I read R K Lakshman’s “Distorted Mirror” and I was inspired by the humor with simplicity that he adds to even his stories. Of course his cartoons are a master piece. I had never seen even a photograph of RK L before, and this for some reason dint seem right to me while reading the book.
From this book I moved on to read “Between the Acts” by Virginia Woolf (VW). As always, her writing and thinking inspires me. The novel is of a day in British village, during the brink of Second World War. In broken words of people, in their conversations we get a fair idea of their thoughts about the forthcoming war and politics. The family members are getting ready for a village pageant that is to be conducted on their land. As village gathers, as guests walk in, we are introduced to the lives of family members. An aunt Lucy, who is fascinated by history, Isa, who loves and hates her husband Giles and is fascinated about being love with a farmer; Giles who has affair with Mrs. Manresa, a lady who all dislike for her overdone behavior; And there is Miss La Trobe, who is the director of the play a lady many dislike for her arrogance; several other characters that constitute in a unique way to the novel. At the brink of the Second World War they are worried if the rain or a storm would ruin their village pageant or not.
VW, mentioned in her diary, during the time of writing this novel that she is playing with words and this is what she exactly does. The words read one thing, but mean something else. The writing is very humorous in a unique way; as always she has written in the Stream of consciousness style, where she captures the flight of mind and its thoughts as is. In the novel the play villagers enact, illustrate history of England and different times till the present day and leave the audience gazing at the moral. “We act different part, but are all the same” it says and people struggle to break its meaning, by the end of pageant. After the pageant is over, people have dispersed, Isa and Giles have to confront each other, they have to talk to each other; the novel ends with a curtain raiser on reality, the play called life.
VW’s novels are not very simple, and one needs to understand the style of writing before reading them. I am no master; this is nothing close to a review yet.
I was watching News other day and I heard RK L’s name being mentioned. I raised my eyes from the newspaper to look towards the TV and saw RK L was being felicitated for life time achievement award by CNN-IBN. There he was, the Cartoonist/ writer, right in front of me, on a TV screen, shedding tears. He was unable to speak, he cried as he received the award. “I have been working towards this day since I was 5…” he said. Rest of the words just wasn’t audible; I felt they must have come out of his mind, but not as a noise. What had I expected? – A joke from the India’s best Cartoonist? A humorous speech, like his writing? May be I expected so. But the person, who brings smile on millions of hearts through his cartoons daily, was crying. At that moment all I could only remember VW’s words from Between the Act – We act different parts, but are all the same.