Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Laxman – Born in Mysore in an orthodox Iyer family, RK as he was famously known would be best remembered for his famous creation of Common Man, a balding middle-aged man dressed in a simple dhoti representing an average Indian. This satirical character has thrown light on political inaction. Crow was his most favorite bird as he used to believe that a Cartoonist needs to have a vision of a crow.
I met him in connection with conferring upon him ABCI’s highest honour, Life Time Achievement Award. After having spoken with him over phone since he used to reside at Pune, and fixing up an appointment, RK, on reaching his residence started screaming at me in his husky voice, I am not in a mood to meet you today. On telling him that I have come from Bombay after having spoken with you, he said “Come Tomorrow” to which I replied, I am sorry, I am a working professional. So what? He instantly replied. I am also working at this age. Come next week. He took my contact details and surprisingly, he called me on Friday, “Yogesh, you are coming tomorrow? Come in the evening” he kept the receiver down. Promptly, I reached at his residence at Anand Park and he welcomed me seating on a wheel chair.
Tell me what do you want from me? I replied, we at ABCI would like to felicitate you with Life Time Achievement Awards. Who are the other Awardees with me? M V Kamath, I stated and he was pleasantly surprised and instantly agreed to accept the Honour. A few days later, I met him at Usha Kiran, once upon a time, the tallest building in Bombay at the Guest House of Bank of Baroda. Kirit Varma, my colleague was with me to formally invite him at the event. His son Srinivas Laxman was also seating there and joining the discussion. As I was seating on a chair in-front of Srinivas, his son, RK was got annoyed on me stating “Why are you showing me back”? RK was very conscious. Sorry, I said immediately and handed over the letter, a formal invite.
Where will I stay? Tata Chemicals Guest House at Colaba, near the venue of your felicitation. The entire Guest House will be yours, All Five Room, a kitchen, a dining room and a Hall. The MD, Tata Chemicals will host a dinner in your honour. I don’t want too many people around me. Okay I said. A car will come to pick you up and will drop you back to Pune and a wheel chair at your perusal. He smiled.
When he entered the Guest House, he was amazed looking at the Harbour View. I want tripod, canvass, a fountain pen with 0.4mm and a dark black mont blanc ink he said after the dinner. I promptly arranged the next day morning and he drew Common Man and presented it to Tata Chemicals. The frames are still handing on the walls of Guest House. After the ceremony, he requested to extend the stay by a day to which Tata Chemicals agreed.
RK a finest person was like a jackfruit, rough from outside but very spongy and sweet from heart….