Halloween gone wrong…

“Tonight, some one is going to kill us. Pick us off one by one, when we least expect it, when we think we are safe in our cozy dorms, snuggled up to our furry feline friends; the killer is going to come unnoticed, sneak up on us and before our cats can even raise an alarm, bury a hatchet in our brain and watch in rapt fascination when tissues of grey matter squiggle out of the only deep opening in heads.” I said in a silent whisper, hoping that I sound menacing enough to scare the girls.

“Ahhhh” I hear two, satisfyingly, loud intake of breaths just as Fuschia, my Persian cat, snuggles up to me demanding a belly rub.

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“Jasmine, you can do better than that. Come on, this remotely sounding prophetic statement wouldn’t scare an 9 year old, forget 19 year olds.” Laura, my nemesis, spoke clearly exasperated by our incompetence to scare each other.

But then again, I knew she had it in for me. From her ordinary mousy brown hair to her spectacled black eyes; from her evident poo belly to her H&M’s clearance sale clothes; Laura was not the type who would be asked out on a date even if she were the last girl in the dorm. Continue reading

Women and the big “O”

It was not like I do not know what Rita Faria looks like; I have been following her on Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler and Facebook for almost a year now. I am painfully familiar with the uneven arch of her eye brows, that stubborn right side molar which grows above another tooth and makes her smile look crooked enough to be called charming; the growing concentration of white hair near her perfect cowlick. And yes, her eyes, those deep grey irises that stare right through your soul and extract secrets you were not aware existed.

And yet, when I stand waiting here outside Starbucks, I can’t help but feel anxious that I might have missed her somehow. Maybe, just maybe today she might have chosen to wear jeans instead of her regular skirts. Or maybe her upper body appears heavier in pictures than it is real life. Or maybe her long, fiery red hair is actually deep brown and it is the trick of light that make them look flaming.

Lying in the sheets

I must have been waiting for almost fifteen minutes, when I see her walking towards me. If anything, my anxiety is heightened when I notice that her hair is as flaming red as it is in her pictures, her breasts are just as round and full and yes she is wearing a skirt that highlights her long, toned legs in grey pumps. Continue reading

The Mistaken Barista

Massive glass doors fly open as he enters, shrouded in bright sunlight, beige chinos and blue cashmere hug his chiseled form. He looks nothing less than a modern day Apollo. A God that deems fit to walk this realm of mortals. He walks straight towards me with purpose and a wide smile on his glorious face, his perfect teeth glowing like tiny stars and his eyes are deep blue gateways into the vast universe.

My world stands still as I clutch my apron, until my fingers turn blue and prick of a sharp nail brings me back to reality. Yet, I can’t keep my eyes off that heavenly specimen of mankind. I lick my lips and bite my lower lip hard, and his lips twist into a naughty smirk. His strides are decisive and he walks with the air of someone who always gets what he wants. Somehow that knowledge creates a puddle of desire between my legs.

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“So, am I going to see you tonight?” He asks, his voice a sultry invitation into the caves of my darkest desires. Looking into my eyes, standing less than two feet away from me, his nearness makes me want to swoon and fall into his arms.
“Yes…. Oh yes.” I say, my voice a hoarse whisper. And I kick myself for sounding so ready, so desperate.
“7 o’clock dinner and later at your place? That is if you are okay with it.” He asks again.

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I’d rather be home with my dog…

Sounds…a melee of sounds wake me from my slumber. Birds chirp, sounding strained, torn and sick. Somewhere through the window I hear drilling, a car honking, a doorbell ringing and a woman shouting. I pull my dog, towards me an bury my face into his warm fur and sigh, hoping to be welcomed back into that void called sleep.

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An hour later I sit staring at the phone, while he sits curled up around my feet. I have received a meme; a bunch of girls pouting at the camera, and below that is a bunch of orangutans pouting at the camera. The text says, “Girls be like…”. And I respond “LOL” without even twitching my lips into a pretend smile.

I shift to FaceBook, JK Rowling has started a tweet storm against some self proclaimed liberal guy who called Theresa May a whore. Continue reading

Daddy’s little girl…

http://www.creativeadawards.com/hurt-girl/

You lug yourself forward, it hurts in places you did not know existed, until now. You drag yourself ahead; your body is heavy, panting like a dog in a desert. You are all alone, but that is a relief. You don’t mind dragging yourself to the bed stand, you don’t mind using the dying strength in your arms to slowly lift your upper body, and plop it on the bed. You don’t mind being alone; in fact you are positively relieved in your solitude. Because the alternative, the alternative to being alone propels you into tears of dread, misery and frustration.

You know that for at least another three to four hours, you will be alone. That time would help you lick your wounds, huddled in the corner of your bed. But before that you need to check, check your body, check your bones, check your face. No cuts, no visible wounds, no broken bones; that is your first priority; because the last thing you want is for people to notice. Your abdomen screams in pain, so does your nine months old daughter, she screams in hunger. Your abdomen can wait maybe, but not your daughter.

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How Maa beat cancer’s butt…

Every time I think of my Maa chasing her cancer away, I always imagine her running behind a pesky rodent with a “cheemta” (tongs) in her hand. And what is a rodent compared to the indomitable spirit of a woman. And like any woman who finds her home invaded by a tiny rodent, Maa went about the task of cleaning up her body off cancer with the single-minded grit and persistence of a really hungry feline.

It all started when I was in Mumbai, and she in Bangalore. I think I have always somehow been in Mumma’s girl. I love her almost as much as I love bitching about her. And one day on our daily calls, she confessed that something was wrong, that the doctors had insisted on a biopsy of her left breast.

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Of course, the doctors were wrong; my mom couldn’t have cancer, she does Pranayama every day! At least that is what I thought until my confidence came shattering down, when I realized that unstoppable forces of nature also pause, and Pranayama moms also fall.

We were on a call, when she said, “Bas ek mastectomy ho jayegi. Theek ho jayungi.” I smiled at the courage it would have taken her to brush it off like your everyday dental filling.

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The family outing

Take your hands off him!

 “I am sorry. Did you say something?” ‘The woman’ turned around and looked at me. Her green eyes wide, almost seeing through my soul.

“Nothing…just that you look really pretty today.” I said, plastering a fake smile. She went back to holding Sammy’s hand and walking ahead. Tall, taller than me, she made me feel smaller than I should have.

We were on a family outing, an experiment suggested by ‘The woman’, a step in promoting harmony, for Sammy’s sake. And I had to keep reminding myself to behave, to keep my emotions in check, to maintain dignity and class. But all I could feel was my entire existence falling apart. The simple act of putting one foot in front of another became increasingly painful. Breathing became a chore and my breaths came in raspy successions.

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“Are you alright?” A male voice beside me asked. Perhaps genuinely concerned, I couldn’t say for sure with the loud ringing in my head that seemed to be eating me alive from inside.

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When women drive big cars…

“Beta, don’t you think you should travel by cab?” my dad ventured, hesitant at first, firm later and positively, relentless thereafter. I had been listening to him and my mother moan and crib about their precious daughter driving a massive Tata Safari around the city on a daily basis, for more than two years now.

It also doesn’t help that after successfully manoeuvring my car all the way from ITPL to Kormangala three times a week during peak hours, for two years has still not instilled enough trust in my parents to take a 3km ride with me.

Every single time I venture to take them shopping or other chores, relentlessly at first, firm later and then hesitantly thereafter, they respond as if I have suggested taking them to a brothel.

The vehemence in their voice when they say, “Nahee! We are not taking your car. We would rather go by cab.” makes me believe that they probably think I run over three men and two kids every time I take my car out. And the only reason I am not rotting in prison or hell; is because of the Thursday fasts and pujas that my mom religiously keeps.

Having witnessed such lack of faith, for so long, I began contemplating; Why?! Why such distrust for women drivers, especially for the ones who drive an SUV?

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Lets get this straight, people still need a lot of conditioning to get used to a woman driving. The ones, who actually are used to women driving, expect her to be in a hatchback, not a sedan, definitely not an SUV, and God help her if she dares to drive a jeep.

Because she is a woman, and of course she would look good in, you know, those cute little Japanese toy cars that are electric blue, green, or white, or yellow. If it is a pink Reva, it is even better. All those post retirement uncles and aunties would give you looks of approval, even smile at you and call you “Beta.”

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Murder is easy – A Sherlock Holmes mystery

“Murder is easy, as long as you don’t make it look like a murder.” He said. Using his left hand to scratch his crotch fervently, in a dog like frenzy when it’s trying to bury a bone.

“So, you mean that it’s easy to commit a murder as long as you make it look like an accident, suicide or illness.” I spoke, seriously concerned about his hygiene while he ardently moved on to scratch his butt cheeks now, a look of relief stole his face as his lips parted slightly in bliss. He then cleared his throat and spoke, “Took you long enough to catch up, detective.” He looked at me from head to toe, his expression, disdainful. As if his East London lodging was any better than my Irish accent.

“In that case, Mr. Holmes, if the death of Dr. Watson is not an accident; I’d be loathe to tell you this, but you would be considered the primary suspect. Because you were the last person to see him.” I said.

“Also, I am loathe to tell you, Detective, while I might be your primary suspect, I am also your greatest ally, because I am after all ‘the Sherlock Holmes’.” He said that while tipping his hat and awkwardly itching his long beard with his right hand. He coughed up something awful, a ball of mucus with traces of red and removed his tell tale hat that looked like it had tiny holes burrowed by very hungry mice.

“You see Detective….” he continued, looking at me and murmuring about my Irish origins. His scraggly beard more grey than black, moved with a life of its own, as though it housed its own eco system right there.

“Boyle…I am Detective Boyle.” I offered.

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“Yes Detective Boyle…A common Irish ancestry, I presume. You see Dr. Watson here had invited me over for tea this evening, while his wife Mary and their son has been visiting some old crone of an aunt in Watford. We had an hour-long tete-a-tete about this and that, in which he mentioned that just last week he had cleaned his shotgun. Therefore, I honestly don’t think he would feel the need to clean it again.”

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Hard candy for Diwali

I knew I was going to regret that day the minute I woke up. A strong cloud of foreboding hung over my head and after almost a year I found myself craving for a Chocolate Ganache. My stomach tore in desire as I searched my fridge for anything, anything fattening or gluttonous or sinful. All I found were bland protein breakfast bars.

I stuffed one in my mouth as tasteless flakes landed elegantly on my white tee.

How did I ever eat this shit for 365 days? I thought just as I kept stuffing not one, not two but three of those bars down my throat and simultaneously dusting off the big flakes off my clothes.

Bam, at the stroke of noon my mobile shrilled with Meghan Trainor singing that it was all about her base. The call was from Mummy. She demanded to know why I was not at her place helping her with the cooking and all the other shit that always needed to be done at family gatherings.

By the time she was done yelling at me, which was exactly 15 minutes, I was in a creased red chudidaar with a torn dupatta. I was hoping that I could cleverly conceal the tear if I wore the dupatta right, because my mother would lose a year off her life span if she happened to spot the tear.

Another fifteen minutes of almost empty roads, I entered my parent’s home. Some may call it a mansion; I called it the fancy house of terrors, mostly because my mother lived there. As I entered the drive way I saw a red Santro that belonged to my sister and her two kids. There was another that belonged to my widowed aunt and finally Munna uncle’s land rover, my mother’s younger brother.

I groaned, loud enough that the mansion’s new watchman jerked towards me, twisted his head and gave me the ‘Are you alright, lady?’ stare.

The living room smelled like a strange concoction of diya oil, motichor laddoos, marigold flowers and the stench of cigarettes. One sweep across the room and I took in my mother screaming at my twelve-year old niece to be nice to Munna uncle, my sister silently urging Mummy to leave her alone, my Father hollering at them to take their bickering elsewhere because Arnab was debating about the steel flyover, my six-year old nephew crashing into my pelvis, almost giving me a hernia and my aunt, who sat knitting sweaters in Bangalore with a glass of red wine.

In that instance I knew the reason for my daylong foreboding. It was this family, these people who I had managed to escape for past three years, while working abroad. With a sinking feeling I realised I was back where I started.

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My aunt exclaimed in delight the minute she saw me, “Chintu, kitni patli ho gayee hai? My god, oh how much weight have you lost?”

But no, no way can my mother have someone else say one nice word about me. Her psychosis doesn’t allow an entry into the house without guilt-tripping.

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The day Pikku disappeared

I make myself believe that I clearly remember the day Pikku disappeared. I remember the bright rays of sunshine that shone through our windows. I remember the smell of pancakes wafting up through the steps into our room. I remember mummy and daddy talking loudly, about something, something inconsequential to the memories of that day. I remember Pikku lifting my blanket and peeping inside, grinning. Her front two teeth were missing. All I saw were pink gums, bright blue eyes and flushed cheeks. Her brown hair fell in ringlets around her chubby face as she tickled me and ran down the steps giggling. I ran behind her, laughing loudly, “You chump, you absolute chump, I am going to get you.” I shouted. This was our weekend routine.

It always took me a while to settle into the skin of an elder brother, a whole two and half years older. Now that I am an adult, I realize how easy it is for a child to forget, forget that he is growing up. Continue reading

Escape from midlife crises – A to-do guide for women & men

“Life is a prison”, now I didn’t say that. Someone did, someone completely inconsequential to this write up. That would explain why I don’t feel even a teeny bit of inclination to make you aware of his or her name.

But if life is a prison then mid-life is the Green mile. It is one those fancy semi colon tattoos that everyone is getting, as if “a down on his luck 40 year old” is even going to notice the tiny semi colon strategically placed near your wrist.

But your tattoo is not the reason for this write up. It is the prison of your mid – life and how to escape it.

Now, it is extremely critical to understand that mid-life crises differs from men to women. For example a woman, almost every single month gets minute mid life shocks when she starts PMSing. But for men it comes like a meteor falling over their head out of nowhere.midlife-crises-women

So, let me start with an escape route for women.

Ladies, believe me you have it easy.

You hit 36/37 or the 38 mark. You realize the kids are gone or almost vanishing, the husband doesn’t notice your new hair cut. Continue reading

The Date

“You look lovely, by the way. The profile picture, doesn’t do you any justice, you know.” He says.

Ah fuck, the hopeful look in his puppy dog eyes tell me that I need to return the compliment. I scrutinise him hard, I mean, there must be something I could compliment him on.

He is big, muscular. Clearly he works out, a lot. His beard; stands out in a disarray of tiny hair that just could not decide what direction to take. His hair is gelled; gelled to the point that each spike reminds me of a mini Eiffel tower.

He is wearing a white V-neck t-shirt covered with a grey woollen blazer; a blood red silk handkerchief stuffing down his breast pocket.

What is it that the fashion whores call those things? I think. Ah yes, a pocket square.

 “That’s a nice pocket square.” I say. Smiling brilliantly, a smile I am sure does not reach my eyes, hell; I don’t even think it reaches my cheekbones.

“Well thanks, darling. I am glad you noticed.” He returns my smile and speaks in a low baritone that is meant to indicate sophistication and class. He probably expects my knees to wobble, my heart to flutter like a humming bird, my body to surge with electric energy and my pussy to melt on his face.

Seducing beautiful woman looking at her lover with wine glass.

But all he gets is a smirk followed by a burp.

I should’ve known that, a starter of deep fried calamaris, was a recipe for burps and farts. Already my stomach complains at the onslaught of that sea dwelling urchin and I know I will have to pay a visit to washroom.

What is it that those elitist whores call it? I think. Ah yes, the powder room.

“Looks like the hors d’oeuvre do not agree with you, my love.” He is amused by the burp and the shock on my face there after.

“Looks like you are right.” I say. I am too classy to ask him what the fuck hors d’oeuvre means; but not that classy, because I decide that I will be saving his number on my phone as ‘The French Whore’.

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Don’t talk to Bob

“Like, who talks to Bob anyway?” Bob said as he traced out the words written on the walls of a solitary confinement cell in the abandoned, maximum-security, prison that they were scouting for their latest horror movie shoot.

The rules traced out on every single available space in the wall were.

How to survive solitary confinement?

Stay calm

Eat your meals

Keep a track of time

And don’t talk to Bob

Bob of course was offended that a prisoner who died by execution, some twenty odd years ago did not want to talk to him.

“I mean, I totally get it. Like why would anyone want to talk to Bob? Bob is not even a name; it is a fucking sound. Like huh or hmmm or zzzzz.” Ben spoke as they relentlessly kept shooting pictures of the wall.

Rachel laughed, that deep throaty laugh of hers which had been sending slivers of pleasure down my spine since I first saw her.

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“Well, don’t you wonder who is this Bob is? The Bob; that the prisoner did not want anyone talking to?” Rachel asked. “I mean, like is it a figment of a prisoner’s imagination. But if that is the case why does the writing on the walls differ so much?”

“Yeah, Rachel is right. Look at this.” Bob said. “Throughout the cell the handwriting style has changed a lot. Some sentences are even written in Spanish and French. Wow, I can safely say that more than thirty prisoners who have lived in solitary confinement here did not want to talk to Bob anymore. This place is doing wonders for my self esteem.”

I sighed. This Bob was such a cry-baby.

“Bob you are such cry baby.” Rachel said. “Not everything is about you, you know. This is another Bob they are talking about.” I smiled as Rachel read my thoughts, literally.

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“The Pig”

You walk stomping in an urgent pace through the corridors of the old school. Your footsteps echo throughout the abandoned building intruding a comfortable silence that reigns.

What was it like? You wonder. What was it like when I studied here? Garish laughter, childish screams, pitter patter of tiny feet assault your memories and a loss of the days long gone envelops your being.

Your foot steps slow down and you can almost hear the clanging of bells just like it did for lunch break. Another ten minutes, that is all it will take. You tell yourself. The huge sack you carry on your back weighs you down.

You hear a light giggle from some where behind you. You turn around, your heart rate shoots up and sweat trickles down your forehead.

“Who is it?” You ask. Loudly. Louder than you actually meant to. “Who is it? Who is it? Who is it?” Your voice echoes through the empty corridors mocking you. Your own voice reverberating, ricocheting off the walls, reminding you that it is truly YOU who is the intruder here. The fine hair in the back of your neck stand hard, hard enough to cause a subtle, buzzing pain down your spine.

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You wait for the echoes to die down and shine your torchlight all around you. All you see are tiny rodents skittering about in search of another rodent to eat.

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A cocktail dinner at Mt. Olympus

The spotlight zoned in on my mother, after all she was Hera, wife of Zeus. And it wasn’t like mom wasn’t used to the spot light.

She stood there, a Cosmopolitan, swirling seductively in her dainty hands, nonchalantly laughing at a joke she devised out of her clever, witty little head. Her posse of similarly dressed friends, yet not as grand as my mother; laughed in sputters. Unsure whether it was a joke, and what was it that even made it funny.

I laughed loud, snorted, pretended to choke on my own bile and back slapped my mother garishly, in affectation of support at her pointless humour.

“Eris, what un-lady like behaviour is this?” She smiled sweetly at me. A smile that did not reach her eyes and promised threats of cutting me off my pocket money.

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Come on…what are you waiting for?

One summer afternoon

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We remained panting and sweating after a sprint from one end of 22nd main to another. Our throats parched and rivulets of sweat streamed down our necks and back. I held my stomach, that had cramped by the onslaught of an unforeseen run, especially in thin chappals. Divya pointed her pudgy fingers at me and laughed. “Loser…loser”, she jumped around and danced like an imp.

In blue cotton shorts and a white tank top which was at least two sizes too small for her chubby seven year old body. Her baby paunch jiggled in mirth as she rubbed my defeat in my face. My lips pursed in annoyance, Divya never wins. I was the fastest sprinter amongst all our friends and the only reason she won was because she wore running shoes and I wore bathroom slippers. Continue reading

Isabel

“Isabel, stop staring at your reflection in the window and come back here, you vain little slut” Shouted sister Mary. Just in time for Isabel to shiver at the pure vehemence in Sister Mary’s voice, and start trudging reluctantly towards the rest of her class mates. Sister Mary was the reason twelve years old Isabel hated school. It wasn’t just the fact that the old crone, with her gnarled fingers, wrinkled face and hateful words, was always out to get her. It was also because every story that Sister Mary told, from the bible, gave Isabel nightmares.

Right from the stories of Job, where a poor God fearing man was tortured by Satan for years. Job braved it all, from loosing his children to being physically tortured. All because God had a bet with Satan, that Job would go through every imaginable torture, yet not curse his God.

“Who does that?” Isabel would think. Who does that to their disciples?tumblr_lm3uwh92hx1qkh5eko1_500

The most fearsome of Bible’s tales was the obliteration of Sodom Continue reading

The Forest

They say the forest is enchanted, magical and mystical. Some say it is haunted, some say it is dark. Some hear the wailing of trees in the night beckoning them to ease the thirst of old gnarled roots, some feel whispers wafting in the dark, asking them to join the forest in its loneliness.

I stand here, old and gnarled like the roots of the forest trees. I stand before it, at the entrance, wondering if I should step in. The breeze beckons me inside, and the tall trees, bend into one another to form a dome, asking me to join them.

I mumble to myself, “yes…yes I am coming in. I know it is time.” An old, bitter man. Barely able to walk ten feet without a wheezing fit. Stooping to almost half my height, I don’t represent the truth. The truth of what I was, the truth about what has made me. To everyone else, except the forest, I am just another sweet old man.

I shuffle through the rustling leaves, fallen, crunching in excited chatter. The moist ground beneath me, feels soft, soft like that of Mary’s breasts, even her body. The way it would melt inside me, when I would take her in my arms.

Impatience grows, when the breeze whooshes past me, and the trees sway in an angry dance. The forest is asking me to hurry up. Mary always did that too. Asking me to pick up my pace. Mary was always running somewhere, always impatient. As if, she was forever in a race against time. She walked faster, ate faster, made love faster, lived faster, except dying. Dying was slow; it took hours for the life to disappear from her eyes.

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I am almost half a mile inside the forest now, the trees rejoice in an elegant ballet of vacillating branches. They are not lonely anymore. I smirk, “So much, so much like my Mary.” Just like her, the forest too, couldn’t stand loneliness. And just like her, the forest too would invite any stranger into its home, to feel less forlorn, to feel a head rush, a passing adventure, a temporary joyride, a momentary fling.

“I am coming, I am coming.” I shout out loud. Somewhere deep into the woods, I hear the forest wailing. A cry; a loud mewling of a baby, who has been denied food for a long, long time. A baby who can sense its mother about, a baby demanding the attention it deserves.

I shuffle further inside the winding narrow mud paths, created by the young, energetic feet of trekkers and campers. They are a complex network of veins that carry blood into the pumping heart of the forest. The wailing grows louder, whinier and impetuous. My shuffling grows faster, sure and eager. I don’t want to keep the forest waiting anymore.

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