Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My cheesy brush with Indian cartoon legend

Exclusive to The Gulf Today
SHARJAH: India’s most eminent cartoonist RK Laxman is no more.
Having worked in The Times of India news desk for over 17 years during the 80s and 90s, I had a fair chance to exchange an occasional word or more with the fascinating man. 
They were both brief and revelatory.
Jan.26 was usually a holiday for the newspaper and employees used to arrange their own picnics. On one occasion, though we were juniors, my late colleague Denzil Gudinho and I mustered the courage to enter Laxman’s cabin and tell him, “Sir, please join our picnic.”
Laxman was quite choosy when it came to talking to people and hence there’s little surprise that he was surprised.
He swiftly glanced at us and looked at the door.
We both rushed out in seconds.
The most glaring incident I recollect is the fact that I almost lost my job as a chief sub-editor, when I was night desk in charge and a designer repeated a cartoon of Laxman that had been used earlier.
The designer was purportedly checking the size of the cartoon so as to adjust a pending news item above the famous “You Said It” cartoon. He forgot to replace it with that day’s original cartoon and that was a Himalayan blunder.
I was told that the great cartoonist himself forgave us both, though I had a harsh reprimand in the form of a stinging memo from our editor.
Unlike the present days, the news desk in the 90s had a noisy ambience. Though Laxman hardly complained about that, I had to face his anger one day when I was chatting loudly.
Suddenly, his cabin door flung open and he gave a piercing look. I instantly zipped my lips.
Mysore-born Laxman was a man of few words, but his “You Said It” cartoons packed a powerful punch against erring politicians and leaders even as it brought smiles to millions.


  1. One of the fine Cartoonist with great Vision and creativity.We lost the Common man.May his soul rest in peace.

  2. You worked with the legend !!!!!! it must have been such an honor! Yesterday was seeing news, where in he was getting awarded some lifetime award, and he was crying overwhelmed with emotions! Me too cried ! I really appreciate you wrote this blog on him! thanks R Ramesh!

  3. the most amazing fact is that he was self-taught!

  4. I remember the days I used to wait for his cartoons eagerly. May his soul rest in peace.