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The Birth and Death of a Small Printing Press: A Personal History

Sunita Paul

I love landing on my feet, who doesn’t. I try not to jump till I am certain of the position my feet will take. I have needed to jump twice as far as my life as a printer is concerned. Once into the printing press and then 20 years later, out of it. Both jumps qualify as successful executions. Both out of choice—meditated and planned. Both challenging decisions—the first because I courted the challenge and the second because it stopped being one. I had jumped into an unkempt and neglected environment which I attempted to groom over a period of time into a smooth-running unit where work came to the table as did the payments. My daughter and I were our own marketing department, receptionist, secretary, shop floor manager, print and paper supervisor, coffee-maker, accountant, schedule-maker, liaison person, at times the cleaning staff and for a year and a half creche runners on the top floor of the building when my daughter started bringing her child to work till he started pre-school. All this while we ran the Press and we would be lying if we did not admit that we enjoyed every minute of it. We worked on our own terms, starting our day with a cup of coffee and ripping through the problems by lunch, the production departments at the clients’ end were slow moving and could never come back to us with trouble shooting solutions in time. Since we preferred 11 in the morning appointments and left work early evening we came to be known as government employees, of course the clients who burned the mid-night oil knew that we did their work as well as ours in half the time. We loved doing it because we firmly believed that we were on the same side of the team. Our hands-on style had I suspect made us quite addictive to those whom we worked for, soyou are justified in asking, why the shut down? The reasons are complex. Let us begin at the beginning, Pauls Press was born in 1975 as was our daughter. Rajinder Paul, the parent to both these births had been bringing out a small theatre magazine called Enact which he started as a modest 8-page magazine in the late 60s as was Naresh Khanna’s Indian Printer and Publisher in the 70s. Both were printed at Pauls Press. Those were the days of ...

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