Exactly a decade ago, I went to Bangalore on the invitation of Karnataka cartoonists' association to the Telugu political cartoonists. the occasion was to felicitate Mario Miranda, Yesudasan, Bapu,Gopulu and Fudnis etc. with Lifetime Achievement Awards. The hotel was colourful with cartoonists from different states. I was busy with 'spot caricaturing' and soliciting autographs of the invitees. Then I spotted Mario Miranda at a distance. I recalled his Mumbai buildings sketches. He was more like his Rajbai Tower, Royal Opera House. Goa beaches, murals, the slanting coconut trees...scores of his illustrations passed before my eyes. "He is not a mediocre stuff like us, man. His is a royal family. He is handsome, modeled for Raymonds...entertains plenty of girlfriends..." introduced veteran cartoonist Mohan. I had tucked up a few of my caricatures and cartoons to show him. I felt mine were the dirty stones of Musi and could not dare to expose in front of the genuine pearls of Goa. I kept them tucked firmly under my arm pit.
The legend spoke about his cartoons in Mad and the Mad cartoonist Don Martin, about the pocket cartoons he did for pocket money...he spoke about many things.
During our student days, since there was no access to specialized art courses, we had copied cartoonists such as Mohan,Bapu,Sridhar, Surendra etc. And, there was no 'net culture' yet. I was introduced to Mario's cartoons in the pink-coloured Economic Times, which came to our village via an evening bus. The cartoons were totally different from the local stuff. They were even different from the RK's comman man. High-class ladies, detailed sketches of Bombay buildings, Goa beaches....they were fresh and new and different. A pumpkin head with a brinjal nose; eternally obese 'netas' with a pyramid shaped'gandhi topi'; sexy bimbos wearing polka dot nighties...they were absolutely exhilarating. Every character of his cartoons was doing something. His miss Fonseca was as close to me as was my neighbour. We were experiencing frustration when our 'copying' his illustrations did not yield even remote resemblances.
Some of his contemporaries -- RK Laxman, OV Vijayan, Kutti, Abu -- were adorning the shelves of our college library, but I was fond of Miranda.
The Sunday morning facebook message screaming 'Mario Miranda is no more' reminded me of Bombay I had witnessed in Bangalore. Miranda must be visiting the gateway of Heaven through the Gateway of India, to make a detailed sketches of the other world.
Cartoonist 'Namaste thelangana' Daily
Here is the Telugu link..