During the second week of May, I saw a story about the ranking of corporate donors to fight Corona crisis in India, done by an English news channel. Ranking them to compare their contribution seemed a little odd. I was thinking of doing a cartoon, but wasn’t sure of a concept. Around the same time I saw a post on Facebook about a noble lady from Mysore named Kamalamma.
The post talked about the noble gesture of Kamalamma who volunteered to donate Rs 500 from her Rs 600 pension. Kamalamma’s story stunned me. I was keen to express my emotions by paying her tribute through a cartoon. And the ranking of donors story was at the back of my mind and now I could connect both.
On 23rd May(Saturday) I started drawing this cartoon for the Monday issue.
Normally while drawing a cartoon, the cartoonist goes through the emotions in the cartoon. It could be compassion, despair, anger, concern, happiness etc. The emotions you see in a cartoon is actually the emotions experienced by the cartoonist.
Drawing Kamalamma cartoon was soothing. It doesn’t happen with many cartoons.
On the 23rd I couldn’t complete the cartoon. I was a little lazy with no immediate deadline!
Sunday(24th) was hectic, I could only finish only a couple of caricatures in the cartoon.
Monday(25th) evening I did a cartoon on Yogi Adityanath’s migrants from UP comment. So Tuesday was crazy with lots of people in equal measures appreciating and thrashing the cartoon. Again I couldn’t complete the Kamalamma cartoon, though I had finished all the caricatures in the cartoon, except Kamalamma.
Tuesday(26th) evening, I did a cartoon on Sonu Sood’s noble gesture to help migrants reach their homes and the cartoon went viral. Whenever a cartoon goes viral, at least half a day is spent in responding to cartoon lovers on social media. It’s never tiring!
It was emotionally very satisfying. While drawing every line in the cartoon, I was just brimming with pride about that lady.
After I shared the cartoon with readers on social media,the positive energy of the cartoon was spreading fast. Cartoon went viral. As usual this cartoon was seen by different people in different ways.
-Some people thought the comparison was not fair (The very purpose of the cartoon was to destroy that comparison) Some people said the cartoon is trivialising the contribution of the corporate world. (Again, not the intention of the cartoon) Many were unhappy because I didn’t feature Ratan Tata among the donors. (I wanted to pick four biggest contributors globally, Azim Premji was the only Indian to feature there) Many cartoon lovers thought Kamalamma is a fictional character created by me to fit into the scene.
The simple message of this cartoon was the simplicity and purity of her gesture.
Gladly everybody agreed with that message and could connect easily.
As soon as this cartoon reached my client Star of Mysore newspaper, they tracked Kamalamma and did a page1 lead story.
And the volunteers involved with the story, started sharing their story along with my cartoon. And it’s been travelling so widely on the net that everyday people keep tagging me in posts.
Most of my editorial cartoons invite strong reactions, both positive and negative, mainly because of the political angle in them.
But this cartoon brought loads of strong emotions. Some had tears in their eyes, some were philosophical, some were ecstatic, some were thrilled & some were just happy!
And it made me feel proud!
Here’s the making video of Kamalamma cartoon.