The Times is changing. The times aren't.

After decades and decades of being on the front page of The Times of India, R K Laxman's Common Man is losing his solus position. It's a recent phenomenon and an irregular one. There are days when you can find him in his usual spot and on others, he is tucked away somewhere inside. The first time I noticed this pattern, I remember thinking to myself, 'Hmm. But Laxman is getting repetitive. His subjects are the same, the ones I remember from my childhood: Bad roads, corrupt politicians, inefficient bureaucrats, unfulfilled election promises, rural poverty, uncleared garbage, escalating prices... The same, the same'. Vaguely, I thought to myself that Laxman must begin to tackle some current affairs...

Then it hit me. Like a slap that wakes you up from sleep.

In the thirty-five odd years that I have been reading Laxman's cartoons, India might have gone from whining to shining but some very basic things that affect the common man still haven't changed, improved or aren't on their way to improving.

So here's my plea to The Times of India. Please keep Laxman and his Common Man on the front page. In this din of celebration we need a voice of conscience, however small.


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