R K Laxman's family and Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's family had been associated for over 25 years through Laxman's son Srinivas, who used to report on India's space programme.

The former President presented the Bharat Bhushan award to  R K Laxman in 2013
The former President presented the Bharat Bhushan award to R K Laxman in 2013

"When Dr Kalam was President, he invited our family to spend a few days with him at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He also visited our residence in Mumbai. Our daughter Rimanika Laxman and her friends also enjoyed a special evening with him at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Kalam took them to the kitchen and told them they could order whatever they want. They were asked to feel at home and consider the kitchen theirs," recalled Srinivas' wife, Usha.

"Srinivas and I visited his residence in Rameswaram and met his family. It was heartwarming to see the simplicity of his family. Kalam was very happy to know that we had met his brother and family. When he was the President, Rashtrapati Bhavan was like a second home for us. That is the kind of acquaintance we had with this great soul," she added.

Usha told mid-day that, following a meeting with R K Laxman in 2007, Kalam had said: "Recently, I had an opportunity to meet Shri R K Laxman in Rashtrapati Bhavan. It was a great pleasure interacting with this great personality. After his visit, while leaving Rashtrapati Bhavan, he presented a beautiful cartoon of Lord Ganeshji drawn by him. I was trying to understand what Shri Laxman wants to convey through this cartoon. When I went through I found that Shri Laxman had drawn the common man in front of Lord Ganeshji with folded hands. He beautifully conveys, with inbuilt humour, the plight of the common man. The common man has lost all the hope and he has reached the altar of God and prays for his better way of life."