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Udaan is the publication of the STC India annual conference, 2015, Pune. Tweet!

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Udaan

Udaan (उड़ान) is a Hindi word that means flight.

Michi, the conference mascot, inspired this name. You don't know about Michi? Read on, then, for her story.

Michi was a lonely little bird. She was new to the garden, didn't know anyone, didn't have any friends. Other birds were nice to her. They would let her be. No one talked to her and made her uncomfortable. No one really took notice of her. No one bothered her. They were indeed nice to her.

On particularly bright and sunny days, all birds would come out and play. They would play a game of flying high.. making circles and shapes in the air.. cutting each others' flight.. laughing at each other.. laughing with each other. They would spread their wings.. someone's orange, someone's blue, someone's red, someone's purple.. The sky would look alive and vibrant with all those splashes of beautiful colours. Oh, it was so much fun. It would be difficult to contain all that joy in those tiny hearts. All the birds would break into songs. Beautiful melodies would fill the air. The world would become a melodious little place. When everyone is enjoying what they do, it's an obvious thing to happen, is it not? The world turns into an enchanted paradise.

But, no, not for Michi... Michi would sit alone on a branch of a tree in the corner, waiting for her turn to fly. Waiting for someone to invite her to play. She would wait patiently. But nobody invited her. Nobody noticed her. How could they? She didn't have any vibrant colours on her feathers. She wasn't colourful like others were. She was a pale grey. Dull and boring. She didn't have a melodious voice. Her whistle was neither singsong nor loud. It was just there. Just like her. Existed, that's all.

Her wings were not strong either. She just couldn't reach the heights that others so effortlessly conquered. Living in shadows seemed simpler to little Michi. She never complained of these. She thought she was alright. But at times, she would feel very lonely and a little sad..for she had not yet found a song. A song of her own.

The days passed by. Someone was watching all this from a great distance. Without a word. It was the sky. It kept watching Michi in silence. For days after days. For seasons after seasons.

Waiting for her turn soon became a way of life for Michi. She would get bored with waiting. She would sit on the same branch of the same tree every day. She would wait sincerely and silently for her turn. She would keep watching others, and wondering how it felt to be like them. What else was she to do? She didn't have any options.

And then one day. One day, she noticed a flower bloom in a corner of the garden. She could easily fly and make friends with the flower, she thought. But...what if she left the branch and, right thereafter, someone came looking for her? To tell her that it was her turn? What if she missed her turn because she went to see the flower? Michi thought, and kept thinking. After a lot of debate in her head, Michi decided to give it a shot. After all, loneliness was quite boring.

She flapped her wings, and reached the flower. It was beautiful. Marvellous really. With all those dazzling colours and velvety petals! She smiled at the flower, and the flower smiled back. It was a warm and loving smile. The flower's name was Meraki. They got talking. Meraki said, looking at all those birds in the garden, she also wanted to fly. But she couldn't and that made her sad. Later she discovered a secret — that she owned a magic pot of gold and it was called honey. If she kept giving this sweet magic potion to others, creatures with wings kept coming to her. She didn't have to go see the world. She could easily get the world to visit her! Michi was thrilled to hear Meraki's story. With a surge of affection, Michi hugged Meraki, and.....lo andbehold! Meraki's colours rubbed on to Michi's wings!

Michi and Meraki both were amazed. Michi flapped her wings, swirled and twirled. She really wanted to see herself. Meraki shouted to her, "Go see yourself in the lake. Just run, run...the lake is over there." Michi instantly looked in the direction Meraki was pointing to. She didn't think twice. She didn't have to. She flapped her wings, and there she was, at the lake, to see herself. She peeped in the lake. And there! A gorgeous reflection of all her radiant colours. Michi just couldn't believe her eyes. She kept fluttering her wings so she could float in the air, soaking in her brilliant reflection.

The sky was seeing all this from above. It kept watching Michi in silence.

"Why do you look surprised?" Michi heard someone say. She looked around, but nobody was to be found.

"Who wants to know?" Michi asked politely.

"It's me. The Lake. My name is Styrka."

"Oh, hello Styrka," she said. "I'm Michi."

"I know you well, Michi."

"Oh, then you must know I was as dull as a grey cloud? But see, I hugged Meraki, and got these colours. Don't I look beautiful now?"

"You always looked beautiful, Michi. You always had these colours. You just didn't know it earlier. That grey was just the dust. Meraki's love scrubbed off the dust, and now you appear in your real colours — vivacious and vibrant. Don't you know? The grey of a cloud contains the blue of water, the green of leaves, and the countless colours of blooming flowers. All these colours were always inside you."

Michi looked at Styrka. She was speechless. She kept fluttering her wings without realising it. Styrka, the lake, respected her bout of introspection for a while.

"Your wings are tiny, Michi, but they are strong." Styrka said softly.

"Oh, well...I never get to use them much. I have to wait for my turn to fly" Michi answered coming out of her trance.

"You are not waiting anymore. You are floating at the same spot. If you move forward, you'll be flying. Your wings know their job well, Michi." Styrka was as kind as one can ever be.

Realising what he was saying, Michi planted a gentle kiss on Styrka's glistening cheeks.

"What made you so wise?" asked Michi.

"I don't really know", Styrka said. "I was once a very sad soul. I was sad that I cannot move, and I don't have a colour of my own. But then I realised, I have what others don't — my reflecting surface. I reflect everything around me...the trees, the creatures, the earth, and the sky...They see their own beauty in me and they become happy with themselves. They become happy with the world. They sit by my side, and share their innermost thoughts. So, umm...maybe, knowing everyone's thoughts makes me wiser."

Michi smiled. She was thinking of what Styrka had said. "Your wings know their job well." "Your wings know..." "Your wings..."

Michi didn't want to wait now. She really wanted to see the strength in her wings. She spread them at once and soared high. Up she went with all her might. The wind against her tiny body. Up she went, up, and up. Almost to touch the sky. Up she went, with her eyes closed, air under her wings...And yes! She really touched the sky.

The sky beamed with happiness, its eyes a little moist with joy. It had waited for long to greet Michi. Taking her in its arms, it quietly whispered, "Come home, my dear Michi. Now that you are here, you are sure to find your song."

Michi (Japanese): pathway.
Meraki (pronounced may-rah-kee; Greek): Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It's when you put something of yourself into what you're doing.
Styrka (Swedish): strength.

- Mugdha Kulkarni

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Guts and Glory

Head down, forehead wrinkled
Deep in concentration, better less said;
Pens flying across pages
Or fingers dashing on keys;
Dreaming of that ultimate goal
Guts and Glory is not free of toil!

Time when the do and undo is never ending
No single person around except you is bending;
Starting all over again without a regret
As long as the deadline is met!
Climbing the hill of monotony
Guts and Glory is not all about money!

Jumping the writers wall
Skipping a lunch, meal or even the ball;
Running, walking or crawling that extra mile
Yes, the glory – that beautiful piece of text
Is worth it all!

I am the Technical Writer
I have the GUTS and I deserve the GLORY!

A poem by Shanthi Balasubramanian

We named this magazine Udaan. The inspiration behind this name is the conference mascot, Michi, the bird who broke free of silos and found its true colours. When we discussed this idea with a designer friend, she designed a logo. The soaring braveheart that you see on the masthead of Udaan is a result of that endeavour.

To be the mascot of the STC India annual conference, Michi not only needed a form but also a slogan. So, we ran a slogan contest within the technical-writers community and Radhika Hari's was the winning slogan: Guts and Glory (more about the contest here). Inspired by the slogan, Shanthi Balasubramanian wrote a poem on the theme. Read the poem here.

Udaan was now ready to take shape. To give Michi the wind beneath its wings, we identified authors who could write inspiring articles, and chased them till they said "Yes" and turned in their writings. We then exhorted them to think beyond print and got them to create non-text artifacts. What you see now is the result of this group effort.

In the spirit of collaboration, the Udaan project is maintained at GitHub. Udaan is open source and free to distribute. Also, because Michi is all about breaking silos, Udaan has an ebook version and an audiocast version. All of these are at the Downloads page.

Udaan uses British English spellings, the Oxford comma, and sentence style capitalisation. Other style matters are resolved through this 100-year-old guide.

The intention was that Udaan be an interactive magazine that talks of weighty techcomm matters in a conversational, friendly manner. Tell us how we did. Tweet!


Udaan uses stylesheets and javascript that were sourced through the net. Acknowledgements are due to all of the helpful people who created and shared these artifacts:

Udaan used Audacity for post-production of the audiocast tracks, Sigil for creating the ePub, and Calibre for converting the ePub to a Kindle book. The QR codes for the print edition were generated at http://www.qrstuff.com/. Hyperlinks were verified through Xenu link sleuth.


To know about the people who made Udaan possible, read on. To read the articles, use the hamburger menu at the top of the page.

Authors Narrators Editors

If you move your cursor over the people boxes, some more text is revealed.


Authors

Alka Acharya

Alka is Senior Information Developer at BMC Software, Pune, where she designs and develops content for products in the Performance and Availability division. An engineer by education, she has a little over ten years of experience in technical communication.

Anagha Chandratrey

Anagha is a technical writer at Siemens, Pune. She has also dabbled in writing blogs, plays, content for websites, reviews, short stories, letters to the editor, and to-do lists.

Anindita Basu

Anindita is an editor with IBM, India. She has been a technical communicator since 2006. Her interests include DITA, languages, documentation process improvements, and Indology.

Asha Mokashi

With 16 years in Technical Writing and 7 years in teaching French, Asha believes she is fortunate to have benefited from diverse experiences. She is passionate about people, progress, and positivity. She manages a technical writing team across India, China, and the US at ARM Ltd, the world's leading semiconductor intellectual property (IP) supplier. She is responsible for documentation for two business units, developing her team, and growing ARM's Technical Communications presence in AsiaPac.

Basreena Basheer

Basreena is a technical writer with Tally Solutions Pvt Ltd., currently working on localisation of their flagship product, Tally.ERP9. She is an avid reader with an eye for detail, an ardent movie buff, and a die-hard foodie.

Meghashri Dalvi

Dr. Meghashri Dalvi has combined her love of writing with engineering and management experience to create a successful career in technical communication. She currently works as consulting technical communicator, researcher, and visiting faculty. You can reach her at meghashri@gmail.com.

Mugdha Kulkarni

Mugdha works with IBM as an information architect. She is passionate about minimalism, content strategy, interaction design, and user experience. Mugdha enjoyed being STC India's Pune city-rep for 2014 and 2015. She loves to play with kids and wants to write children's stories a few years from now.

Nibu Thomas

Nibu works with the technical publications team at GT Nexus, an Infor company. He's passionate about communications of any kind, and likes to think that the funny bone somewhere in his head has helped him stay out of trouble. In his attempts to think outside the box, he might have inadvertently opened a few. Pandora, especially, is still livid. He has many interests, but most of them are unprintable. Yes, even in an online edition.

Prajakta Pradhan

Mother. Writer. Editor. Home Minister. All roles in one. That’s Prajakta Pradhan. She loves to be busy at work, creating new documentation, editing the work of others, and conjuring something new. Inclined towards information mapping and minimalism, she has recently started learning design thinking, and is excited to use that in her writing and bring in some innovation.

Rajib Borkataki

Rajib is Information Engineering Manager at Avaya India Pvt. Ltd, Pune. He is an active member of the STC Pune chapter for more than a decade. He lives in Pune with his wife and son. He has an active social life and is associated with many socio-cultural organisations in Pune.

Rohit Nair

Rohit is the editor in the Language and Content (LnC) team at Tally Solutions Pvt Ltd. He loves the world of language and thoroughly enjoys his job as an editor. He also loves to read, write, travel, and he loves animals.

Samartha Vashishtha

Samartha is Senior Content and Community Lead with Adobe Systems, where he's primarily responsible for planning and delivering Help content for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Creative Cloud services. Samartha has previously spoken at international conferences on topics such as web communities, visual communication, and globalised content. Beyond work, Samartha is a published creative writer.

Sheece Baghdadi

Sheece is IDD manager at BMC. He has made his journey from automobile engineering to copywriting to technical writing. He is an avid practitioner and evangelist of minimalism. You can watch him in action at the conference doing the "Can you Haiku?" workshop.

Shivi Sivasubramanian

Shivi is an information developer at the India Software Labs of IBM. Her favourite aspect of being in this profession is that every day dawns with unique opportunities and it is so fulfilling! Shivi is a learning enthusiast and is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. When not at work, Shivi loves to spend time with her family that includes two super-active toddlers, and to rehearse light music.

Surbhi Chattkara

Surbhi has about 19 years of experience in the content services space across roles such as editing, writing, website content management, instructional design, technical writing, project management, and resource management.

Surbhi loves to play with words.

Suyog Ketkar

Suyog has been a writer for as long he can remember. In his career he has enjoyed playing varied roles like marketing-communications specialist, creative writer, and technical communicator. He currently enjoys preparing documentation for a product-based software company. He loves to talk about technical communication. In his work time, he is an in-demand (Yes!) writer. In his non-work time, he is — more than anything — a busy father.

Vinish Garg

Vinish is a co-founder of @In23Hours and @ContentHug, and a partner at vhite. He delivers value and joy to brands for their content requirements, whether technical communication (product knowledgebase), information architecture (business analysis and scoping), content strategy (audit, models, engineering, calendar), or storytelling (stories, pitching). He enjoys working with startups on idea validation, design, user onboarding, and storytelling.

Narrators

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Santosh Krishnamurthy

Santosh is a self-motivated guy who likes to read spiritual stuff. During his free time, you would see him reading a spiritual book or painting.

LinkedIn profile

Santosh plays "Ajay" in Prajakta Pradhan's play: Who is the user?

Prachi Karnik

The beauty of the written word, and languages in general, has always fascinated Prachi. After taking a engineering degree in Instrumentation & Control, and after working for almost 7 years in process control, she finally turned to technical documentation after a diploma in Technical Writing. Prachi is an avid follower and student of Hindustani classical music (vocal).

Nibu Thomas

Nibu works with the technical publications team at GT Nexus, an Infor company. He's passionate about communications of any kind, and likes to think that the funny bone somewhere in his head has helped him stay out of trouble. In his attempts to think outside the box, he might have inadvertently opened a few. Pandora, especially, is still livid. He has many interests, but most of them are unprintable. Yes, even in an online edition.

LinkedIn profile

Nibu narrates Rohit Nair's article, A day in the life of a technical editor, and Alka Acharya and Samartha Vashishtha's article, You too can patent.

Mihir Mishra

Mihir is an astronomy and astrophysics enthusiast, and usually spends his time reading scientific journals. He loves travelling, playing Call of Duty, and watching crime dramas. He's worked with NIIT Ltd. and Persistent Systems, and is currently with Avaya India Pvt. Ltd.

LinkedIn profile

Mihir plays "Alfred" in Prajakta Pradhan's play: Who is the user?

Mayuri Baruah

Mayuri is a simple person who loves talking and laughing. She moved into technical writing a year and a half ago, and is enjoying her journey so far.

LinkedIn profile

Mayuri plays "Preeti" and the narrator in Prajakta Pradhan's play: Who is the user?

Jolein Vadhariya

Jolein has completed her graduation in Chemistry, and mass communication and journalism from Mumbai University. She has written articles for the DNA and community magazines. She has 10 years’ experience in content development and has now moved to writing for technical documentation. She is a fitness freak and enjoys going for early morning walks. In her spare time, she loves to cook and spend time with her 3-year-old daughter.

Facebook page

Jolein plays "Manasi" in Prajakta Pradhan's play: Who is the user?

Deval Faldu

Deval is Associate Information Developer at BMC Software Inc. Before this, she was with WealthTree Advisors Pvt. Ltd. as a consultant and project lead. She made a career transition from finance to technical writing in 2012 after getting a diploma from Technowrites Pvt. Ltd. Deval holds a management degree with a major in Finance, and a bachelors in Commerce. In her free time, she likes to read fiction and watch movies.

LinkedIn profile

Deval narrates Basreena Basheer's article: It's a L10N thing.

Anindita Basu

Anindita is an editor with IBM, India. She has been a technical communicator since 2006. Her interests include DITA, languages, documentation process improvements, and Indology.

@anindita_basu

Anindita narrates Anagha Chandratrey's article: Commonly confused words.

Editors

If you move your cursor over the people boxes, some more text is revealed.

Anindita Basu

Anindita is an editor with IBM, India. She has been a technical communicator since 2006. Her interests include DITA, languages, documentation process improvements, and Indology.

Nibu Thomas

Nibu works with the technical publications team at GT Nexus, an Infor company. He's passionate about communications of any kind, and likes to think that the funny bone somewhere in his head has helped him stay out of trouble. In his attempts to think outside the box, he might have inadvertently opened a few. Pandora, especially, is still livid. He has many interests, but most of them are unprintable. Yes, even in an online edition.

Views expressed in the articles are those of their authors. STC-India may not necessarily subscribe to or endorse these views.


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