But by the mid-1990s, the typewriter was on its way out in India. Godrej — which once advertised that its durable machine "makes a good secretary a great one" — lasted longer than competitors by increasing exports as foreign makers dropped out.
Many typists began to pick up computer skills as manual dealers diversified into selling fax and photocopy machines.
"Two years ago, when a customer said he got our name from Google, I asked him, 'What's a Google?'" said Palta, in a shop filled floor to ceiling with manual typewriters stored like shelved books. "But we have to move with the times, and I now use computers."
The decline accelerated when the 2008 global financial crisis hit, and in October 2009 Godrej switched its last production line over to refrigerators, an easy decision financially, company officials said, but emotionally difficult.
The conservative family-owned company ended the era without fanfare. Most media noticed only this year when Godrej happened to mention it had only a few remaining machines.
"If we'd realized the interest, we'd have made a big splash at the time," said Milind Dukle, the company's operations general manager.
Now Godrej has announced that it is selling off its last few hundred machines, sparking a string of obituaries mourning the loss of that satisfying "ting" at the end of each line.
Even so, some aficionados hope there are enough spare parts and ribbons floating around to keep Indian typewriters tip-tip-tipping for years, hardly the first time they've defied expectations. Dukle recalls that at the time he joined Godrej, people already were saying the machines had only a few years left. "That was two decades ago," he said.
"The computer is lifeless, but there's a sheer joy in manual typing," said Jain, the record-holder. "It's a kind of music.
"Bicycles survived after cars. Why not typewriters? Let there be free choice, I say."