It was such an honour to find myself among the winners of the Times of India Cartoonist hunt. An experience I will not forget!
After judging the first round of a few thousand submissions, TOI made a shortlist of 88 contestants from across the country for the second round. All these participants were called to the nearest TOI office on the 22nd of April, 2017 and were asked to spend the day drawing in the on-ground test to the brief that was provided.
The common man that was designed and drawn by the legendary RK Laxman has been a mute spectator, a silent victim and an oppressed witness to the happenings in the political, social and administrative system that was falling apart around him. Things are no longer the same. The common man of current day India has more access to information, is more aware of his/her rights and is vocal about opinions. Moreover, the then common man’s attire – with the checked coat, the dhoti and the umbrella – and his demeanour with the helpless and lost look may not be so relevant in these times. The brief was to design a new “common man” – Man, woman or any creature or thing that would suit current day India, and to make a cartoon with the new “common man” featuring in the situation of the cartoon story.
In my personal opinion, the biggest positive and most heartening change that I see happening around me is that girls in these times are coming out stronger, smarter and more self assured. They are assertively voicing their opinion and increasingly showing intolerance and dissent towards things unfavourable. I think this is much needed in a progressive society. I think this is fantastic!
I chose to make a college going girl as the new “common man”.