There are times when you want to say so much, still there is something so poignant which keeps pulling you back! Those times are when, your eyes get blinded by the shedding tears, who are just not ready to stop! Someone, who didn’t belong to you, yet was so special!
The first memory I have of this man is from my school days. I wasn’t a very studious or cognizant child, hence was never bothered about the newspapers or the magazines. But, during my school days we had an NIE [newspaper in education] program driven by Times of India. I chose to subscribe it! Not because I was looking forward to read the newspaper, but for those free movie tickets and food coupons which came as perks with the membership. Every day, I picked the newspaper in the school, put it in my bag, brought it home and threw it in the trash! Without bothering what was written in it! This phenomenally ridiculous activity went on for months, till the day, my newly recruited G.K. teacher took over me [or better say, all the NIE members of my class.]
Wow! What a punishment! Being a distracted kid of the highest order, I was just not able to find anything for myself! After turning a few pages and scanning them, I finally found a small rectangle, saying, ‘You said it!’
“What did I say?”
I thought! Still, I observed that tiny piece of art! It was a political cartoon depicting the current scenario of Indian democracy, I didn’t get its crux. My teacher, noticed me observing something so keenly! [Which was off-course world’s eighth wonder for her, to see a hooligan like me sitting quietly for so long!] She walked up to me and asked what was I looking for?
I showed her the cartoon, and she explained me what was it about! [Which I could hardly understand!]
Anyways, now the Times of India didn’t have to bear the disgrace of going straight into the trash, kudos to R.K. Laxman sir. I used to open the newspaper, see the daily cartoon, sometimes even try to imitate it in my sketch book and then throw it!
This went on for a year or I don’t know how long! With the passage of time, I started following the issues of national importance, only to understand those cartoons, only to draw something like them!
By the time I was in class 11th, I had a sketch book [or a bundle of A4 sheets] with a pack of pencil colors in my school bag permanently! I landed up creating 2 cartoon characters of my own! [Yes, it’s a secret, which I am revealing today!] and started dreaming of becoming a cartoonist or preferably a comics writer some day! My friends teased me, for having that sketch book and colors in my bag, but there was always a piece of newspaper with ‘You said it’ in my sketchbook which kept me motivated!
Today, when I look at that piece of paper, my hands start shivering, the very concept of not seeing that, ‘you said it’ snatches my heart away! What else I can write for this man?
He was the man, who inspired me to read, made me sketch, made me realize that even a hyperactive insane kid can have a constructive brain.
Rest in peace, sir! There’s no such word, no such poetry, no such writing that can define you! You are a phenomenal era of history, that’s all I can say!
-Udisha M. 🙁
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