It was Sunday, and I was out for some street photography in Jaipur after a long hiatus. I had chosen a bylane of the busy market in the walled city area of Jaipur. This street is lined with the old Havelis of Agarwal and Jain traders along with a few shops. It bore a desolate look with scorching sun and humid weather.
I have traversed this street many times during the previous photo walks in Jaipur and found the shutters of this establishment latched every time. I love capturing the facades of the old buildings so here is a picture from one of my previous photo walks.
This shop was buzzing with activity and looked like a small printing press. Curiosity directed me to initiate a conversation with this person who was engrossed in his work. I sought his permission for clicking a picture to which he enthusiastically agreed.
“Where are you from?” he asked.
I guess he must have assumed I was a tourist and now with this answer, he was a bit suspicious.
“Why do you click pictures?” My best guess is he must have assumed I was a reporter but I didn’t look like one.
“I love photography.”
Once his suspicion was settled, it was my turn.
“Do you stay in this lane?”
“No, I come from very far.”
“So where are you from?”
“I’m from Naila village”
“The one near Kanota dam?”
“Yes. Have you been there?”
“Yes. You have lots of old Havelis in your village and a nice fort (now owned by the Oberois) but the old palace is in a very bad condition.” I was referring to a beautiful palace which is now a regional medical training center in Naila.
“The people don’t know how to maintain.”
“What’s your name?”
Is this a very old establishment?
Yes. It is 70 years old. The house is even older. We are just the tenants.
Was this always a printing press?
No. we are into binding business. It was never a printing press.
Hasn’t business gone down over the years with computers?
“Not really, we are never deficient of work since we bind answer sheets of an ITI. We used to get lots of business from banks previously but that has dwindled over the years. Schools and training institute will continue giving business for a long time. There’s no substitute to these sheets.”
Happy to meet you. I’ll see you some other time.
Positively, he said with a smile.
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