I knew that sometime this year I would have to face the inevitable chore of printing scores in India, and I was bracing myself for the worst. With the notable exception of CopyUSA, my favorite Manhattan copy haunt, almost my score making experiences in the US have been nightmarish: orchestral scores on tabloid paper spiral bound from the top, pages of music on dark brown cardboard cover stock, and even waiting for over an hour for a score only to realize the guy had gone to get chinese takeout in the middle of the job.
I decided to try our local print shop in Lajpat Nagar, which is basically an unmarked basement under a wedding supply store called Rama Palace, with a xerox machine, three computers from the early 90s, and a few fluorescent lights and fans. Nick and I had frequented this place when we were getting our documents ready for the FRRO registration in August, and despite it’s rough appearance, we had a really pleasant experience with the people there.
I dropped off my scores yesterday and thoroughly explained what had to be done in a combination of English and Hindi to the guy in charge. He was extremely attentive and good-natured, but considering the specificity of the instructions (he didn’t write anything down) and the different paper sizes here, I still left completely unsure of what I would see today.
This afternoon I went to pick up the scores and surprisingly, they were almost perfect.
But here’s the best part:
One of the pieces I needed is usually bound in an 8.5 x 11 book (so 11 x 17 paper folded in half to make a booklet). He readily agreed, and started to manually place the pages where he thought they needed to go (a very tedious and often fruitless process, which I know from experience), and I immediately realized that he wasn’t aware of the booklet setting on the copier. I asked him if I could try doing it myself, and he was curious, and said yes.
I pushed the buttons, set up the pages, and out came a perfect A4 book.
I can’t even describe the look on his face – it was as if a miracle had just happened. He shook my hand in ecstatic congratulation, and asked me if I would teach his best worker how to do this on the machine. He went around telling the other people in the shop in Hindi about this amazing thing that had just come out of the machine, and how people from the US knew how to do these unimaginable feats of xeroxing.
Who knew that, for the first time, getting scores bound would actually be a mutually enjoyable endeavor? India continues to be full of surprises.