RK Laxman : The Inspiration For Aeons
As a kid, RK Laxman was drawing on his own, on the floors, doors of his house and doodling caricatures of teachers at school. He began to think of himself as an artist in the making. As they say, the roots of greatness are right from the start.
After high school, RK Laxman applied to the famous J. J. School of Art, Bombay hoping to pursue his lifelong interest and passion in drawing and painting. But the dean of the school wrote back to R.K saying that his drawings lacked the kind of talent required to qualify as a student for their school.
Isn’t this an irony?! Albert Einstein was deemed unfit for school, Steve Jobs dropped out and so many more such examples and somehow in the society we tend to miss out on these real talents.
Maybe it is for the good, maybe in a way it motivated them to prove these guys wrong and my god, did they do it in style?!
I guess that’s the beauty of any story right? I mean there will be someone or the other who pushes us down. I recall that even RK Narayan’s first book was looked very disapprovingly and so were the initial works of the greats to the likes of Kuvempu.
But that really brought out something in them, maybe it was the passion to keep going, the gut to prove the others wrong, the love for what they did and the sheer pleasure of their identity which they created for themselves, but they sure did an amazing job at it.
Describing the beloved Common Man, in an interview to Outlook, RK Laxman said: “My common man is omnipresent. His simple dhoti and checked coat could be anybody’s. His bald head could belong anywhere . . . his dhoti could be the Malayali mundu too. He’s been silent all these 50 years. He simply listens.”
If there is one word to describe RK Laxman it is the Uncommon man who saw the lives of common men and gave a voice to it. Throughout history, we have seen the tenets, paintings, books written about the kings, their glory, the politicians and their achievements extolling or criticizing them.
But somehow the common man missed out in the picture. But here was one caricaturist who dug deep into the common man, his emotions, his despair, his aspirations and his hopes, all of which we could relate to and look for a clever message hidden in it.
The writing form has taken many shapes these days, journalism has sometimes taken the form of criticism and sometimes unfortunately to the extent of paid journalism which is another story indeed, but somehow somewhere there are these beautiful specks of noble journalism, the elegant and subtle messages in them which makes reading ever more enjoyable.
Thanks to these people, we have been able to see lives outside of our own and really appreciate them. We present you with a few hand picked quotes from RK Laxman.
Each morning I grumble, I plan to resign as I drag myself to office. By the time I come home I like my work!
I guess over time work gets to us, sometimes we feel like just sleeping in for late hours, maybe take a vacation and not come back at all. But we do tend to forget at times that it is this work which defines us and it becomes a part and parcel of our identity.
Maybe in this case it was the man who loved his work, but another way of looking at it is that everyone does get frustrated, even the greats of RK Laxman as well. But it is playing through the pain which makes them who they are, the part of their identity and the feel at the end of the day of having accomplished or doing something we really loved.
If someone comes back from work with that big smile on their face, what better job can you look for?!
Generally, people take everything for granted. They hardly see anything around them.
That’s the uncommon common man speaking. There is so much happening around us, so many times we are engulfed in our own world, maybe the coffee machine not working properly or the little fight we picked up or maybe the dry cleaner who did not give your clothes back on time. And rightly so, they are important to us and play a significant role in our lives.
But there is a world outside of us too, the world of a common man, the stories of so many people, their difficulties, challenges and the way they overcome them. Maybe the essence of growing up is in maintaining the child like curiosity and the tolerance to accept the world outside of us. Perhaps this leads us to appreciate life even better.
I do not remember wanting to do anything else except draw.
Now that’s the singular definition of passion. So many times, I get confused and I hear people say they are interested in something and are passionate about it. But I firmly believe that interests and passions are two different things.
Passion is something which makes you want to keep going. It is that focussed interest which makes it such an important part of your life and you cannot imagine your life without it. Too many people are interested in too many things in life, but that doesn’t really describe anything.
Find out that one thing which matters the most to you. It might not be even work, it might be a hobby, but find enough opportunities for it, let it grow.
End of the day, the sadness we feel is not for the things we did but for the things which we never tried. Don’t get to that stage, there are far important things to do in life.
My sketch pen is not a sword, it’s my friend.
Wow! The age old cliched quote -“Pen is mightier than sword” takes a backstage today. I probably don’t understand the current day mechanism of journalism. Maybe cos I am a very simple man who simply wonders how I can elevate my life to its best and perhaps help a few around me to do that.
But this seems like the true aspect of journalism to me. Effort with a real cause, not for spite, not for agitation, but for the sheer love, admiration and respect to it. In this statement, it makes me stop a bit, take a step back and see why we do what we do and the answer is as simple as – Cos we love doing it. And I think probably that is why RK Laxman went to become that great, the sheer love in his art.
The world loses a great talent today, but he stays alive through his work and his personality. I want to pick up his book today – The Tunnel Of Time.
The man deserves more than the 2 minutes of silence. May his soul rest in peace.
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