Category Archives: life

Career


Sapney kam bhi ho’n,

hain toh sahi.

Log kehtey hain sirf naukri kaafi nahin,

career hona chahiye,

passion zaroori hai,

aagey badhne ki hodh zaroori hai.

Aisa kyun hai lekin?

.

Kyun hai zaroori aage badhna?

Kyun nahin bas zindagi ke saath behtey chalo,

nadi ki taraah.

.

Raastey mein kuchh gaaon milenge,

jo basey hain iss nadi ke liye –

wahaan se shaant ho kar behtey chalo.

.

Milenge kuchh vaadiyaan aur pahaad,

zindagi ke utaar-chadhaav –

wahaan se apna raasta khud banaate hue nikalte chalo.

.

Saath mein hoga waqt khud ko aage badhaane ka,

career mein nahin,

zindagi mein.

.

Ghoomna kitaab’on mein basi duniyaa’on mein,

aur asli duniya ke koney-koney tak.

Rehna kareeb asli zindagi ke,

aur rakhna paas unn logo’n ko jo dilaatey hain yaad ke zindagi kya hai.

.

taraazu mein tola jaaye,

ek taraf career –

museebat’on se joojhta, stress badhaata hua;

aur doosre palrey par zindagi –

jo bula rahi hai hum sab ko,

iss nadi ki har boond ko choos-choos ke peene ke liye –

aur taraazu ke theek beech mein,

naukri se aane waali tankha,

jo deti hai saadhan ye zindagi jeene ke liye,

lekin ijaazat nahin hai isey jeene ke liye.

.

.

[Cross-posted on the new blog.]

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Filed under just like that, life, poetry, work

Weekends


Kal shaam ko socha ke bauhat ho gaya

zaroorat hai aaraam ki,

theek usee taraah jaise ek khaali canvas

jo hota hai ekdum kora

usey zaroorat hoti hai rang’on mein lath-path hone ki.

.

Rang – kabhi surkh laal, toh kabhi shaant neela,

sooraj se bhi peela, ya phir naani ke baageechey sa hara –

ya shaayad satrangi.

.

Haftey bhar office ka kaam,

aur kaam hi nahin, politics bhi.

Jo raajneeti chalaati hai desh ko,

office mein aa jaaye toh kar deti waisa hi bawaal,

jaisa hota hai jab gir jaata hai raaton-raat bana foot-bridge.

.

Kaam ka phal, miley ya na mile,

tankha toh mil hi jaayegi –

yeh keh kar apne aap ko saantvana do bhi toh kab tak?

.

Shaayad theek hi hai –

paanch din ka kaam, robot ki taraah,

aur robot bhi rajnikant waaala nahin –

woh toh hero hai, hum kahaan.

.

Paanch din ka kaam, aur phir do din ki zindagi –

Khud ke liye ye do din, bina salary ke

kitney zyaada achhe hain unn paanch dino’n se.

.

“Choose a job you love, and you won’t have to work a day in your life” –

yehi kiya tha, lekin phir kya hua?

.

.

[Cross-posted on the new blog.]

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Filed under just like that, life, poetry, work

Going somewhere, or already there?


I got one of those email forwards this morning, and for a change, it made a lot of sense. Or, at least, it made a lot of sense for me, personally. And I know it will for a lot of people I know. Including you, G.

So, the story is that once a boat docked in a tiny Mexican fishing village. A tourist got off the boat, and complimented the local fishermen on the quality of the fish they caught, and asked them how long it took them to catch all that fish.

“Not very long”, the fishermen answered in unison.

“Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch some more then?”, the tourist asked.

The fishermen explained to him that the fish they caught was enough to meet their needs and those of their families.

Unable to understand, the tourist asked, “But, what do you with the rest of your time?”

“We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children, and take siestas with our wives. In the evenings, we go to the village and meet our friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing a few songs. We have a full life…”

The tourist interrupted them, and said, “I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day, and you can sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat!”

The fishermen looked at him with confusion writ on their faces. “And after that?”, they asked.

“With the extra money that the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one, and a third one even, and so on until you have a fleet of trawlers! Instead of selling your fish to a middleman, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants, and maybe even open your own plant! You can then leave this little village, and move to Mexico City, or Los Angeles, or even New York City! And you can direct your huge new enterprise from right there!”

“How long would that take?”

“Twenty, maybe twenty-five years", replied the tourist.

“And, after that?”

“After that? Well, my friend, now that is where it really gets interesting!”, laughed the tourist. “When your business gets really big, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?”, asked the fishermen.

“After that, you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife, and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying yourself with your friends.”

“With all due respect, Sir – but that’s exactly what we are doing now! So, what the point in wasting twenty-five years?!”, asked the Mexicans.

The moral of this story? That if you know where you’re going in life, you may already be there!

Isn’t that just such a wonderful thought? I, for one, really need keep that in mind. The recent absence from the blog too was partly, along with some other reasons, because of me running. Constantly. Behind something. And everything. And lots of things.

I’m back, though, now. And hopefully, here to stay. 🙂

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Blah days


Do you hate that feeling as much? The feeling of wanting to write, but not being able to? Of randomly looking out of the window on the drive to office, and thinking of something that you want to write about, and then not having the time to even think about it again the whole day, let alone writing what you wanted; and then getting back home late evening and trying to think of what it was that had struck you that morning, now that you do have a little time, and finding your mind completely devoid of all ideas? I hate it. I do.

Weekends have been full of work too. And weekdays have been leaving me drained of all ideas, and zilch inclination to sit down and write some more. Most evenings are full of the kind of ennui that I detest.

Having long, tiring days at work are both, good and bad.

The bad days have me doing too many things, and not completing even one, and has my mind flitting between all the different bits of randomness. The day, then, ends with my mind still on overdrive, when I need to turn off the music in the car, or else listen to old Hindi film songs, and lean back with my eyes closed till the time I reach G’s office to pick him up. He’s been having hectic days too. His days even stretching into working from home till 2 a.m. most nights. Long days in office for him means me having to wait in the car below his office till he gets done with work. And then the drive back home, which, mostly, is just about ranting about the day.

Good days at work, of which now there are a few, have me writing – quite a bit. Thinking about each word and its meanings and context make for a fulfilling day, even with the craziness that surrounds.

And, there hasn’t been much that has happened apart from work, but friends there have been many. What better than a nice, chatty dinner with friends at home, after a crazy day at work? Having close friends that live a 5-minute walk away helps, of course. A swim would help too, but what with having a cold and cough a while ago, and then G getting a ear infection, then all the late evenings at work, and the swine flu scare – no swimming has happened for almost two weeks.

This post is turning into something almost morose, but it sure feels good to write. 🙂

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The loveliest dog in the world


 

Candy

Candy’s 20th birthday is on the 10th of April. In human years, that means a hundred-and-forty years. She died yesterday, on the 30th of March.

She was the loveliest dog in the world. So human that she’d understand facial expressions. The slightest raising of one eyebrow would make her cock her head to the right side and look at you, as if to ask what’s up?

She’d go thirsty for hours, but wouldn’t drink water from a bowl. You just needed to pass by, for her to get up and start prancing around the sink, looking all happy and hopeful that you’d stop and put on the tap for her. And then she’d happily drink fresh running water.

We’d take her for picnics and she’d run around in crazy circles till she was completely exhausted. And then she’d sit quietly in the car on the ride back home.

At this same picnic spot, there was this little lake with pedal boats. Candy saw Mom standing at the opposite end of this lake, and wagged her tail and jumped into the water – and swam across to reach Mom. Of course, then she got stuck since she couldn’t climb out from the water on to the cemented edges, and looked at Mom with panic on her face – till she was pulled out of the lake.

Even though we had a male dog in the house also, she didn’t ever get pregnant till she was 6 or 7 years old. And the first time that she did, none of her pups survived. I remember taking 4 days off from school because she’d trust me to look after her pups. Also becuaes she was never a very good mother – would just get up and walk away while her pups were still feeding. All of these pups from the first litter would start shivering one by one, and all the other pups would leave that one alone – and then this horrid coldness that I’ll never forget, would start creeping upwards from their paws, and slowly each of them would just die. I held most of them when they were dying, and cry with Candy. One night, exhausted with the crying, I went to bed and left Candy on her bed with the pups, in one corner of my room. Another of the pups started shivering, and Candy gently picked up the little thing in her mouth, came up to my bed and put her front paws up and whined and cried till it woke me up. And I woke up to see her standing with her dying puppy in her mouth, and her eyes asking me to help her babies. I’ll never forget that feeling of complete and utter helplessness.

Candy would always know if you were upset. I remember crying with her sitting next to me, licking me gently.

Her favourite food was fruits. All fruits, but especially mangoes and papayas. Also, roasted sweet potato. Though I always wondered how they were her favourites, since she never chewed anything. Would just open her mouth, grab the fruit you offering greedily, and gulp it down. All the dogs in our house got two meals a day. But one of us would always feed Candy at lunch as well. After finishing our food, we’d take an extra roti and feed her whatever it was that we were having. And she loved it. She loved paneer a lot too.

Through the last 20 years, we’ve had other dogs too. But that’s all they were – pet dogs. Candy was like everyone’s baby. And she knew that too. When we got our Dachshund pup home, she spent the first 3 days being scared of this almost-hairless little black thing with long ears and a straight long tail. And soon she was dragging him around the house with one of those long floppy ears in her mouth.

She’s been steadily growing old, but the last couple of years saw her getting thick cataract in both her eyes. Her hearing went. She could always smell as well though. She had trouble standing up. And would sleep a whole lot. But she never lost her puppy-like happiness and jumpi-ness ever. Except the last week.

My brother spent two nights sitting up with her, trying to put water with Electral in her mouth, through an empty syringe. He tried papaya too. It looked like she was getting better. Yesterday morning, Mom gave her her medicine and she went back to sleep. Her breathing was raspy. And then around 10:30 in the morning, Mom was told that Candy wasn’t breathing any more.

Mom and Papa went to the community park opposite our house, dug a hole near the back wall of the ground, and buried her.

We all miss her. I can’t imagine a lovelier dog than her. And I’ll always wish I could’ve gone home to Meerut and sat with her sometime in the last week.

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Filed under family, home, life, love, the critters

The King’s Dream


A friend I’d written about earlier wrote this on his blog last night:

 

The King had a dream, and it has been realized. I could never imagine it would be this soon.
Just 53 years ago a black woman was arrested because she wouldn’t stand up to give a white man her seat on a bus. Today a black man was given the highest seat in the country. 
Can you FATHOM the idea???
NOT to say that possibilities didn’t exist… but were they actually available and real and in the people’s minds? Hell NO!
People turned up and said – you know what.. we don’t care about color SO MUCH that we’ll go out of our way to mess with our country!
That is AWESOME on SO MANY LEVELS!
People CARED about Country!
People wanted to make a DIFFERENCE!
People BELIEVED in their ability to make a change!
People broke THROUGH the barriers of color!!!
Ask a black person what this means to them.
I just feel like so many things are possible! I love this.
You could over to his blog and read the complete text.
Meanwhile, yesterday I dropped in at G’s office on the way to somewhere else, and saw that he’d had the CNN website open on his laptop all day, along with whatever work he’d been doing. A colleague of his was sitting opposite the table, so I asked him if he’d been following the US elections. And the guy asked me if I knew who was the MLA from where we live, and then went on to say how strange it is that we don’t know who our MLA is, but we care about what happens in the US of A.
Now this is something that I have a problem with on many different levels. One, it’s really my choice – you know – who I want to know about, and what I really don’t care about. Two, we don’t live in a little burrow called India, and I think it’s now high time that we behave like citizens of the world. Be it the environment, industry, popular culture, or politics – why should we act as though only that which happens in India is what we will follow or subscribe to. That, to me, reeks of jingoism. And of being uninformed of what goes on in the larger world. And of being so blase that we just don’t care. And also a little bit of being EQ challenged.
There are so many bigger, brighter, stronger people in the world. So many more powerful things happening all over the world that we will never know about if all we care to know is who our local MLA is, before these other things. Which is not to say that one shouldn’t know about their local politicians, of course. But I just think that’s a very hollow argument to not know about something as big and bright and beautiful as this (Part I & II).
Last night, I had a bad backache and was stuck in bed, and so fell asleep at 11 pm. G was still pottering around, chatting with his dad, having a drink, reading. I figured he’d come to bed in another hour or so, considering we both need to wake up at 7 am now, since after I’ve started the new job. I woke up around 2 am, feeling thirsty, and saw his side of the bed still empty, and the bathroom lights on. So I called out, and he just shouted back to say he’d go to sleep soon, and I should go back to sleep.
He came to bed when I was drifting back to sleep, and nudged me awake to ask if I was still awake (!!) – I glared at him – and he said that he was still awake because he’d been reading Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, and that he just had to read it out me, maybe because he wanted me to experience what he just had. I heard him read the speech out to me, and I thought it was beautiful too. And, I know it’s just a speech – but it’s the kind that stirs you so deeply and completely. And it says a lot about the man who made the speech.
G also sent out a mail last night to family and friends – here’s a transcript of his mail, and Barack Obama’s speech:
I’ve just finished reading the speech and I had to share this, hence, this mail.
 
I’m neither a supporter of the American Dream, nor influenced by the ideas of the west on how the world should be run.
 
In fact, quite frankly I barely manage to catch the news, and at times, am so absorbed with what’s happening in my immediate surroundings that wouldn’t care much if the world burned. There’s so much to do, so many problems to sort out at home and work, personal stuff – that all of this just absorbs me completely.
 
So who really cares what happens in another part of the world where an election is on and a person who I know little about is being elected president?
 
I heard an annoucer on the radio say in the morning today, while driving to work, that Obama had won, and for some reason I wanted to know if it was true. So I reached office and went online to check, and confirmed that he had in fact won.
 
And since then, I wanted to know what he had to say on being elected president of a country I don’t particularly care for.
 
Shared below is the verbatim text of the Victory Speech Barack Obama gave today, and even though my logical head says he has a lot to prove with what is ahead for him, I think this is probably the most amazing speech I have ever read, reflecting the true meaning of Democracy, at least for me.
 
Read on…

 

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation’s next First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us  to the White House. And while she’s no longer with us, I know  my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office.

We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead.

For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep.

We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.

And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity.

Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends…Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much.

But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

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Filed under life, quotes, thinks

Segregation by sex


A lady who used to live in our building, passed away today. We didn’t know her personally, probably never had even seen her, but when we heard there was a small memorial service in the community hall of our housing society, we decided to go and pay our respects.

So, we walked up to the community hall and entered to see that men sat neatly to one side of the hall, and women sat on the other side. This is something I’ve seen so often – in memorial services such as this one, in wedding ceremonies, havans and poojas – and it surprises me each time.

Of course, I don’t follow the segregation and sit anywhere. My whole family doesn’t subscribe to it either. Like, G sat with me today, and not in the men’s side of the hall. In fact, both of us sat almost in the middle of the two sides, towards the back. My father or my brother would’ve done the same too.

What surprises me though is how diligently this is followed. I saw one elderly man come in with a woman – maybe his wife, or maybe a daughter-in-law. She was looking towards the front of the hall as she walked in, so maybe hadn’t noticed the segregation, and where she was “supposed to” sit. The man she was with sat down in the men’s side, and as she was following him, he very properly and dismissively pointed out where she was supposed to go sit. And so she went and sat in the women’s side, of course.

Why the segregation, is my question. And, does it happen all over the country? Does it happen in other countries as well? It obviously started from the segregation of “one” sex, from “the other”. Simone de Beauvoir points out in her book The Second Sex that the male has traditionally been “the one”, and so by default, the woman is “the other” or the second sex. It’s amazing how such segregation becomes such a part of our everyday culture/life, and how it seeps so deep in, that it isn’t even questioned.

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