Introduction

This story, like most of R.K. Laxman’s earlier works, deals with the topics of false prestige and society in a frank and humorous manner. The author tells the story of Datta, a framer who splatters paint over a photograph of an elderly and respected gentleman that a customer requested framed. After destroying the client’s photograph, Datta fabricates a scheme in which he would deceive the customer by using another photograph. Datta is not only deceitful, but also dishonest in not taking full responsibility for his acts. The surprising and detailed portrayal of seemingly average people contributes to the story’s hilarity.

The Modern Frame Works was a big wooden packing case sandwiched between two other stores. The plot revolves around Datta, the owner of the Modern Frame Works. He was a slender man with silver-rimmed glasses and a complexion like seasoned wood. He was a quiet, diligent individual. He kept to himself and avoided casual friends and meaningless conversation.

The Unintentional Splashing

Datta was approached by a customer who wished to have an old photograph framed in the finest possible way. He admires, respects, and praises the elderly guy, leading one to assume that the man in the image was a perfect human being. The client is outstanding in his capacity to identify and appreciate humanity. Because the customer lacks will, Datta steps in to guide him in choosing the right frame. He picks a cut mount for his picture with Datta’s assistance. The buyer speaks as though framing the portrait is his life’s goal, yet he refuses to pay the amount Datta has given. He leaves after settling the fee and the date.

His customers arrived either days in advance, dissatisfied, or returned months later. Some never showed up at all, and their photographs were left in a box unclaimed. Datta would not start working till his customers arrived twice before the delivery date. After 10 days, his tall and rustic-looking client showed up to inspect the progress. When Datta saw his client was interested in the frame, he pulled it out and tried to frame it. Just then, Datta splashed enamel paint over the customer’s treasured portrait by mistake. He attempted to remove the blotch with a piece of cloth, but it started to rip away.

Humor From The Tragedy

The respectable old man’s face grew into thick black flecks stuck to the enamel spread on the cloth he was holding. Datta was terrified about the repercussions. Every cell in his brain throbbed as if it were about to burst if he didn’t hold it together. Datta considered various options, such as framing another image. Fortunately, he met one with whom he could take a reasonable risk. Datta, perplexed, frames a square frame while the buyer ordered an oval frame. This somehow saves Datta. Datta also gets saved because the customer questions the frame rather than the photograph itself. This generates amusement.

Datta’s ingenuity is revealed in this narrative by R.K.Laxman. The customer is portrayed as an idiot by R.K.Laxman. The customer accepts the price, even if he believes it is unreasonable. After all the lavish compliments, a price negotiation would make him look even more dumb. So, both his reverence for the old gentleman and his readiness to pay any price for the frame are questionable. The customer’s ignorance, rather than Datta’s own experience or intelligence, saves the him. 

The storyline is implying that Datta has still been caught out despite his lie. The reader is bound to believe that R.K. Laxman is emphasizing the value of honesty. A person may lie, but they must do so skillfully and thoroughly. Something Datta failed to accomplish. Datta had forgotten about the customer’s requests due to his haste. A cut mount with an oval frame. Even though the error is readily corrected, the fact that Laxman concludes the narrative with the customer complaining is enough to instill upon the reader the value of honesty. Datta has, if anything, given himself more work to do, not just on the replacement image and frame, but also on his demeanor.