Kamal Vyas passed away in Jodhpur on the night of 8 July 2020. He was sixty years old. Although a long-time resident of Mumbai, he grew impatient with the pandemic and lockdown conditions in the city and, with all appropriate permissions, came away to his hometown Jodhpur where he, unfortunately, contracted Covid-19 and was extensively treated. At first, he recovered and also received plasma therapy, but ultimately the coronavirus took him away. He is survived by his wife and a married daughter, who has a family of her own and lives in Jaipur.
What can one say but that the Covid-19 is too close to us — and that it affects many people in our industry too. There is no immunity that comes from being associated with printing, publishing and packaging.
Kamal Vyas was a gentleman who worked in our industry his entire adult life. Basically, in the marketing and sales of offset presses, first for Indo-European Machinery, then for Proteck Machinery when it brought Mitsubishi multicolor presses to India, and finally with Manroland Sheetfed. Selling capital equipment requires building relationships with customers and trust. And in a world where the offset press and the ancillary equipment that go with it are in seemingly constant turmoil in terms of technology change, insolvencies, change of ownership, and distributorships, it is up to the salesman to soldier on and maintain continuity – and above all trust.
Not an easy territory to occupy, sales takes a lot of energy and time. I can imagine a lot of pressure from both sides – from the printer customer and the Japanese or German manufacturers. To be caught in the middle and delivering the promises made in good faith is not always easy. In India, too often, the salesman is also the person who informs and teaches technology. Running the press and maintenance can also come on his head, especially in earlier days when the installed base of new presses was smaller and fewer engineers.
Our company and I knew Kamal Vyas as an accommodating, considerate person. He valued print not only as a professional but as a thoughtful reader, often praising some of the most intellectually challenging editors that the mainstream news media was fortunate to have over the years. He was personally helpful to our IppStar research team and me in our extensive research over the past 20 years. For us, he was an expert where we could validate data and do plausibility checks. I shared some good moments and some tragic moments with Kamal, and I will miss knowing that he was always there to answer the phone. Our condolences go out to his colleagues and his family.