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RK Laxman was born and educated in Mysore but lived the better part of his life in Mumbai as the cartoonist of The Times of India. For half a century, his ‘Common Man’, that silent but eloquent sum of all that is India, faithfully kept his early morning date with readers. On the rare occasion that Laxman either forgot to include him in the ‘You Said It’ cartoon or allowed him a day’s casual leave, letters would flood the Times office, demanding an explanation for the lapse. The cartoonist soon had to accept, with a dry paternal pride, that ‘this fellow’ had taken on a life of his own, and that his legion protectors had a very decided idea on what he should wear and how he should travel — the aeroplane was frowned on as decadent. The reader-cartoonist bond over these tumultuous decades can be compared to the rock-steady, if demanding, marriage that the ‘Common Man’ has with his talkative wife, who Laxman once complained, thinks nothing of briefing the American President on foreign policy while her husband stands by with the look of one who had to quote PG Wodehouse, “swallowed an east wind”. Although representative of his long career, selecting these cartoons from his vast trove was, to put it mildly, an exercise in separating the wheat from the wheat. RK Laxman left for his heavenly abode on 26 January, 2015, at Pune.Printed Pages: 154.