In India’s pre-independence era when printing technology was still very basic and foot operated treadle presses like the one shown alongside were used to carry out printing jobs, in 1941 Upendra Anantha Pai and his brother Dr. T M A Pai in Manipal, South India co-founded, “Manipal Power Press”. They named their enterprise so because they used power to operate the presses in their unit. It was the new technology prevalent in those times. The printing company was located in Manipal, a small town near Udupi, the abode of Lord Krishna in coastal Karnataka.
Type-setting with lead type-faces and wooden blocks used to be assembled together manually to make the printing frame that would be used to make repetitive prints. In today’s time this sounds primitive, yet in those days the printing process was considered to be ahead of its time.
|Satish Pai & Mohandas Pai with their manager
In the late 1950s Dr. T M A Pai’s eldest son T Mohandas Pai and T Satish Pai son of T Upendra Pai, joined the management of the press. As time progressed, technology kept on evolving and up-gradation to match the evolution was adapted by this enterprise. They kept pace with the need to implement change and automation, as and when it became an imperative. With passage of time, from the treadle printing presses to faster Mercedes letterpress machines to sheet fed offsets and web-offset printing presses, transformed Manipal Power press immensely. The original name Manipal Power Press started to appear a little confusing, as running a press or for that matter any factory, without the aid of power became unimaginable. So in 2000 the middle name was dropped and the company was renamed as Manipal Press Pvt. Ltd. and later Manipal Press Ltd. Youth has many attributes and some of them are the immense energy, desire to excel and the capability to take risks to stay ahead in a rapidly changing scenario. They are restless and if motivated and mentored in the right direction they can produce amazing results. Their induction in any enterprise along with experienced mentors brings about a freshness that transforms the organisation from a possible stagnation into the fast forward mode. When it was time to induct the generation next into leadership and to eventually pass the reigns into their hands, the management of Manipal Press took the expected decision of inducting Gautham Pai, grandson of the co-founder T Upendra Pai and son of Satish Pai, into the company.
|Gautham Pai, his office, designed to also be a conference room
Satish Pai has since retired from business 6 years back. I missed the opportunity to meet him during my visit to Manipal as he was in USA visiting his daughter. Gautham’s mother Sandhya Pai who has been a very active support to her husband still spends time at the office managing the editorial of the media publications where she has been working since 1997. Gautham’s wife Vanita, an alumni of Delhi’s LSR College, belongs to a Jain family from Moradabad. In 1999 she had come to Manipal to pursue a post graduate course in Journalism. As luck would have it, the college did not have a campus of its own so classes were being held in the building that also housed Gautham’s office. Just about a month before she was to return home after completing her studies, she met Gautham… it was love, at first sight! They met each day after that and decided to take the marriage vows. Vanita was worried if Gautham’s parents would accept her, which eventually they did. Vanita feels that her being a vegetarian influenced her mother in law’s decision to accept her. The evening I spent with them at their home, I could still see the glow on them and the twinkle in their eyes while telling their story. The romance was ongoing and evident! They have two wonderful daughters, Trisha and Divina aged 8years and 4 years respectively. When I asked Gautham if he expected them to join his business one day, he laughed it out that they were too young at this time and when time comes they will decide for themselves. Vanita loves journalism and does contribute to the media business occasionally. Helping in designing department, when annual calendars were being created.
The article was first published by Printweek India.