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Celebrating the legendary R K Laxman on his birth anniversary

For many of us, opening The Times of India meant being drawn first and foremost to R.K. Laxman’s ‘You Said It’ cartoon strip in a tiny corner. In 2015, ISRO marked the success of the Mars mission by sharing the beloved cartoonist’s work ‘Common Man reaching Mars’. This was one of his last works, and he had sent them to the space agency. For a man who created ‘The Common Man’, Laxman was extraordinary, with an uncommon and unparalleled understanding of Indian life. On his birthday, catch up with some of his most wonderful works:

 

Brushing Up The Years: A Cartoonist’s History Of India, 1947 To The Present

This includes a collection of cartoons from one of India’s most beloved artists, R K Laxman, as he chronicles the journey of India in his illustrations with the help of his famous creation – the common man. India’s journey since its independence and several significant political, economic, and social events have been aptly captured through the imaginative eyes of Laxman.

 

Collected Writings

R.K. Laxman is one of India’s most gifted storytellers. The same acerbic wit and quizzical insights that characterize his cartoons are in ample evidence in his writings as well. This ominous volume contains his two novels, The Hotel Riviera and The Messenger, and The Tunnel of Time, his autobiography.

 

The Common Man Meets The Mantri

From financial crises to the woes of householders, from political instability to rampant corruption, Laxman’s cartoons capture the entire gamut of contemporary Indian experience.

 

The Common Man Balances His Budget

Hilarious and thought-provoking at the same time, this is a treasure house of humour from one of the most striking voices commenting on Indian socio-political life.

 

The Common Man Stands In Queue

According to Time magazine, the common man is ‘a witness to everything: scheming politicians, rapacious bureaucrats and gossiping housewives. What’s common about this character is that like most Indians, he sees his country being forced through endless indignities by its leaders and yet doesn’t even whimper in protest.’

 

The Common Man at Home

The fourth volume in the series The Best of Laxman, ‘The Common Man at Home’ is a funny and incisive glimpse into quintessential Indian life.

 

The Common Man Goes To The Village

A collection of gems from India’s best-loved cartoonist as he explores Indian life with sharpness and humour.

 

The Common Man Watches Cricket

From financial crises to the woes of householders, from political instability to rampant corruption, Laxman’s cartoons capture the entire gamut of contemporary Indian experience.

 

The Common Man Takes a Stroll

The seventh volume in the series The Best of Laxman is another solid dose of Laxman’s sharp humour which drills into the Indian social temperament.

 

The Common Man Tackles Corruption

Another wonderfully insightful work by Laxman, exploring the idiosyncrasies of ordinary life in this country.

 

The Common Man Seeks Justice

Laxman’s frazzled character, known as the Common Man, confronts India’s daily navigations with a kind of wry resignation.

 

The Common Man At Large

R.K. Laxman’s humour never fails, and his most beloved creation, the Common Man once again serves as a microscope through which Laxman studies and maps Indian society.

 

Common Man Casts His Vote

Laxman’s Common Man takes on the political scenario, packed with wit, a humorous scrutiny, and a funny exposition on life in general.

 

The Distorted Mirror

The Distorted Mirror brings together some of Laxman’s best short stories, essays and travelogues. The collection begins with ‘An Accident’, a most unusual mystery story where the murder weapon is a newspaper.

 

A Dose of Laughter

Laughter, they say, is the best medicine. A Dose of Laughter is an exhilarating collection of cartoons and jokes about doctors and their practices that will bring a smile to the lips of those who wield the stethoscope as well as those who yield to it.

 

Servants of India

In Servants of India, R.K. Laxman profiles ten hilariously idiosyncratic people, who are among the countless men and women who run the lives of the middle class in India. The tales are put together by Ganesh, a freelance journalist trying to write a feature article on servants he has known. As his chronicle progresses, what emerges is a richly embellished narrative starring unforgettable characters.

 

A Vote for Laughter

A Vote for Laughter contains a hundred of R.K. Laxman’s classic Common Man cartoons that have to do with a range of political subjects, from party meetings, election campaigns and VVIP movements to cabinet reshuffles, horse trading and foreign tours, not to forget the activity that for Laxman defines the Indian politician: the impulse to rush to the well of the House.

***

R.K. Laxman is a national treasure, and has provided a soothing antidote to the expected daily devastation carried by ‘front-page news’.

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