Iqbal Kherodawala’s seven print influences

Printers print, rarely do they pen their thoughts. Iqbal Kherodawala of Printline Reproductions is a rare exception. In his exquisitely produced book ‘50 Influences’, he chronicles 50 important influences. He says, “The biggest influence of our lives comes from every day, every moment that we live. Right from the time we recognize our existence; every influence seeps through us and outlines who we will become during the course.” Exclusive excerpts of seven print p

06 Jun 2015 | By Iqbal Kherodawala

My association with Pranavbhai started in 1988 when I was fresh out of my college and had decided that I would rather join a professional company than my father’s mom-and-pop shop of a printing press. My initiation into Printwell, run by the Parikh family and managed by Pranavbhai, was a revelation to me. I was simply thrown from a tiny pond into an ocean.
I have truly been influenced by Printwell and Pranavbhai.  I not only learned professionalism, but his perfect systems taught me how to do my business differently. It made me think differently from the way my family did business, and even after more than 25 years of leaving Printwell, the influence still stays.
Pranavbhai has been an epitome of  humility. Pranavbhai has taught me and most of us, who have worked for him, the true meaning of humility. A deeply spiritual person, PNP exudes the confidence of those, who have attained Nirvana, the ultimate salvation. I still get a few chances to be around him, and each time, I have come back more humbled. Even after 70, just as he used to 30 years back, he still answers emails himself, and is easily accessible. The Bhishma Pitamah of our industry is amongst the true elders, who will leave the industry in a far better position, than when they inherited it.
Pranav Parikh (PNP)
Faheem is amongst the few people in the world whose only goal is to ensure that he keeps everyone happy, by whatever means. Being with Faheem has made me realise the value of selfless sharing. He has been a major influence in my life, by making me accept, that bottled up ideas and unshared information is useless. The more we share without expecting anything in return, the more it comes back to you.
Knowing him now for over 10 years, I have come to the conclusion that he is truly all heart. Rarely have I come across anger or vitriol in him (except perhaps one time, when someone came dangerously close to scratching his car) and this speaks volumes for the peace in his mind and his life.
He has influenced me in my understanding of true humility, and the acceptance of what is right. Faheem has also made me realise the futility of senseless arguments. He has convinced me that all problems have peaceful and mutually agreeable outcomes.
Amit has not only come up the hard way, but has been the focus of sustained pressure ...  he has been through tough times when his pre-press business lost out to inhouse pre-press departments.  But I can’t think of a single situation which has fazed him. He fought those circumstances, relooked at his business and diversified into another business which was far tougher than what he was in, set up a world class factory, has won innumerable national and international awards, he is a guide and advisor to his own business colleagues, and is an avid Marathoner.
Amit is exceptionally committed to anything that he takes up. He never forgets friends and equally easily forgives foes. He is a professional to the core and has set up systems which are an envy to most of us who pride ourselves on self-knowledge. His people simply don’t leave him. Not because they must be paid well, which they are, but only because he is so inspiring and so giving.
Nitinnbhai is Google himself and is a one man google army. So whether you want instant information – and are not satisfied unless you get a four page PDF, Nitinn is the one. If you need directions, India or abroad, you don’t need Google maps, Nitinn is just a phone call away and unlike the mechanical voice that guides you to your destination, Nitinnbhai will direct you in his wonderful Gujju accent with landmarks including the chaiwala at the corner turn and the “wadapav laari” after the third signal just before the flyover.
I have warm memories of this gentle giant. In spite of his health issues, I have rarely seen a person with so much energy and so much get-up-and go. It is impossible not to get inspired. A mechanical engineer making automobile parts, he entered the print world so that he could assist his brother. Today Nitinnbhai beats all of us hollow, what with our fancy degrees and tons of work experience.
Nitin Shah
Khushru has not changed in the last 25 years that I have known him. Adversity, age, success, money, fantastic contacts, none have changed this man. At all. He still loves unconditionally and hates the same way. He was abrupt then, and is still abrupt. He will simply push aside a million dollar client to another slot of time, if you have asked for an appointment for something miniscule. I have seen that happening often. Everything that you do, is to do with him, if he has adopted you, he then does it with his heart.
His influence on me has been in various ways. He is truthful to the T and does not believe in beating around the bush. Hence it is very easy to work with him. He is unforgiving about ideas that he has suggested, and leaves you with little or no choice, if that choice has been made for you by him. He is unforgiving about giving you the best, and can convince anyone that what he suggests is the best. But at the same time, is graceful enough to admit defeat if you are able to show him something better.
I have learnt from him, that business can be done with tremendous grace and at the same time, individual relations too can be given equal importance. He has taught me that personal equations are far more important than business, and he keeps friendships even when work has dried up from any source. The most important thing that I have learnt from his is the fact that continuous improvement and self-involvement is a key to all issues and nothing beats perfection.
Khushru Patel
Among the many innovators that I have met in my career, a few have had the ability to always surprise me with their incredible thinking metier. The amazing quality of these people is that they are never satisfied with what they have done, and are constantly looking out for items or products which challenge them. In our industry, mediocrity is so easily accepted only because it allows a better price to the end user and does not offer them a challenge of sticking to only one supplier. 
However, a few people do not bother about staying mediocre. They are constantly thinking of presenting their thoughts and their ideas into a product and it does not faze them that the buyer is not really paying them their worth. Shabbirbhai Kothawala is one such mad man.
I know Shabbirbhai since the last many years, and meeting him in his office is a pilgrimage. I have been incredibly challenged every time with something different, either in terms of a new shape, a new finish, a new opening mechanism, a new design, a new material or quite simply, an old idea represented in a revolutionary way. I marvel at the indefatigable spirit of a man who has been in the industry for nearly 40 years and hasn’t still lost the ability to keep on thinking something new.
Shabbir Kothawala
Mehul has influenced me tremendously. Right from his humble beginnings in Virar, where he had to stay with his lovely wife Nivie, to make ends meet, to working as a marketing executive with Xerox, his story is a typical rags-to-riches. With none of the accompanying drama, but simply matter-of-fact.
Although Mehul has come very recently in my circle, he might perhaps find a pretty top spot in the list of people who have influenced me greatly. The way he conducts his business, speaks volumes for the clarity of his mind, and he is unafraid to share. I have taken a lot of his thoughts and his ideas, and have implemented them in my work, and they work.
His ideas are simple, but even his ideas mean business, and that is Mehul. Why he will continue to be an influence is underlined by the fact that at the age of 50, he has decided to do his MBA from Hyderabad, and I am sure he will ace it. After being a dutiful son, a great father, a loving and doting husband and a crazy brother to his sister, Mehul is able to still find time for his charitable work Animedh.
Mehul Desai
About the book
The book is reverse-printed with blue and black inks on a two-colour Heidelberg SORZ machine at Jak Printers. The blue ink used is a special inky blue matched to a pantone colour. Each section of the book has been individually designed and layout to achieve the staggered blue in the spine. The black sketches are hand drawn by an artist. The book is bound by open back binding. The overall time period, from conceptualisation to execution was six weeks.