Vinish Garg

Technical Writer. Published Author.

My Firsts…

with 5 comments

  • My First memories of Childhood
  • My First memories of School
  • My First Post to a Newspaper (Sent)
  • My First Post to a Newspaper (Published)
  • My First Job (Any)
  • My First Job (Relevant)
  • The First Time I winked a Girl 🙂
  • My First Interview for Technical Writer Position
  • The First Important Words About Technical Writing
  • My First Technical Writing Project
  • My First Project Proposal Document
  • My First Cheat Sheet Document

(Updated on 06 Dec 2010):

  • My First Award (Middle School level)
  • My First Award (College)
  • My First Award (Degree College)
  • My First Car (WagonR)

My First Memories of Childhood…

… when I was less than 2 years old. My father owned a Fuel Station in one of the most backward districts of state. I would go with him by bus, daily. It was a 15 minute travel from home. I remember sitting in bus… tall trees swirling past me… windy mornings… sunny noons… his revolving chair in office… and I would rush outside as a vehicle would stop there for refill.

My First School

I was in National Public School when I was less than 4 years of age. I remember sitting on the rooftop, writing on a wooden plate (fatti), with a self-sharp-knived pencil (kalam). We used an inklet (small tablet of ink) and an inkpot. Every morning, I would dissolve that inklet into water in the small pot and dip my pencil to write A, B, C… It was quite an exercise.

My First Post to a Newspaper (Sent)

It was in 1993 when I sent my entry for a Caption Captest in Indian Express.  I remember that the caption – A poor lady walking in fields; there were 3 kids around her – in rich clothes. One was on her sholders, one in her lap and the third, eldest walking besides her.

I spent a few hours thinking, and got a postcard from sector 36 post office. My entry was ‘Mother India – with Peace, Progress and Prosperity’. Unfortunately, it was not selected. I sent a few in next 6 years – some articles, letters to editor, a feature. None was published. It was demoralising.

My First Post to a Newspaper (Published)

When Indian cricket team toured Australia in December 1999, there was some controversy during Adelaide test match. I wrote a 500 word column and sent it to The Editor, The Tribune, Chandigarh. As far as I recall, it might have been my 50th attempt.

Guess what! I saw the newspaper on the first day of this millenium – 01 January 2000 only to see my words published in The Tribune. I read it many time, my thoughts/opinion followed by my name – Vinish Garg. My parents did not believe it. My aunt came to us same evening and we showed it to her. She was happy though not fully convinced initially. her first reaction was  ‘it must be some other Vinish. :(. But I was happy.

The journey had started….

My First Job (Any)

My first job was as a Customer Support Executive in telecommunications (Spice Communications) in Chandigarh. I used to handle calls , sometime genuine concerns and a few times their bullshit as well :). It was an eye-opening experience and gave me lot of confidence for my next assignments.

My First Job (Relevant)

It was in 2004, I was looking for a change, and I was not too sure what kind of responsibility I was looking for. My education suggested me to apply for Technical Positions such as Software Engineers but I doubted myself if I could be one. I was so low on confidence that I got selected in the best company in Chandigarh but I did not join there. On the day of my interview, when I was told that I have been shortlisted, I left the place on the pretext that I forgot my keys somewhere :).

I was almost depressed those days when I read a recruitment advertisement for coveda technologies.  All I could understand from the adv was that it was an opening for Technical Writer and the position required some writing skills. I applied, was called for interview on 18 January 2005 at 03:00 PM (IST), completed the written test (a manual on an electric kettle and some language questions), passed it, gave the interview (KS, Shruti and Seema were on board) and left the place.

I got appointment call in a few days from Seema and I joined coveda. Fortunately, my first job was the best one and gave me a platform to grow as a confident documentation specialist.

The First Time I winked a Girl 🙂

I was in 9th grade when a few of my friends challenged me for that. I did not fall into the trap and when we dispersed I was happy that I did not. Later that evening, I was in the market when I questioned myself if it was really a big deal? At the same moment, I saw a girl coming from opposite. As she was about to cross me, I winked at her. After a few steps, I turned around to see her and found her looking at me. I was scared but did not run because worse was still to come…

Same evening, I was having a walk with my parents when I noticed same girl standing at her house gate. I ran and almost rammed myself into a tree.

My First Interview for Technical Writer Position

I did not know who is a technical writer, what are responsibilities what I would do in the interview. Just applied for an opening in coveda, got a call, and reached there for the interview. First I completed a written test (English language questions, a paragraph, my strenghts and weeknesses, a manual on electric kettle, and so on) and it was evaluated in about 30 minutes. When I entered into the conference room for interview, the answer sheet was lying split wide open on the table. 🙂

I was prepared for the worst. A sentence was highlighed and I was asked if it was ‘grammatically correct’. ‘Yes’, I replied. My heartbeat was as clearly audible to me as their questions. I remember that I had not used correct (or appropriate) words for describing a section in the manual – about connecting it to switch. When KS said something to clarify what I meant, and I could not stop laughing though I quickly gathered myself. By that time, I almost wanted to run from there. Seema asked me if I had used ‘Styles’ in MS Word. ‘No’, I said.

I felt being grilled for about 45 minutes. When it was over, I almost rushed outside and did not hope it even for 1% that I would be offered a position in coveda. I was wrong, and that changed my life forever.

The First Important Words About Technical Writing

As with many other techncial writers, I learnt the most valuable lessons about technical writing at my first job, at coveda. To put down everything that I learnt there would mean that I can spend days and months writing about it.  The most striking words that Seema told me were:

Remember guys, we are tech writers.” It happened when I was not able to follow the instructions, I was not understanding the kind of responsibility I had for a product documentation. May be that I was not feeling the responsibility from inside. Something needed to be stirred from within, and these words did that.

There are certain points where you will not be forgiven. For example, leaving a space before a : (colon) is a crime for a tech writer.” It taught me to list a few points for myself that I would never do. I realised that it is ok if an instruction is not clear or worse still, if I forgot to document a feature. But there are certain standards that I should always maintain.

Do not try to convince each other. Validate your point and try to make her understand it. ” We were two freshers in the team, managed by Seema. Many a times, our discussions would end up without agreeing on something – feature, template, structure, language and so on. These words by Seema gave me a different, wider perspective while holding discussions from that day onwards.

My First Technical Writing Project

cQOS. It seems funny when I reflect back now, at how we (me and GA) planned and documented the cQOS training manual. It was rubbish but it taught me a few lifetime lessons. The documentation is done first for the  – target audience, then the client, your organization, your manager, your team, and then for yourself :).

My First Project Proposal Document

After working in product companies for about 2 years, I landed in PHi – primarily into web based projects. Amod asked me to study the specs of an Ecommerce, and I was clueless. Our PM, Chetan said ‘It is nothing yaar, just a shopping cart, paypal, categories, products, and an admin section. that’s it.’ I heard all these terms for the first time and I developed the complete document with all features (la wishlist-bestproducts-checkout-orderreports). In next 8 months, I had developed about 40 such proposals including  – Ecommerce, Social Networking, LMS, Online Directories, Project Management, Media, Sports, Restaurants, and what not.

My First Cheat Sheet

I was in Dryden when our PM asked me to write a Cheat Sheet for GIS product. I did some research and found some common cheat sheets on HTML, JavaScript, Google, DreamWeaver and so on. It was an altogether new experience for me and it was quite an exercise. When I completed it  – a 2 page document, I got an email with words of appreciation. 🙂


My First Award (Middle School level)

I was in class 5 (aged about 9) when I played character of a babu (middle-class government employee) for a drama. The play was adjudged the best at the local rotary club, and the whole team of participants got a trophy. It was fun, and I still remember my dialogues, my makeup (I had moustaches and carried an umbrella while walking downhill), the plot, and how the audience lauded and clapped.

My First Award (College)

When I was in 11th class (ten plus one as called in India), we prepared a model of nuclear reactor. It was an inter college competition and we were a team of 5 (Sanjeev, Ashish, Sukhwinder, Rohit and Vinish); we won the second prize and a trophy.

My First Award (Degree College)

During our MCA (masters degree in computers), I participated in an essay writing competition and won the First Prize. The subject was ‘Extra-Marital Affairs’ 🙂  and I had to write 2000 words on it. I was happy more so because I competed with seasoned journalists and freelance writers.

This was the first time I went alone on the stage to get a prize. It was on 20 Feb 2002, around 1845 hrs; I loved the moments.

My First Car (WagonR)

The first car I purchased was Maruti’s WagonR, in 2006. I loved it, and I loved our drives on late evenings. Unfortunately, it got smashed exactly an year after I purchased it.

After I got it fixed from a garage, it was never the same. It behaved like a wife as (a) it would stop anywhere on the road or at crossings (as if I forgot our wedding anniversary) (b) many a times it would drive well for days (as if I got a very good project or job) and (c) it never stopped when my brother used it (as if only I had the right to suffer) .

No engineer could identify the technical issues. I had to get rid of it in 2008.

……to be continued.

Written by Vinish Garg

March 31, 2009 at 1:20 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Did I say that? Hmm… I must be showing off. I love to show off when I know better than other person. Typical Geek Mentality. 😀

    Kumar Chetan Sharma

    April 16, 2009 at 1:54 pm

  2. Yes dear. You showed off and introduced me to the web world – a la ZenCart-Joomla-OSCOmmerce-SugarCRM-Drupal… .


    April 16, 2009 at 2:06 pm

  3. […] My Firsts… March 2009 2 comments […]

  4. […] My Firsts… […]

  5. enjoyed reading and good to know from where you started.

    “There are certain points where you will not be forgiven. For example, leaving a space before a : (colon) is a crime for a tech writer.”

    I wish all the Team Leads / Supervisors in the field would give such advice to all the budding Technical Writers.


    June 26, 2013 at 1:58 pm

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