to the Maharaja’s College, Mysore to study and the last bencher he was he sat on the same bench as his brothers and saw all this 5 brother’s initials craved out on the bench like RKN, RKP, RKS and he says he would go on to complete the genealogy by marking RKL on the same bench. In 2002 when Mr Laxman was at a function at the Maharaja’s College, He and his good friend Mr Satyan the great Photojournalist would go on to search for that particular bench but without luck. As the elderly man was leaving he asked Mr Laxman ”So where do we meet next ” for which Mr Laxman pointing to the sky said “We will meet there again, after death”.
There were also some women who joined in and had embroidered Mr Laxman’s works on a piece of cloth and got him to autograph on them and took some pics together. They wanted to send these pics to The Laxmans, and asked for their email id, for which Mrs Laxman replied “we do have a computer at home but we are far away from that world.We dont have mail ids” So the women decided to get their residential address so that they could post the pics. Mrs Kamala Laxman went on with the address in detail saying, Flat number so and so.. cross.. main.. park area etc etc Pune, for which Mr Laxman sitting next to her remarked “Is so much required ? ” Mrs Laxman admitted “Oh yes, once someone sent a post just mentioning Mr RK Laxman, Pune and it actually reached us but I dont want to take a chance here” Mr Laxman said “We have been there for so long and it helps” Watching all this being told not with air of arrogance but with pure innocence made me realize how they are what they are today for not letting success into your head.
As the other guests left I had a few old photographs of Mysore for Mr Laxman which seemed to get his attention and he talked a bit about how he loved skteching in the Deveraja Market and how he and his cricket team Rough,Tough and Jolly played cricket in the Middle School Grounds. It was time for dinner and I dint want to keep the couple waiting. I got his book Laxman Rekhas autographed. As i left I said “I have grown up reading your cartoons and thanks Sir for making our lives so colorful ” He wished me Good luck. The simplicity of Mr RK Laxman and the sweetness of Mrs Kamala Laxman was profound.
As I was getting back home, I couldnt help but notice that it was Childrens Day today and what better way to celebrate than by meeting the man whose sketches always grabbed your attention as kid when the news dint make sense and even as an adult when the sketches made more sense. From the child in me “Thank you Mr Laxman for your Laxman Rekhas. You are a Genius !!! “