The World Is Turning Upside Down

I thought I heard clocks resetting

Turning time back by the hands

Turning it to a long time ago

I thought I heard it start and stop

Start and stop

But I could not have been more wrong

Because the world is turning upside down

And I fail to understand

How no one else is hurt

Because only my feet are off the ground

As the world turns upside down

The clocks weren’t resetting

Time is garbled, going mad.

Because the world is turning upside down

Why don’t the others understand?


Reality is unkind. We face it, over and over, and it jolts us awake, making us realize how fickle and futile life and our attempts to live it are. Sometimes it’s death that sets us thinking about life. Death – another face of reality, the coldest one.
There was more I wanted to write on this subject. I’m deeply saddened today. But I cannot find the words. Not the right ones. I’ll leave you with this.

“When my time comes, forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
And don’t resent me, and when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory, leave out all the rest.”

You will be in our memory, and you will be missed.


My Solo Trip Debacle -or- My Eat Pray Love Fiasco -or- (simply) My First Solo Trip

Choose Your Own Adventure books are quite popular. So for this post, I guess you could Choose The Title You Prefer. Because the post is about such a non-adventure, I had to give my reader something!

What feels like aeons ago, I quit my first job, packed my bags, locked my one-bedroom rented flat, returned the keys to the landlord, and moved to Bangalore. In the first three months, I had lived in four different residential areas, across the length and breadth of the cit Silk Board Junction. The first was a hostel of sorts. As I tried to figure out the various “mains” and “crosses” that make up the labyrinthine layout of the city, I noticed a restaurant that started using as a landmark to remember the way.

Much later, I made a huge move in my career, and thus began what I will always refer to the best phase of my professional life. Right before my transfer to the new team, the old team members and I decided to go for a short trip. We stopped on the way at this little dusty, nearly invisible bakery for breakfast. The breakfast was fine, but what I remember most is all of us laughing a lot. A lot! I don’t even remember the joke, but that memory brings a smile to my face.

The whole world, it seems to me, is “embarking on a journey of self discovery”. I am not used to doing a lot of mainstream stuff that involves me burning a crater in my pocket, but this year that’s all I seem to be doing. I bought an iPhone recently, which caused one of my best friends, a Nexus-wielding knight in sports-label clothing, to give me the nickname “iSheep”. Now while it is one of the cuter nicknames I’ve earned over the years, I don’t like to think of myself as one of those sheep-ly people.

Why then did I go on this utterly sheep-ly activity of a solo trip? Because I was curious and determined and damn near egoistic about my introverted abilities of staying out of the company of other human beings. Plus, while I love travelling, I got a little tired of waiting for everyone to be free at the same time.

Those who know me know that my dream destination is Paris. Yesterday, a Buzzfeed quiz told me I was anti-romantic, but oh, hell, no, I want Paris. The wine, the air, the love in the wine and the air (Fuck you, Buzzfeed Quiz). Here’s the thing though – pisspoor people like me don’t go to Paris. So I chose a place that, if nothing else, had street names beginning with “Rue de la lalalala”. I went to Pondicherry (yes, I know, that sounds sad in comparison, but it’s a lovely place)

So I packed my bag and set off, feeling for the first time since second grade like a “grown up”. I went to the bus station and asked the clipboard guy where to wait for the bus, and he told me to “wait near that bakery.” A few minutes later, I realized it was the same bakery where I had breakfast with my friends a few years ago. Things were looking up. This is a sign, I thought to myself.

Then the bus went around half the city picking people up. Interestingly, one of the stops was near my old hostel, right in front of the restaurant I had noted as a landmark. My mind went into some kinda cosmic-sign-philosophy-overdrive, and words like “Retrace”, “Odyssey”, “Cleansing”, “Independent”, “Journey”, “Enlightenment”, “Find Yourself” and other jargon appeared like blips, like on the Ghost Radar app. So excited was I about the whole “on my own” thingy that even peeing in a public restroom made me do a little celebratory dance (yeah, don’t ask).


That was the view from my room. Quite breathtaking. I stared long and hard at the early morning sea and thought to myself, “This is really where a person can think.” More daydreams followed, of me sitting in a chair facing the sea, writing pages upon pages of my next book, with biographers lining up to find out more about the reclusive author who can only write while facing the ocean.

A few hours later, it hit me. I was not writing. I was not looking at the beach either. I was not even thinking. I was just, sort of, simmering. Like soup. It made no sense. I realized I had more thoughts in my head while on the toilet seat, or in the shower. Not quite in a hot cottage, feeling kind of immobile, cos the lady who owned the place had four dogs. Call me a monster, but I don’t like dogs. They scare the shit out of me. Don’t you remember what happened to Thalia? From And The Mountains Echoed? So I stayed put in my room. There was the beach right there, but instead I chose to get coated in sweat and dust.


Then I thought maybe I could go all spiritual, hmm? I went to Auroville, a place where others have found wisdom generally found in the snowy peaks of Himalayas, or that pond in Kung Fu Panda 2. I won’t lie to you – it’s an amazing place and you must go there sometime if you get the chance. But here’s the thing:

I’ve never been very spiritually inclined.

I was determined to make this work, nevertheless, like a little soldier. But while other people somberly marched up that giant golden ball, seeking inner peace and all of that, I went “Whoa! Cool! This is like the Cerebro!” And while other people seemed to be taking their meditation session very seriously, I spent my time trying hard to focus while marvelling at the crystal in the centre of the hall, staring at others, trying to control my laughter because the gentleman behind me began to snore – in short, everything but meditate.

I mean no disrespect. It’s a wonderful community, but I am just not the right person to appreciate it. Correction – I do appreciate it, just not in the way it was intended to be.

I went back to my cottage feeling rather let down by the whole “solo” experience. I craved company and realized, maybe I’m not so anti-company as I thought I was. I most definitely function better with other, than I was doing on my own. This, certainly, was some kinda revelation to me.

And I can’t say the trip was wholly without adventure. I discovered that I can frame an entire question in Tamil, thereby impressing the locals who until then had taken me for a bewildered tourist. Of course, it’s a whole other matter that I did not understand a word of their answer. But nonetheless.

So, did I attain the nirvana that I had hoped? No.

Will I go gushing to my friends about how solo travel changed my life (till they hatch a plan to murder me)? No.

Will I go on another solo trip? As much as I love travelling, and as much as this seems to work for so many people, I don’t think I’m one of those people. So, Maybe no.

But Pondicherry’s cool, right? Oh, yes, definitely! Take sunscreen.



Of Regrets In Love

You remember being young and reckless, never hurt, never believing you ever would be. You remember shouting out to summer winds and winter blizzards about having lived a life with no regrets. You know now that you were wrong. That you are only now learning what regrets truly are. And you’re learning what regrets are not.

You learn regret isn’t that pang caused by unannounced flashbacks to those one night stands that drenched you fibre by fibre in shame and guilt. They peel off.

Regret isn’t that one-sided love affair you, when you built a sculpture of someone who did not exist, except in your imagination. You put the sculpture on a pedestal so high that the sun hurt your eyes when you looked at it. Regret isn’t loving that someone. It isn’t not telling them how you feel. It isn’t telling them either.

Regret isn’t a missed chance – two people in love with each other on either ends of a timeline.

Regret isn’t being with the wrong person. There are no regrets in lessons you learn, no matter how long it took.

Regret isn’t even sleeping next to the one person in this world who makes you feel the loneliest every single night, even when their breathing patterns are as familiar to you as your own…

Regret is having to make yourself forget the world exists, day by day, second by grating second.

Regret is having to listen to the loudest music, so you can’t hear the pain of your bleeding heart.

Regret is getting a whiff of a familiar fragrance, and having to shut your eyes against the tears that threaten to spill.

Regret is burying yourself in a pile of books, just so you could shut reality out, live in a warm world of fantasy, where the dragons are real within the pages, and outside is something that momentarily stops being.

Regret is forcing yourself to think of the worst memories you had with that one person you miss every day, because sometimes happier memories threaten to appear like shooting stars across your dark thoughtscape. You cannot let that happen. You think. All the time. Even when you’re talking to people, you’re immersed. Elsewhere. Constantly thinking. You lose yourself in your own thoughts, because the din of the real world keeps rising like a tide, and you would do everything in your power to keep it down. You think, so that you don’t have to think.

Regret is wearing the truth like skin, that you had everything you wanted, but you chose to be a coward. That’s the skin does not shed. Like the cells that never regenerate. Truth, stuck to you like a migraine-causing odour.

Regret is knowing that happiness comes in small black boxes, like surprises that you least expect. And once you foolishly let go, it’s gone.

Barters and Back Scratchers

**Rant alert**

Probably not the best way to end the year, but what would you rather have, that I rant at the end of the year or the beginning of one? Either way, this was gonna come pouring out like acid one day or another.

Ok, maybe acid was a little harsh. There is a lot of noise in my head about this topic. I don’t quite know where to begin this post, so why don’t you read this insightful post by Shailaja V on her blog, and come back here so that I can start… you know… ranting.

Hi again. Glad you decided to come back. Hope you liked that post. Now let me give you a bit of an outline as to what ticked me off. Several things do, but I mean in the context of blogging, microblogging and all those jazzy social media thingies. A little something about me: I love travel pictures and travel blogs. I go hunting for travel pictures on Instagram to drool over them; it’s just something I do. I like most of the pictures that show up on my Instagram feed because they are beautiful. Anyone who I’m following on IG knows this. By ‘like,’ I mean both what it means in English as well as what it translates into in Social Media lingo. Sometimes I do miss out on posts. Now, it so happened, on one of the days I ‘liked’ someone’s picture. Immediately, she/he ‘liked’ one of mine. Now this is someone who had ignored all of my posts until then. I don’t know what it was about this “I liked your picture only because you liked mine, and I am only returning the favour” attitude that pissed me off to monumental heights. Well, clearly, I have some extreme emotions.

From that day on, I tried as hard as possible to not ‘like’ her/his posts even accidentally. I didn’t want a like-barter. Eventually, I couldn’t bear the stress (I am so dramatic) of swerving around the person’s posts that I unfollowed her/him. That’s my solution to everything. Until one day, the same thing happened on Twitter, this time with someone else, when I went on an all out rant fest. Exhibits below:

Now. Let’s come to blogging, shall we?

I started blogging in 2008, but I wasn’t regular until 2012-2013 (that does not stop me from boasting about the fact that I started in 2008). Back then, it was a sparse world. Most of the comments we received were from non-bloggers (something that sounds almost unheard of these days), and no one left inane comments like “nice. pliss read my’s. URL.” It was still good even in 2012-2013, when I discovered indiblogger for the first time – a platform where you can share your posts, and other bloggers promote them or vote for them. I was a little gullible then, and when someone said “nice, please read mine now” I actually believed my post was “nice” and I obediently rushed to read theirs.

I discovered some great blogs on indiblogger. Eventually I learned some of those telling me my post was “nice” had not even read it. It’s an instinct you develop over time – you learn such things. The naivete that comes from being a blogger from the year 2008 soon wears off. I will also admit that I learned a few tricks and spent some effort finding out who those accounts were that did exactly that which pisses me off today (read tweet rant above) – the backscratchers, a vote for a vote. Let’s face it, I am only human and I wanted my name on that home page (something that has not happened ever since I grew some integrity). I hang my head in shame today that out of every vote I received for every time a post of mine made it to the top, only few of the voters really read them. I voted for others anyway, cos they were helping me reach the top. Like I said, only human, and hanging head in shame now.

Reiterating: I discovered some great blogs and bloggers through indiblogger. As of now, even my Facebook friends list has more bloggers than people I went to kindergarten with. Although, forgive my honesty, great bloggers on indiblogger are now a thing of the past. The new blogs have posts like “Latesht hot piks of Katrina Kaif” and I’m sitting here like, can’t that just be googled? Or hate-filled, political ones, cos yes, let’s divide the country, that sounds like fun (there I said it!). In fact, I think it was when I saw one of those “hot pics” posts on indi that I got real pissed – mammoth pissed. Come on, I am from an ancient time when we had real readers and we strove to create real content that was not copy-pasted! When we could share stories inconsistently, and whenever we felt like it, because we wanted to, not because we had to, not because we had an audience of fucking Yes Men to maintain.

It was then that I decided that enough was enough. Blogging is a responsibility, and not one I take lightly. I did not want “top Indi post” anymore. I was not going to sit and read (yes, I did read every post I ever voted for, whether I commented or not) through terrible grammar and useless content and trashy riffraff just because they might do the same for me (they don’t, of course, that’s just what they want us to think). I visit a few blogs I trust will be good, like those of my good mates over at the B-A-R or the ones I discovered during my early days on Indi. I still comment only when I feel I have something worthwhile to add.

So to the folks that think I will scratch your back: I don’t want your barters, and your fake niceness. I don’t have time for your meaningless drama and nothing puts me off like bad grammar. I am not a butterer and I can see through your bullshit like a bullet that pierces through its target’s heart. I don’t want you to share my posts on Twitter only because you think I will share your empty-headed or venom-filled posts in return. Because guess what, I am choosier than that.

Irony is, all those I’ve called out in this post are still gonna vote for me without even reading a word of this. LOL.

The Mandatory Birthday Post – That I Almost Forgot To Share

Every year, I share a post on my birthday in which I analyze all the times I goofed up that year and list down more ways in which to goof up the coming year. I almost forgot to write one this time. Maybe because I did not goof up at all this year.

Ha-ha! Hahahahha! Ok, moving on.

In all honesty, this year was a good year (jinxing it by saying so). I feel like someone who’s accomplished some stuff. Nothing major, I mean, they haven’t called me about my Nobel yet, but still.

My birthday posts in the past have led people to shun my blog entirely or just be pissed off in general. For those of you who don’t know, for most part of my 20s, I suffered from major clinical depression, a condition I used to write about through years 26-28, it may have been that some of my birthday resolutions included something on the lines of, “At least one successful suicide attempt this year.” I had to take down my posts because my family “felt offended” by it and felt it should not be spoken about on a public platform, cos chaar log problems. I should not talk about MCD in the past tense, because one can never assume it will not come back – I still have grey days. But because I have seen the worst of it, the least I can do for myself is laugh at myself. Which I do, quite successfully, if I do say so myself.

But I am glad to say that at age 29, I don’t feel like making that resolution, because, as I mentioned before, I have accomplished some stuff this year, and learned (?) some stuff (I think).

From: Wikipedia
From: Wikipedia

If you believe internet listicles, there’s a lot of stuff you’re supposed to do before you turn 30. Clearly, like every deadline, I have waited for the last minute, and now I feel there’s too much pressure on me. At 29, I have only one year to do utterly bizarre things like waltzing with a penguin in Antarctica and taking a leak on Mt. Everest, next to a flag that I planted. Fingers crossed for all that, but before that, a recap:

A lot of people are complaining that 2015 is rushing by too soon. I am inclined to agree but as I look back, I feel it wasn’t all that short. One of my resolutions for year 27 was to travel more (travelling is the new losing weight!). This year, I travelled quite a bit around south India. Even TripAdvisor seems shocked by my activity! And Instagram is wondering why I am behaving like everyone else. Though I would like to travel more, a lot, lot, lot more, I feel like I’ve taken the first step – especially because I didn’t completely go the “Check these touristy sites off the list” way.

In terms of blogging, I made one major goofup. Actually I don’t know if I can call it so, because I like this interface a lot more than what I was used to before. But I have lost a lot of readership – down to 1/10th. Does it matter? That’s up for debate [subtle hint – read me more, I am awesome. Pretty please.].

One more thing is I am not writing as much fiction as I used to – a fact that worries me, but not overwhelmingly so (yet). Poetry seems to have died entirely. That worries me, and yes overwhelmingly so. I’ll wait and watch.

But on the plus side, BlogAdda included my blog in their Top 5 Creative Blogs list for WIN ’15. I was exhilarated when that happened, because (entirely without pretense and exaggeration) I never thought that would ever happen. Ever. And I finally understood why they say during the Oscars “It’s such an honour to just be nominated” because the other 4 people on that list were big shots! It was a humbling moment.

There’s more I want to say about that though. Now, I am not a big believer of zodiac signs as such. But they say Scorpios are vengeful. I have always known I am more of the passive aggressive types (how sad), although you have to admit, the notion of being all vengeful with flaring nostrils has a certain romantic appeal. When people I know learned that I blog, I had some outspoken detractors. Some who said I would never write anything worth reading. One person openly said he would stop reading books if I ever – haaye raam – got published. I don’t know what makes people so openly mean, but apparently something can. When BlogAdda announced its nominees, the first thing I wished was to see the faces of those people. Maybe I am a little vengeful?

Speaking of being published – I self published my poetry in June this year. A poem I wrote on my 28th birthday got published in an anthology, and a story of mine got published in an anthology of love stories. Yet another one got selected for a women-centric anthology. I am considering another project, which also I will self-publish (I am not ready for the big ones yet, but I’ll get there – as soon as I stop procrastinating!). So that’s probably the first thing I’ll do this year. I am really glad the guy I mentioned earlier will now stop reading books – people like that should have no access to them anyway.

Yet another subtle hint: Buy my books, y’all.

Another accomplishment is the sheer number of books I read in the past year. I don’t do those goodreads challenges, because this isn’t Roadies, and there’s nothing I want to “prove to myself” (dafuq does that phrase even mean?!) but if I had set a number, I would have definitely crossed it. Hell, exploded over it! And the sheer variety – I read only indie stuff till April, and after that I read nearly everything from drama to literary to erotica to horror to fantasy. Pulitzer winners, Man-Booker winners, Nobel winners, everything. I think I am shocked at how much I read this year – touchwood, no jinx, shut up *spits thrice, throws salt over shoulders* At least this I have to credit to the death of my laptop. Hence proving – technology dying can be a good thing. (Also, shoutout to anyone planning to buy an ASUS device – my laptop was merely months old when it died, still in warranty but could not be fixed by the service centre guys – I lost everything. Just saying)

After all that, you’d think I would take a year off just to chill. But listicles tell me otherwise, as I already mentioned. Also, I have not yet been featured on any 30 under 30 lists, so I have to do something (desperately) to change that. So I am gonna go meditate on that for a bit. If you need me, I’ll be on top of Mt. Everest squatting next to a flag.

All That And More

Feeling a little silly putting up my own pic

Dreamer. Chashmish. Loves make-up. Reads for pleasure. Short-haired. Short-tempered. Carelessly dressed on Sundays. Owns some gorgeous saris and loves designing her own kurtas. Impulsive. Contemplative. Can’t (or doesn’t care to) follow maps. In love with genetics and literature. Formerly in a relationship with trigonometry. Ridiculously naïve for this century. Yet trusts no one. Hates vegetables (and all things healthy) and in a complicated relationship with onions. (Still) rebellious daughter. Fiercely protective mother. Forgetful wife.  Multitasker.  Decent cook. Does not follow politics much. (Hence) loyal friend (also, otherwise!). Writer of horror stories. Trying to bandage broken hearts with poetry. Also sits at a work desk from time to time writing technical documents.

I am all that. And a little more. And a little less. Perfectly imperfect and imperfectly perfect. In love with every flaw I have and proud of every quality that defines me. 
But I wasn’t always this (forgive me, I only jest) boastful. There have been times when I have been bitter enough about my being a woman to actually wish I was not born one. For one, nearly everything a woman does is frowned upon in this country. It could be as simple as entering a new building and asking someone where the restroom is.  Why snigger? Just cos you can pee on the road if you want to? Then there are the little, yet significant things that happen at work. Like the time I did not get promoted (though I was due) cos I was pregnant. Presumptuous environments that we work in, they assumed I would either quit, or that I would not be as devoted to my role as I was before. Or when I re-joined, I was asked to start from scratch. Unfair? Yes. But what was more unfair was when I discussed this situation with a senior colleague, whose appalling response was, “Of course that’s the right thing to do! You have been away for a while. You might have forgotten how things work.” Oh I see, thank you for putting it in such delightful words.
It was pointless to argue. All I could do was move on. And that’s what I did. Today, I am in a better team, with better people and guess what! I even get more time to spend with my son. A happier environment = a happier employee at work = a happier person at home = happy mom + happy writer = happy everything (with occasional happy meals from McDonald’s!)
Oh come on! Don’t give me that look. Enjoy some junk food. Yes, it’s bad and yes all those memes and youtube videos tell you horror stories about how they mistreat hens or how they’re serving you rat meat. Remember in school when your teacher told you chewing gum was made of cow and goat bones? Urban legends. Read and get over it. What would you rather do – bite into that juicy, yummy (my keyboard is wet at this point) steak or starve yourself to fit society’s definition of “perfect”. What’s unhealthier? The occasional cheese burger or starving yourself so that your bones that look like they are the point of breaking out of your skin? You define your own perfection. Food is God. Let’s not be atheists at this point cos God sure is tasty. (I hope you don’t find that offensive, big guy). 
Food reminds me – who says you’re a “proper woman” only if you can cook well. One must cook for the love of food, or for survival. Learning to cook is just great whether you are a man or a woman. Donning an apron is simply wow. But it should not be a mandate BECAUSE you are a woman. I love to cook, and I am decent enough when I want to be. But the minute you tell me “You have a job. Career-oriented woman, huh? You probably can’t cook,” you won’t ever find out if you’re right, cos I won’t be serving YOU any dinner.
Women are taught from the youngest of ages that they are somehow not up to par as their male counterparts. Ever heard a baby boy being told, “Stop crying like a girl”? If, as a woman, that does not sound derogatory to you in at least a small way, then you need to do some soul-searching. Ever heard a strong baby girl being told, “Oooh! You’re as strong as a boy!” Right, cos men are so strong that they deliver babies and all, all on their own, unlike women who can accomplish no such miraculous feats. Oh wait! 
To all those who tell little girls to be as strong as a boy – here’s the thing – you’re telling your baby girl she’s inferior when she’s actually not. Why bring women up with such a mindset?
It’s truly strange too, that girls look up to their moms and wanna be like them, but boys never wanna be like their moms. No matter how much they love their moms, they just wanna grow up to be “men”. 
Women are strong and delicate. I am strong and delicate. You are strong and delicate. You and I are all that AND MORE.

-Here’s me, reporting live from the blogosphere, writing this post and convincing a three year old that 10 pm is an appropriate time to put away the toys for the day. Hair has been pulled in retaliation by said three year old, and an attack on the keyboard ensued. Little boy has been pacified and put to bed, and I am hitting Publish. With a smile – dedicated to all moms, daughters, granddaughters, chefs, doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, Catwoman, Superwoman, Juliet, Princess Leia, Laila, bold, shy, whathaveyou! Because you, sweethearts, are all that and more.

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.

Naani’s Little Nuskha

I was never one to have a role model. Nor did any singular event influence my life (that kind of drama only happens to Abhishek Bachchan, whose life changes if he discovers the complex mechanism of moving his limbs while being able to talk on the mobile phone at the same time!) So, I am not gonna say that my grandmother told me the story of how she was the best wife the world had seen and all of Ekta Kapoor’s good wives’ characters were based on her (and Jane Jetson and Wilma Flintstone also) and how that changed my life and now I am the next successor to that great legacy. Because if she had told me that story, then clearly it had no influence whatsoever on me (really – ask my husband, he’ll tell you).
But she did tell me a bunch of little stories about the stuff you use in the kitchen. (Why, you ask? Because there was a time I used to cook. Cos I liked it, not cos I was asked to.) Unable to see her granddaughter crying buckets of water because she chopped her finger off accidentally was chopping an onion for the first time, naanisaid, before you chop the onion, put a piece of it in your mouth and chew it. Slowly.
Warning: Do not try this at home/mountains/wilderness/wherever. People will eat your food, but will stay away from you till the time you have washed your mouth seven times with mouthwash, hopped on one leg around a sacred tree, and jiggled your hips to please the dental gods.
It may have been placebo, but for me, granny’s tip worked!
Note: It may have been placebo, because granny had some funny (borderline superstitious) ideas about some food and ingredients. She once told me that if I ate a lot of raw coconut, it’d rain on my wedding day. Partially, because I did not believe her and partially because I wanted it to rain on my wedding day (please look at the name of my blog for further details) I ate coconut whenever she grated it. Despite my best efforts, I got married on a very hot December day. No, the wedding was not in Australia; it was in Kerala. December had defected to a different party that year, that’s all.
Placebo or not, naani’s little nuskha worked for me. When it stopped working, people suggested the fancier and less stinky option – chewing gum (to be chewed while cutting onions. Do not swallow (if you did not already know that, please do not use sharp objects like knives or nail-cutters)). But for a long time I could happily chop onions without ganga and jamuna baho-fying from my innocent (damn right, they are), contact lens waale,short-sighted eyes because I traded tears for a stinky mouth… 😀

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