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Book Title: The Distorted Mirror: Stories, Travelogues, Sketches|
The author of the book: R.K. Laxman
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Reader ratings: 3.2
Date of issue: 2004
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.91 MB
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I was reading his travelogue 'Darjeeling', and suddenly encountered a happy observation- "How similar are his observations to me!"
His short stories may be more of the character of a sketch with brilliant observations perfectly conveyed than a complete story. But they are short stories, so a new 'Laxman-flavour' is not unwelcome there. As you move to his travelogues again the power of a brilliant observation strikes you. The descriptions are authentic, personal, the reminiscences powerful and witty.
While reading 'holiday in the islands', I was transported back to the days when Laxman visited, when the tourism of the Andaman and Nicobar islands were lost in notoriety after the British left. I could almost smell the moist grass, tread on the forgotten, mossy islands where forgotten leisure houses gloated in their ruin. What an amazing descriptor! No doubt that his cartoons could speak what we still couldn't express. No doubt he is a legend.
While writing of Australia, even though I know that my reflections on visiting the same sketches, if I ever visit them, would be different but I can still agree and ponder on with his outlook, impressions, writings of the untouched blue of the isolated continent, of the enthusiastic gold miners of leisure hours, and of old millionaires of the sheep. His pen is almost visual with the flair and confidence of an established cartoonist who is damn serious and honest in his witticisms.
Of Mauritius and Kathmandu, his pen describes all that would be evoked in the mind of any Indian-ish Indian. The surprise of a familiar ancestral tamil speaking French accented English, the descriptions of nightmarish corals that give you the creeps, the king typhoon unsettling the peace till it is forgotten in a cycle of stormy aftermaths. All remind you a bit of yourself taking these impressions as if it were you in the tiny island country. Also the parting where he is filled with a necessary grief born out of an experienced intuition showing the fate of an ever-desired industrialisation that would secure but kill the paradise of a now vulnerable nation dependant only on the sweetness of sugarcane farming and its friendly people; but he is still hopeful, maybe very pessimistically as he dreads the shadow that kills his imagination to play with the clouds as Laxman returns to India. For Kathmandu the nature of impressions are his amusing musings after overcoming the initial shock and disgust. How a king's courtyard is filled with grass sellers and dogs reminding him and the reader of India! How foreign tourists are fooled and sold the idol of goddess Tara that to them becomes the Buddha. He almost always is chuckling and so are you. But still the observations of a similar Indian are much more favourable of a Kathmandu than its pretentious casinos and nightclubs. You agree, don't you?
Laxman is magnificent at his sketches, for a less obvious thing his literary sketches. The charismatic caricaturist is at his best framing those sentences, especially if the sketches are describing a political creature, or a humble hypocrite or simply a bored commoner for whom both the aforementioned caricatures are as true and real as the next day. His writings show us the potential of a cartoonist and a political satirist who is honest and funny in his views, narrations and sketches. The humour, satire and the wisdom in choosing those are the superlatives of that class. I have fallen in love with his writings of a caricaturist-turned-writer while still retaining the effortless, visible humour, irony and satire of that brilliant observation-ist and comparision-ist alive in every sentence . The metaphors, direct comparisons are just too great to be missed. Literature isn't just great words or grand sentences, but something new and brilliant of an idea to offer to the existing mass, and our dear Mr. Laxman does that seamlessly.
The last piece of this collection is a caricaturist's self-reflection. He vividly recalls what is the impression of the impressionist, what questions he is asked and how he replies. He also ponders along deep whether and to what extent his profession as a cartoonist has effected his outlook. Though it does less to ease the effects of rising prices of onion or the irritation of sticky jams but having a frame of humour in mind perhaps does a lot to ease the journey. And that funny, witty but serious and satirical journey of one hundred and sixty pages were one of the best the reviewer, that is me, Debalina Banerjee, has ever had. Hail the cartoonist and his witticisms! Hail Mr. R K Laxman, his pen, his mind and his observations!
For a more detailed review of this book, please visit ' http://dbthetablesareturned.blogspot.... '
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Read information about the author'''Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Iyer Laxman''' (born October 23 1924, Mysore, India) is an Indian cartoonist, illustrator and humorist. He is widely regarded as India's greatest-ever cartoonist and is best known for his creation ''The Common Man".
R. K. Laxman was awarded the prestigious Padma Bhushan by the Government of India. He has won many awards for his cartoons, including Asia's top journalism award, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, in 1984.
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