Laxman started drawing at a very early age – and like most self-made artists, he began by drawing what he saw around him. When he grew up, he applied to various art colleges, but his application was rejected, for he didn’t have the mettle needed for learning fine art (fair enough – for becoming a fine artist, you need to lack the skills to draw.)
Let me break this thought to bring you a slice of an imaginary episode of KBC with Amitabh Bachchan (check out his caricature here.):
Question (open-ended): What is common between the renowned cartoonist R. K. Laxman and Adolf Hitler?
Correct Answer: They both tried getting into art-schools but were rejected.
Question 2 (open-ended): What is the main difference between the renowned cartoonist R. K. Laxman and Adolf Hitler?
Correct Answer: R.K. Laxman didn’t become bitter and decided to pursue his passion on his own – he went on to become one of the greatest cartoonists of India; Hitler started hating the world, especially the Jews (I wonder if the Dean of the college was a Jew, perhaps he was,) and killed 6 Million Jews.
Now back to Laxman’s biography…
Laxman started by taking small assignments, his brother R.K. Narayan (who wrote “Malgudi days,”)was a great help in his struggle as Laxman illustrated some of Narayan’s stories that he would write for The Hindu. So the climb was somewhat arduous for him, but then he joined TOI, where he continued for the rest of his working life.
In 2005, he was given the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India. Incidentally, his elder brother R. K. Narayan too was a Padma Vibhushan awardee. He got his in 1964.