Vinish Garg

Technical Writer. Published Author.

Consumer. Process. Food chain. Consumed? Processed? Chained?

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We are all part of food chain as I read 22 years back. And now when we talk about products and consumers, I can understand it better than merely that *lions eat dogs and dogs eat rats*.

IFB: For Washing Machine

I purchased IFB Washing Machine and was told to call Customer Care(less) to request for a demo. I called up and opted for *Hindi* language from IVR. It went on like this:

Call 1 (Executive name: Nikhil Vishwas):

NV: Sir, what is your name?
VG: Vinish Garg (spelt and explained each letter independently)
NV: Sir, phone number?
VG: 98550 63643 (nine eight double five zero six three four six three)
Address: Flat no 40 (four zero, forty), fourth floor, Tower B, Spangle Heights…
NV: PIN code sir?
[Vinish]: He did not ask for city and whatever address he was interested in, I had to say it 3-4 times
NV: Sir, PIN code?
VG: 1 (one) 4 (four) 0 (zero) 6 (six) 0 (zero) 3 (three)
NV: 203?
VG: [repeats]
NV: Ok, what is the model number?
VG: Can you tell me what PIN number you noted?
NV: 203401
VG:  Are you not able to understand me?
NV: Tell me sir, are you talking about washing machine or a microwave?
VG: Washing machine, as I already told you
NV: Sir, what is your name?
VG: Vinish Garg (spelt again)
NV: Sir, phone number?
VG: 98550 63643 (nine eight double five zero six three four six three)
Before NV could speak, VG: Why are you asking these details again?

NV: Sorry, system down, I lost the details so I am asking again
VG: (  )
NV: Sir, is it with warranty or without warranty?
VG: As I said I purchased it today, of course within warranty.
NV: Sir, it is in our process to ask.

VG: Ok, what all details that you need?
NV: Sir, what is the PIN code?
VG: Grrrr, 140603 (one four zero six zero three). Which place are you calling from?
NV: IFB Global
VG: Which city?
NV: Kolkata
VG: Ok, what is the PIN code that you noted?
NV: 140663
NV: Sir, what is the model number
VG: Grrrrr….I am 1976 borne and I am within warranty period.
NV: Sorry sir, our system is down, please call later…

———call over———–

Call 2 (Executive name: Sudeep)

If the above conversation was an act enacted on stage for a HIT TV program, the second call was almost a *copy*. The most hilarious part:
Sudeep (in the middle of call): Is it within warranty or without?
VG: I told you that I purchased a new one today.
Sudeep: Sir, it is part of our process to confirm it.

I called up 3rd time and opted for the language *English* in IVR. The call went reasonably well.

PS: I understand that both executives could have handled the *warranty question/response* like *Sir, we understand that you have got a new product, however, sometimes a few new models are sold under special promotional packages and hence without warranty*. I spent total of 50 minutes on three calls which should not have taken more than 10 minutes.

Airtel Dish TV

I respect Airtel products and services by heart, be it cell phone service or internet broadband. Yesterday, I thought of purchasing Airtel dish TV for my home and visited the site. Before I could locate the contact details for *new connections*, I landed at *customer support* and just dialled the number by mistake. It went on like this:

Executive (As far as I recall, it was Mandeep): *… may I help you..”
VG (Not sure how he started the call): I want to purchase the Airtel dish TV product and to subscribe to its services…
Exe: What is your customer ID?
VG: I don’t have any, I am calling for first time.
Exe: Sorry sir, I cannot help you. You need a customer ID to seek any information from me.
VG: How do new customers interact with customer support? Can you give me some number where I can call? (by now, I realised that I called up at wrong number.)
Exe: Ok, What exactly you want to know?
VG (surprised): I want to purchase a new Airtel dish tv connection…
Exe: hmmm
VG (continued)
Exe: hmmm
VG (continued)
Exe: hmmm

VG (the hmmm was really irritating. This is not the way to listen to customers.)
And the executive winded up the call as if an Indian (who is over-trained may be? Arrogant?) sitting in New York. American accent. Fast. I don’t care. It was not his business.

PS: I completed the online form for requesting a new connection and next morning, I got a call from Manoj. He was polite, patient and professional. Manoj guided me through the process well. I was happy more because at least I got a call for completing on online form unlike some other *players* (see next section for details).

Water Purifier

I wanted a water purifier for my home and while doing some research on some leading brands, I landed on the websites.
I landed on eurokefobes for Aquaguard and tried to locate a franchise in Chandigarh (or in Panchkula/Mohali) but could not. There is no option to select city of Chandigarh (neither in Punjab or Haryana though Chandigarh is capital of both these states), see at:

I completed an online form at: few days back. I have not received any email or text or call till date. (Airtel is miles ahead and the best in this regard.)

I landed at pureit website and requested a demo at: No text, email or call till date. (Again airtel is miles ahead and the best in this regard.)

Consumer Consumed. Process Processed. Food Chain?


Written by Vinish Garg

May 23, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Try Room. Or Stage?

with 5 comments

While purchasing a jeans last month, I tried one and then another one before I could purchase it. The Try Room was busy as I saw two gracious ladies having piles of skirts and jeans to try. I tried one more before I finally purchased the traditional light-blue boot-cut jeans. Of those I tried, the unfit or struck-out jeans were left on the counter. Probably someone else would try them.

I purchased an apartment few days back and plan to leave the present house, where I have stayed for last 6 years now. Moving to a new house is not new to me; I have lived in about 7-8 houses in last 20 years.

But today, I felt as if I was in a Try Room for six years.

The life cycle of a Jeans is that few persons try it and someone picks it. Like I did. The jeans that I tried were like one of my possible relationships. I picked one. The life cycle of Try Room is that some relations begin there, others do not, and a few end there. As if in the house.

What we shall leave behind in the current house is too internalized. The way I move from one room to another, the car is parked, the door is closed, the TV remote is fondled, the laptop is put to battery charge, the guests are served water, the newspaper is picked from gate, the courier is received, the cricket match is enjoyed, the bath is taken, and the JEANS is put on. Even when it is dark and I cannot see, I know that I need to move five steps straight from my bedroom door and then two steps to right, to enter the kitchen. And the way we celebrate. And mourn.

What shall I take along to new house? Anything that occupies space and has mass (matter). But we leave behind a lot. Anything that occupies mind and has weight (it also matters).

The bags will be packed for new jeans and old jeans. Some jeans are difficult to get rid of, forever. Like an old relationship. Like Him. Who quit on 23 February.

During my final try for jeans that day, I did what the Try Room expected me to. It knew that I will first lock the door from inside, take off my old jeans, put on new jeans, see myself in mirror, change posture, look from behind, and then make my mind whether to shortlist it or not. It knew that I would take 20 seconds and I did. As I moved out, I heard it whispering to me, “If you won’t, someone else will.” Like my current house.

Yes, the current house is like a Try Room.

As His car would stop at the gate, the current House (like that Try Room) knew how many seconds He will take to reach His room. Which way? What will He do first? What will He say first? What will He want first? But for Him, the house was not a Try Room. He lived in this house like artists live on Stage.

For theatre.

He knew that it is not a permanent house; that He would have to get down from Stage. For another Stage. He tried but could not. He walked, laughed, talked, sat, slept as if it is Stage. The spotlight was automated. He did not shy. No second thoughts. He never needed a Try Room. It was always Live on Stage.

Quite fittingly, I never saw him in jeans.

But the Act is over now. The Curtains fell. He left the stage 2 months back.

While trying the jeans, a part of my old jeans got stuck in a hook in the Try Room. I need to re-learn the way I put on the new jeans and take it off. Fold and unfold. Hang it. Get it washed. Rinse it. Dry it. And use my belt on it.

For old jeans, I will have to leave HIM here only, the way He sat and looked at me, and expected from me. How He insisted for space for sun and walk in car porch. The way He insisted for taking medicine and for not taking medicine. The way He came to my room, sat quietly and went off. And how I went to His room, stayed quiet, and came back. The way He wanted alone to be in kitchen and the way He was scared to be left alone. The way He was courgeous (as if He was the director) and the way He was weak (as if He was a spot boy). On Stage.

The way He lived. Not for any audience, but for Himself. As if on Stage. And on 23 February, the curtains fell.

Now someone else might be trying the same jeans that I discarded, in same Try Room. And someone else might be living (not performing) on same Stage.

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

April 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Posted in memoirs, We, the people

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Written by Vinish Garg

April 22, 2011 at 10:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The Baton. And Spacebar

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The Baton was Passed

[Vinish writes]: 3 copies of certificate are attached with please.

[He suggests]: We do not begin a sentence with a numeric figure. If it is required, write it in words as “Three copies of certificate are attached with please”.

[Vinish writes]: “Dear/Respected Sir” for formal communication to Indian national newspaper The Tribune.

[He suggests]: Sometimes, we should do away with the adjectives. “Sir” should be fine.

Just as a paracetamol or juice helps me recover when I am not well, his instructions helped me recover as a professional. I fumbled and recovered. Sometimes an extra run was conceded but the effort was worth it. These lessons are part of the writer in me now.

He had great eye for attention to detail, and was very particular about drafting letters and documentation where every comma would make sense. I typed so many affidavits, agreements, applications (to local telecom office, banks, and attorneys) that using commas and full-stops were internalized.

As if he was a technical writer.

As if the baton was passed somewhere.

[For readers]: Language use can be tricky as two individuals may differ on using a comma, colon or on sentence structure. So, if you notice an issue in this post, do not assume that I learnt it from Him.

There was always some pride at the corner of his eyes; he knew his world very well. He knew that he could not even iron his shirt or change the punctured tyre of his car/scooter but he knew that he was very good in writing. He felt good about his strengths and did not feel bad about his weaknesses. He was happy with his limitations. His eyes did not have any space for regret though he had complaints (like many of us have).

The Poetic Self. Sublime.

And there was a philosophical self in him as well, beyond all his limitations and complaints. Like many writers, he appreciated art and Hindi poetry. I remember how well he used to recite the following.

“ek shahenshah ne daulat ka sahara lekar,
hum garibon ki mohabbat ka udaya hai mazaak
meri mehboob meri mehboob,
meri mehboob kahin aur mila kar mujhse”

[The man asks his beloved to choose a place other than the Tajmahal to meet him. The grandeur of the structure mocks the common man’s love, which cannot be expressed so beautifully even when the emotions are pure]

“Boo-e-gul, nala-e-dil, dood-e-chiragh-e-mahfil, Jo teri bazm se nikla, pareeshaa’n nikia”

Hindi (Simplified version): Phool ki khushbu, dil ki aah aur chiraag ka dhuwaan…. in mein se jo bhi teri mehfil se nikla, bikhra hua aur pareshaan hi nikla.”

English version: The fragrance of a flower, the sigh from a heart, or the flames of a lamp…. Any of these is disappointed to leave your (gracious lady’s) company.


“Rabb firda si dhaney de chubare, ohne kehra kachhh payi si…!!”

[God was wandering in the house of Dhaney (a common man) who was so poor to even afford to buy a trouser/short. It meant that God is everywhere even if with poorest, and not necessarily with rich people.]

These were not poetry sessions per se; only once in 2-3 years. Just as a passer-by says to another when they cross each other at North Corner.

The baton was passed. Somewhere.

The Relay was passed with:

  • On envelops used for postal mails, the address should always be in caps.
  • Completing (filling details in) a form manually should be in all caps, and well-legible.
  • I should read The Tribune. I fell in love with it.
  • For many years, I read Competition Master (A journal for competitive exams).
  • Dalton’s atmoic theory was my first science lesson that I learnt in English. (studied science in native language till VIII standard). I still remember the basic postulates of Dalton’s atomic theory that he made me learn and understand in 1989 (22 years back).
  • Any cheque that goes in a drop-box in bank should have my phone number on its back side, in caps.
  • For any cheque given to an individual or to a bank, I should have its photo copy with me, for reference.

The White Space

The baton was never manually handed over to me, nor the poems were recited (and appreciated, clapped, admired) in sessions. It all appeared like a white space on an agreement. You see white space, like space between two words or two paragraphs, or in page margins.

But spacebar is the longest key on any keyboard.

PS: For the complete series, please see: Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

April 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Posted in Leisure, We, the people

Tagged with , ,

Anytime. Indian Summer.

with 2 comments

It is summer in India and owing to electricity power shortage for many years in Punjab, power cuts have started. Even if these are scheduled, people are prepared to see the lights going OFF, anytime. Prepared Everytime. An individual may be having meals, studying, watering fields via a tubewell, or is checking emails. Clickkkk, and the power is gone. Interestingly, it can be restored back in same way. Unscheduled. Anytime. So, people are always prepared. Everytime.

  • Like a promotional text message on my phone. Anytime. I am prepared Everytime (to read).
  • Like a militant attack somewhere in India. Anytime. Forced prepared Everytime (to defend).
  • Like a 20 day old kid in her mother’s lap. Anytime. Mother prepared Everytime (to clean).

Or …

Like HIM, who is using his right to be missed Anytime. And Everytime.

When we shared physical space at home, I often avoided using His washroom. Because He could need it Anytime. As if he needed it Everytime. Till 23 February 2011. Wednesday. Now I can enter there Anytime. He always kept a water jug or bottle with Him for 15 years because He could need water Anytime. And He needed it Everytime.

Now, His absence is present with us Everytime. Like that water bottle. Everytime. We are prepared to let it fade away. Anytime. Because it will. And we are prepared to welcome it back. Everytime. Because it will. But in its absence, our backup is on. The Inverter. Unlike the electricity inverter that is charged by AC/DC, His inverter gets charged when I use his car. When Archit (my brother) comes back from work and does not stop at his room. And my mother, when she inhales oxygen. We carry this inverter like He carried the water bottle. Everytime.

I remember How He tried to have a single bite of food, in second week of February. The Will was there, the Wish too, the Skill too, but the body did not support it. Some *uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body* did now allow him. I googled to know more about this uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. All I could understand was that it can happen anytime. Like power failure. Doctors told us about his condition and we were prepared. Like a farmer is prepared. It may rain, it may not. The power may go off anytime. It may not.

How much pain He endured over the years, and particularly in last 5 months. Sitting on foot on bed. Not able to sit. Barely able to lie. Barely able to walk. No sleep. Little diet. Coughing. Oil massage. Heat treatment, Steam. Body ache. And Ivy. And at last the fortis (the hospital).

When I recall that, I try to read (what he said without words) unlike that unwelcome promotional text. I try to defend (mistook that he attacked) against the run of play. I try to clean (because it is helpless to clean itself). And it happens anytime. Anytime. I need to be prepared Everytime. I got a good inverter.

This is Indian summer.

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

March 31, 2011 at 5:05 pm

A Burger or a Missing Hand

with 4 comments

Few days back, I was sitting in a restaurant and a veg-burger was served on my table. I could see it right in front of me and after 10 minutes, it was not there. For 10 minutes, that burger was part of my atmosphere, like air, like sunlight, like space and matter. Now it was missing. It had done its job. It was not a constant in my life.

Soon, I noticed how a man just limped across the gate, and entered in. He had one hand chopped off and carried a baby in his other arm. He was cautious to stay balanced while moving around, before he settled on a table. “Did he miss his hand,” I wondered. How many times in a week, month or year does he think about his missing hand? No clue. May be sometimes. Since the missing hand did not complete its job.

It was NOT 03 December that day, so it was not a World Disability Day. But for some, it is always a disability day. For that man, the absence of hand might have become a constant. For him, every day is a disability day. Same way for last 26 days, every day had been a world disability day for us.

It was evening and a bit cloudy yesterday. While having a walk in a nearby park, we saw the moon playing hide and seek in clouds. We sat on a bench and saw different shapes formed in the clouds. As if a running dog (tail flying and mouth opened), or flying kite (with a long string). Both looked happy, as if doing their job well. The next moment I saw HIM in same clouds, looking at me. No words. Quiet. Still. Expressionless. Like a portrait of his picture clicked without his permission and without his notice. As he was on 22 February 2011 before he breathed last on 23 February. In spite of that, I sensed as if he wanted me to say something, to ask about his health. I wanted to.

I felt like that missing hand of that man (as if the job was incomplete).

26 days. Just as 26 alphabets can be rearranged and used to communicate anything, these 26 days have almost summed up our disability without Him. His eyes were devoid of any emotions. After all, space is always less, everywhere and so probably, he had too many wishes and plans to leave any space for emotions. I was not sure though. As I was looking at him, a plane flew across those shapes. It must be noisy there. Would he be happy for that noise (among Haria (his servant), Roorh Singh (his driver), his phones), or that He was missing his *silence* (Vinish)?

I felt water all over. In my eyes, throat, limbs. My wife asked me what was wrong. “Nothing”, I said.

Probably the dog was still running in clouds. And we walked back home. Me like that dog, and my wife like my wife.

Back home, I entered His room to switch off the room light. My heartbeat paused for a while. He was not there. Only the space. Silence again.

As if He was like that burger (as if he had done his job).

His absence has become a constant in our lives. Like a burger. Like the absence of that missing hand.

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

March 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Inheritance – The Silent Catalyst

with 11 comments

-> A foreman, a die-hard Roger Federer fan, lives in a 100 square yards sized house in a Melbourne suburb. Once she saw Federer at Sydney harbour and she got a chance to shake hands with the star. Yes, she cherished it. Federer’s support staff could not feel the joy that the lady felt.

-> I often see street dogs struggling to cross the road in Chandigarh because of increased traffic. Few years back, they could cross it with ease but now; the joy of getting something to eat from across the road is diluted because of the effort that they need to make (owing to traffic), to cross the road. Only that dog can feel the joy of enjoying the meal, after that effort.

-> I recall that the small pillars on our roof-top or the trees around our house would often welcome mornings with birds’ chirps. It was refreshing. But it is gone now. Open spaces being acquired by housing builders and corporate colonizers, polluted water and pesticides-infected fields… all these have inhibited the growth and harmony for nature and birds, to realise their wings.

But Nature has its own way to pay back. And sometimes parents are also like nature. or Nature is like parents?

As their kids (of parents or of nature), we inherit by default. We learn, we grow and we are inspired. Whether we say NO to so many of their advices, whether we talk or not about what we learn, whether we like or not what they eat and love, whether we are thankful or thankless to them… we inherit. The probable difference is that sometimes it makes noise. Or it happens silently.

ALL CAPS: During my graduation years in 1990s, there was no internet or emails. I used to write letters by hand (a few times I used to get these typed on a Remington), and post these to colleges, universities and different departments when applying for competition exams. I learnt that the address should always in caps. HE told me many times that the shape of letters and the height-width ratio of characters is very important while writing address on an envelope. I was also told to lend curves on letters so that these look like hand-written, and not devoid of emotions like typed font. Last week, I recalled the instructions while writing address on an envelope, it was in all caps.

Yes, it got internalized. I inherited it from HIM.

THE TRIBUE: I read only native language (non-English) newspapers till I was 12, and I started reading The Tribune (see when I moved to Chandigarh, in 1988. I was always fascinated by how much pride HE felt in reading TT. To write something in TT was a dream for me, and I wrote my first post in 1993–it was not published. Many more were rejected. (See My Firsts for detailed account). I never told anyone that I was sending posts to a newspaper, and I never knew that HE too tried it. Finally, I got one published The Tribune in 2000, and then there was no looking back. Only after He QUIT on 23 Feb 2011, that I found a newspaper in his cupboard. His prized possession that he too got his work published once, in The Tribune, in 1985.

I inherited it probably. And I could only gain. The inheritance of gain. Silently.
I felt like that foreman.

JOURNALISM: It was my destiny that I failed to qualify for an engineering degree. Because I was destined to study literature, because HE too studied it. I never planned it, never wanted it, studying literature. But I loved it later. You too Brutus, then Ceasar must fall (“Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar.”). I studied Mass Communication while in Job, in 2008, I never told HIM, I never felt it was required. Later I realised that he too studied Journalism in 1985. Was it in genes? How much I could inherit? I gained again. Silently. 

I feel like that dog.

WRITING A BOOK: I remember that HE expressed HIS desire to write a book. He would say – “I want to write *my reflections of life*. I am not surprised that HE wanted to write a book, because many people wish for the same. I am surprised that he did not. And I, after studying in native Punjabi language in school, I got time, space, skill, and the will to write a book in English, and it was published in 2006 (see when I write for detailed account). Now I can guess how much HE did love it, when I brought the first few copies home, of my own authored book, the day when it was published. HE picked up about 20-30 copies from the box, and distributed it to HIS friends and clients. Did HE see it as HIS success? Was HIS dream being realised? For me, it was again the inheritance. Of gain. Silently.

Is it about Nature (That nature made me pay back for our silent relationship)? Or Science (That some chromosomes were so transferred that I had to inherit it?)

In either case, I wonder how well the silence catalysed the process. No words.

And it stayed till his last days. In Feb 2011. When I was with him for few hours on 22 Feb 2011, when he tried to speak but could not. And I tried to understand but could not. We both struggled.

Neither Literature helped. Nor Journalism. Nor a Published Book.

I feel neither like that dog nor like those birds.

This is Nature. Paying back to us what we gave it. Silence. Period.

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

March 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm

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