RK Laxman : The Inspiration For Aeons

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RK Laxman : The Inspiration For Aeons

RK Laxman, the name for us symbolizes with a lot of words like creativity, simplicity, elegance, brilliance, connection with the real world, art and above all a simple man which most of us aspire to be. I am very proud to be from the same place where these greats hail from – the RK brothers sure have had a lot of influence on us while growing up through their work and when we grew up, so did their influence on us. On this day, we would like to pay homage to one of the greatest cartoonist India has ever seen – RK Laxman.
Looking at a few anecdotes and stories from his life, we came across a few trails of the great, most of which in the current day scenario would be chided.

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. 
I am not really sure how much of this quote I believe in, but very few of them pursue what they really thought of from the start of their lives. And most of them end up changing lanes and end up being great. As a society, we tend to assign greatness and connect the dots to make it a perfect story. Anyway, that’s a debate for another day!

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!

r.k.laxman quotes, laxman inspiration, laxman on work, laxman quotes on lifeHaven’t we all felt this? We even have a fancy word for this – Monday Blues! :D.

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.

laxman quotes, r.k.laxman on people, laxman people quotes, laxman life quotesThat’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.

laxman quotes on drawing, laxman life quotes, laxman quotes, laxman work quotes, work quotesNow 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.

r.k.laxman quotes, r.k.laxman work quotes, r.k.laxman life, r.k.laxman inspiration, r.k.laxman motivationWow! 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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25 thoughts on “RK Laxman : The Inspiration For Aeons

    1. Both the brothers – RK L and RK N, the best indeed. I think what I love the most about them is the way they carried themselves, there was a kind of simplicity in them, maybe the calm in their face. Something very characteristic about them and maybe the depth of character. I don’t know what exactly it was but it sure was something..

      1. Undoubtedly ! RK L and N are the best and would be forever admired for the innocence and sense of loveliness they spread with their writings and illustrations. They had been a great inspiration for me as a writer , and I started writing The School Bully of Chenkal – my own fictional town after Malgudi 😉 I owe them so much…. 😀

        1. You spoke my heart much better than me Tanya.. The innocence, the sense of loveliness and the approach towards life – there was so much of hope at times and at times the reality which took an interesting end. Never for once have I found any unrealistic endings in his books – whether it was Swami and his Friends or the Financial Expert or the many stories of Malgudi.. Aaah that’s quite something Tanya, I would love to read it..

          please do share the link 🙂

    1. I certainly hope not Hemu.. These two amazing people have led their full lives and made our lives so much richer by their work and attitude. It sure is sad news though. two really talented people.. may their souls rest in peace..

    1. I think he did a few caricatures to Malgudi days during the later part of his life. The mystical world of Malgudi has RKN written all over it. I was looking through the new version of RKN’s Malgudi days. The new books have a map of Malgudi in them and this one was sketched by RK Laxman.. They were really very intriguing and coming from Mysore, I could see so many connections to the map and the current day city which played a huge role in inspiring the Malgudi days..

  1. I am a big fan of the duo- Rk Narayan & Mr. Laxman 🙂 Swami and friends are incomplete without the illustrations from Laxman. A die hard fan of Mr. Narayan thanks to you for writing this post. May his soul rest in peace.

    1. Indeed Tanya. I remember the first book of RKN I read. My god I was so easily swept into the world of Malgudi, Margayya, Swami and so many other friends we could relate to. From then on, each word, each statement and of course the magic of Malgudi has made such an impact that it will last for a lifetime and perhaps generations to come. This is the simplest homage we could think of for this amazing man 🙂

  2. Thank you for the link Tanya :).. It would be an absolute pleasure to read this.. I am sure the plot will unravel itself with time and it sure gets magical when that happens 🙂

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