About the author:
Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Iyer Laxman is an Indian cartoonist, illustrator, and humorist. He is best known for his creation “The Common Man”, for his daily cartoon strip, “You Said It” in The Times of India, which started in 1951.
My thoughts on the book:
Can a book be light and heavy at the same time? Possibly not, but that’s what I feel this book is.
RK Laxman brings forth various issues in India through his thought-provoking, yet humorous cartoons. While making us smile or even chuckle in delight at the intent, it also makes us question, “Is this India?” No, it makes us question, “Isn’t this India?”
His character “The Common Man” is someone who sees the country in various situations, but doesn’t talk at all, or raise a voice against it. Much like you or I, a common man in this vast populous.
In this book, the first cartoon left me wondering about the state of cricket in our country. As an ardent cricket fan, I had started to wonder the same long before I set eyes on that cartoon, with that caption. At times, it does seem like the country, and the cricket team, act that way. Looking for fans rather than wins, acting as if the cricket pitch is a boxing ring, and losing their wits in tough matches… yes, even chatting about the matches and corruption in the sport etc. like they were the most important part of our lives… yes, in India, it seems to be true, sadly.
Title aside, the book is much more than just about cricket. It shows the contrast in politics. It shows the state of India might be so low that even the neediest person might think twice before accepting something, or consuming what they find. It shows the politician’s mindset where he’s prepared to leave a public gathering for a private meeting, leaving the people who elect him half way. It shows the other side of the picture. One of my favorites from the book shows the beggar asking the rich person, “The price of everything else has gone up, how come I still get the same old 50 paisa coin?” and another that shows how we punish the innocent by misinterpreting what actually is to be something else.
Want a dose of humor, with cartoons that make you smile and yet think as well? This book does that. Other than a couple of typos in the captions, I enjoyed this book thoroughly.
Title: The Common Man Watches Cricket
Author: RK Laxman
Genre: Cartoons & Illustrations
Publishers: Penguin Books India
Price: INR. 200
(April 4th, 2013)