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Posts tagged ‘Humor’

When Alice Went Wondering

Everybody knows that I often keep **complaining** about all the reading adventures Cleo gets me dragged into! But heart of heart, I know that life would be one mundane boring reading if it was not for friends like Cleo, who make you read everything from Beowulf to The Histories to The Metamorphosis. Naturally, this year is no different, and after swearing off on doing any read along on account of being crazy busy at work, I was soon signing up to read with her several works!! What do they say about, road to hell being paved with good intentions??

Anyhow, Thanks to Cleo, I got to know that Amanda at Simpler Pastimes, is hosting the Classics Children’s Literature Event 5 and not only that, the suggested book was Alice Adventure in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll! Now I have always wondered about Alice in Wonderland; as a child when my Dad got me that huge pop up book with some lovely illustrations, I remember loving the colors and pictures but not putting in too much tuck with the story! As I grew up, I read a lot of Carroll’s limericks and puzzles and I was moderately impressed but hardly blown away, As a student of English Literature, I read a lot of “analysis” on Alice in Wonderland and when this event came along, it was as good a time as any to revisit the book and decide once and for all, do I like Lewis Carroll or not??!!

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The story is too well known to everyone; nevertheless, here goes a brief summary. One summer afternoon, Alice finds herself bored and drowsy, sitting by her elder sister who was reading, near the riverbank, when she noticed a rabbit in a waistcoat and a pocket watch hurrying off. She follows the rabbit and falls a long way, until she reaches a hall with many doors. She spies a beautiful garden beyond the doors, which she wants to visit, but is to big to get through the door. She finds a drink which shrinks her to enable her to get through the door but then she realizes that the key was still on table and now she was too tiny to get it. Thus begins her adventures of growing big and small and of meeting rabbits and the Duchess and the Cheshire cat and the King and Queen of hearts. She drinks tea with Mad Hatter and his friends and plays croquet with flamingos, until she ends up in a most strange court room case!

I have read a lot of essays attempting to de-code this tale. Its been called a sarcastic commentary on  the education system of 19th century to the author’s word play with French. I am sure there are other many interesting interpretations – but to me it is still a very good yarn for the children. Imagination and fun flows through the tale. It’s like an adventure where you let go of reality and let the author take you places for he would. I loved the quirky crazy sense of humor. I loved how from one tale to another, we jumped characters and situations without any need to justify the previous occurrences. I loved the characters – Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat were my most favorite, but I quite loved the King of Cards trying to run the court! I thoroughly enjoyed Carroll’s mockery of “moral tales”. But it was Alice herself that left be in her language “Curiouser and curiouser”. I am not sure what to make of her – true, she is only a 10 year old but I found her quite annoying 10 year old and while she does display a lot of spunk, but she seems to come across as someone completely oblivious of others. I get it 10 years old is very young, but 10 year olds can be as sensitive and kind as any adult, in fact more so. While Alice seems to be just a bratty kid!

Overall I am so very glad I re-read this book! I am still not too fond of Carroll, but that still did not diminish my complete and thorough enjoyment of the book!

The Great Day…

As many know, on 8th March diligently I do a post dedicated to Women’s Day. Mostly I review fictional characters who are the very role model of strong women and so forth! However today I wanted to take a bit of a different route and instead share a factual tale. It is a true blessing when you have a sisterhood of women, supporting and cheering you through the journey called life! This becomes even more precious, when your boss and peers are women, who also are part of you sisterhood. And all of this becomes exceptional when they sit nearly 28000 km away from you.

I know I have been raving about my long hours recently as well some personal stuff that I am working through. Recently another friend and peer, of mine. CM, visited our US headquarter on a business trip, where she met my boss , AB and my peer, AG. They sent a whole truck of gifts for me, but what was perhaps the most wonderful gift, was a handmade mascot that they created for me for”the project” that is taking 28 hours of my 24 hours . Knowing how stressed out I was, they spent a lot of time in this cheer-me-up mascot, so that when I feel down, I have a pick me near me. CM on returning told me of the kind of hard work that AB and AG had put in to make that mascot and after a bit of nagging, AG put down the story for me. I present the same, deleting out the specifics.

Here’s to the two brilliant woman, who truly inspire and uplift other women!! Thank You for being such an awesome cheering squad!

CM arrived in sunny state of _ US, to spend some time in the  _ Center. Little did she know, she would be a part of a grand plan to transport the Mascot back to its PMO Owner India. On the morning of March 3rd, 2016; AB and AG thought of a genius plan to give life to the Mascot of “the project”. Before they set out to collect the materials needed, they assessed if the fuzzy cactus was the optimal platform for the mascot. AB said, “I like the concept of the fuzzy cactus because it is a true representation of the tool itself.” AG replied, “I agree! But what should we make it out of?” They both thought about it for 23.4982 seconds and all of a sudden you could see the invisible lightbulb appear over their heads.

Off they went, down the stairs, past the cafeteria, through the turnstiles in the breeze way, out through the perimeter gate and across the street to Ml’s Craft Store. There they collected all the necessary materials and scurried back to their desk to begin the operation.

Gloves, check. Paper as a barrier, check. They were ready to rock and roll. AB began applying the green coats of paint to the wooden body until the optimal coverage was reached.  Next came the full assembly process. AB yelled, “Green Body!” AG handed it to her. AB yelled, “Flower Pot!” AG handled it to her. AB yelled again, “Super Glue!” AG handed it to her.

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Next came the facial recognition of the mascot. AG asked, “Is this a happy mascot or a sad mascot?” AB confirmed, “Definitely a happy but goofy mascot.” So they continued the assembly operations with an image in mind.

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AB and AG stood back and reviewed the mascot so far. Scratching their heads they said in unison, “Time for the fuzzy part?” Turning towards each other they yelled, “Yes!” and high fived. So off they went, adding more and more fuzzies all over using clear nail polish until the desired amount was added.

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After adding the final touch of a mouth, they both looked at the mascot, tilted their heads to the side until AG said, “He is cute. He has a weird resemblance of George Washington, but I like it!”

AB probed, “Well do you think it is time to name him? What shall we call him?” AG thought a moment before speaking, “What about Prometheus?” AB replied, “What the heck! Does that have anything to do with “the project”?” AG advised, “I don’t know…I guess Prometheus was the protector of mankind so isn’t that like “the project” and it starts with ‘Pro’?” They both went back to thinking of a name. Then it came to them, “let’s call him ‘H’ they agreed.” AG started on the letters and started from the center to ensure perfect symmetry was achieved while moving to the right. AG thought to herself, Wow this looks great! She continued now from the center to the left. AG pulled the marker away from the flower pot to admire her perfect penmanship. Frightened, she said, “OMG AB I messed up!” Instead of writing there was no H and she instead had created a whole new word! AB busted into laughter. Tears ran down her face as AG began to laugh as well. After a full 60 seconds of laughter they both said, “Well! this will be his name since we cannot erase marker.”

So, ZZZZZ was born instead of “the project”.

AB said, “I love how cool he looks”, touching his fury little head. And then with a blink of an eye, Mascot was accidentally bummed and was falling slowly, rotating over and over until he made contact with the carpeted floor. There he lay with his body separated from his flower pot and his flower pot cracked in 3 different areas. In slow motion, AB reached down and picked him up and they both had gears turning in their head thinking What are we going to do? AG said, “We do have some super glue, I think that will work! Engineering at its finest, we fix things!” Within 28.76501 seconds, it was back in full form.

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AB said, “You know, his pot actually looks like it has some real character now!” They both sat back and admired Mascot. Then something crazy happened! Mascot came to life!!! He said, “Hey AB! Hey AG! Can I borrow your cell phone? I would like to take a selfie of myself to send to my friends.” AB and AG looked at each other timidly and handed Mascot the phone.

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Next, AB and AG packaged Mascot up for his trip to India and they said their goodbyes as they wiped away a few tears.

Remember, when things get tough with “the project”, just look at the mascot. He also had some struggles along the way but with a little super glue and ingenuity, he still was ok and made it to his final destination. Which will be the same for our project journey.

I have no words to describe how touched I am. The kindness and their support is beyond comparison and they both truly represent the strength and the generosity of women!

I would like to end with a big shout out to all my women readers/blogging gang and all those brilliant, and wonderful men, who enrich our lives every day!’

Happy Women’s Day you all!

New Month, One Rant & Some Old Books

The first month of 2017 is now over and to think 2017 had started! Time flies when you especially need more time! Don’t ask me why!

Anyhow February is here and I always have mixed feelings about this month. I get my annual bonus which is GREAT! Winter is still around, albeit to a lesser degree! Then this month, marks the celebration of Hindu Festival where we worship the Goddess of Knowledge, Saraswati – my personal favorite goddess, especially since the Goddess of Wealth, Lakhshmi is determine NEVER to look at me! But this month also brings on all the yucks and ughs related to the much hyped and completely commercialized Valentine’s day! I mean why the HELL do you need a special day to declare your love; I mean if you are in love with someone, why do you need to wait for bloody Feb 14th to express the same! Even the most sane and rational creatures become ridiculous to the point I do not want to know them. For instance, one of the most rational individuals that I know with brains of a genius and a heart of gold has suddenly taken to social network posting love coated honey dripped messages for his fiance which makes me want to take out my Kate Middleton barf bag!! Ugh! I mean do not get me wrong, I am a die hard romantic and I love this couple who are two of most wonderful people I know and have the good fortune to call friends, but WHY the HELL does the 500+ friends on FB have to sit by and listen to your undying and unending declarations of love, considering they will be attending you wedding in less than a month and witness it live anyway??? I am not being Groucho Marx but this day is beyond ridiculous! The other day I went to buy a dress for some social event I need to attend and all I could see was red and purple….I mean really? The half brained sales assistant infact tried to see me a red velvet monstrosity saying it was perfect for Valentines’s assuming naturally if I am buying a dress in this season, well duh! it has to for the stupid Valentine’s day!!!! What the hell is wrong with you people? Ok…deep breaths! Rant over! February also means Spring which is like two weeks in this geography will follow and then….shudder!horror! Summers are here! Oh! I need to migrate to some colder climate, I CANNOT take this heat any longer!

Atleast there are books to tide me over! Unfortunately I am as I had foreseen at the beginning of the year, very limited time of reading and when I do find time to read, I have very little energy to tackle a classic as much as I love reading it! My brain aches for some light reading and I am constantly worried that I will lose all my intellect if I keep perusing, you know light weight material! So I march forward, trying to complete The Histories with Herodutus. I am also trying to get a move on Captivity by György-Spiró, though like The Histories, my progress is beyond slow! My consolation – well, slow and steady, the tortoise did win the race! I am also loving Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus; this alternate historic telling of India’s past is very interesting, though I seem to disagree with her at several junctures. I also continue with The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, the only reading event I seem not to be lagging behind. As of now I am simply sticking to calling out these three books since I am sure, I will be randomly reading up other books per my time and mood and what I see on other’s blog! Besides the fact that this month has less days, means more work at work to meet those deadlines!! Can I simply fast-forward the next 1o months and reach December??? I guess not! Oh! Well! Onward Christian Solider and all that!

After my rant, it is only fair that I leave you with some laughs –

This and That….

Its been an absolutely couple of miserable weeks. Work was killing because of the stupendous dumbness on part of so called “partners” which led to chaos and damage control that needed non planned and additional work to be done by team for more than 20 hrs a day for practically 2 weeks. Just when I began to recover from what can be termed as inevitable stupidity of the mankind, God or whatever Superpower gave me yet another sign, that Einstein was correct when he said “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” Policies and government across geographies and nations, are going out of their ways to prove the above! The one who is sacrificed at the alter is the common man and I am not even talking about the US elections, though that is something I DO NOT understand either!

I have been and continue to be  completely frustrated and exhausted by circumstances beyond my control which in turn has ensured that my reading naturally has takes a nose dive. Where is the time??!! I am in the middle of The Brother Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky and you can imagine the state of mind, when I say that I find solace in reading this epic. I am almost done with One Hundred Years of Solicitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and I am holding on for now in my review of the book. The only thing  seems to suit my mood is The Book of Snobs by WM Thackeray; his biting sarcasm soothes my ruffled feathers and helps me realize that stupidity of majority is a phenomena that transcends ages and something I should be more zen about! I am also struggling to complete Dombey and Sons by Charles Dickens and I cannot seem to make any headway into Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy. I seem to be in middle of everything and near completion of nothing!!

As this post is doing everything, but spreading good cheer, I stop and break off to share some fun memes/posts with you all that has made me laugh and kept me going past couple of days –

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See ya all next week, hopefully in a better place!

 

Notes on Bookish Readings When Ill

I have been writing this post in my mind for the last 3 weeks since I have recovered from a painfully long bout of bronchio-asthma, but there have been out of station weddings to attend and friends to visit and preparation for a Project Management exam, that  blogging took a back seat and worse, for a while there was not enough time to even read! Anyway, such things are happily in the past and I hope I am back to the settled rhythm of daily reading and frequent blogging!

While I was laid up three weeks, I was mostly in a irritable temper, struggling to breathe while fever came and went and the Indian summer heat rose. I could not eat much and doing almost anything gave me a headache. The only thing I was capable of was watching endless reruns of F.R.I.E.N.D.S , but for such bookish creature like us, you can watch only so much of sitcoms, without yearning to dive back into books. Herein lay the problem, I was too ill, to read my April reading plan books….I could not bear to look at Shakespeare or Poe, Spenser made my eyes dance and see things and Willa Cather was simply out of the question! So I decided to hunt the ever reliable internet for some suggested readings when ill. However for once, the cyber space completely let me down; while some sites suggested the tried and tested Austens and Rowlings, most sites suggested some very grim readings, biographies filled with struggle and toil and one site even suggested As I lay Dying (I don’t know if the guy was being funny!!) I don’t know why people would read such stuff when they are physically so unwell, which in turn has to have a psychological impact! Why read depressing stuff when you are already  down and out, but I guess, different strokes for different folks and for a different folk like me and I am hoping other like me, we need a much more cheerful reading list. Therefore, I humbly present to you 10 books/series/authors  you ought to read if you feel like laughing out loud or even chuckling a bit or simply take your mind off the physical trauma, when laid up with maladies –

  1. Jane Austen – Devoted as I am to Ms. Austen, I must say she has helped me recover several times in my life and made the illness more bearable. I do not recommend all her works but Pride and Prejudice, Emma and the lesser known Lady Susan! In the author’s own words – light, bright and sparkling!
  2. Terry Pratchett- I have said this before and I will keep saying it again, the world is a better place, thanks to Sir Terry. When your are completely fatigued with the mundane sameness of your surroundings, compounded by a sever iron grip variety headache, take a walk in the Discworld and meet the witches and the watch and Death and so many more characters, that will take you to whole new world and keep you there laughing, agreeing and coming out as a much more happier, healthier and even a better human being!
  3. Short Stories by Saki – The much lesser known Hector Hugo Munro, aka, Saki is the perfect anecdote when you are irritable and cannot stand your fellow creatures! Saki’s short stories filled with irreverent humor and biting sarcasm is a treat, as you wander into a 1900’s England filled with social gaities and find succinct observations, served with irony and dash of laughter to help recover your soul!
  4. Sherlock Holmes Series by Arthur Conan Doyle – You want to escape the physical discomfort, then there is no better escape than Victorian England where a hook nosed, opium using detective takes you down the lanes of England and Europe to unravel some of the most unbelievable acts of crime!
  5. Father Brown Series by G.K. Chesterton – While very different in tenor, than the Sherlock Holmes series, Father Brown is another detective, with whom you will be alert and constantly involved as you unravel one gritty mystery after another, in a intuitive, philosophical and patient way, that characterizes , one of the best detectives in Fiction!
  6. Miss Marple Series by Agatha Christie – When you are ill, and need a distraction, who better than the queen of crime. While all most all her books are addictive, I prefer Miss Marple, because I cannot get over the impression of a weak woolly old lady going after some of the most ruthless criminals and that kind of always makes me feel better and hope that I will recover soon!
  7. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – Cliched, I know! But I cannot help it! The wizard world is such a pick me up and then there are all kinds of fantastic creatures and constantly changing dynamics and yes, there are several deaths, but the books always end in hope! So it is way better option than As I Lay Dying, when ill!
  8. Lord Wimsey’s Series by Dorothy Sayers – I read my first and only Dorothy Sayers when I was ill and she did me a world of good! First impressions are not usually a thing to go buy, but I am taking a chance here – me think reading her when ill, will make you feel infinitely better! At any case I can vouch for Busman’s Journey, among all the other books in the series!
  9. Jeeves and Wooster by PG Woodhouse – Need I say anything! A Jeeves is exactly what you need when so ill,but it being in short supply and only available in fiction, wade through the mis– adventures of Bertie Wooster in 1920s England as he is rescued and saved every time by the dependable Jeeves!
  10. Asterix Comic Books by  written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo – Follow the Gauls through one magnificent adventure in Roman world after another, as they meet Caesars and Cleopatras and discover pun like never before! Laughter and more laughter!

There you go folks, that’s my list and my recommendation! What are yours?

 

TBRing All The Way….

It is a truth universally acknowledged that what Stefanie does, influence by reading/writing/blogging. I am always inspired by her posts and encouraged to read books I would not touch with a pole, until she writes about them! Therefore it is only natural that I would do a blog post of the TBR Meme when she has attempted it.  Besides it was busy festivity days here, with plenty of house cleaning, cooking and socializing, so to gather back into the folds of literary reviews would take some time. This meme seemed like a good way to start getting my feet wet again in the literature blogging world!

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

That question implies that I keep track of my TBR pile, which I really do not. I just keep adding books and going back to them once in a while and the list therefore is never ending. One of the reasons why my  TBR is so badly managed is because I promise myself that I will stick to it and follow an orderly manner of reading through it; however temptation comes in form of some book or the other, and there goes my TBR for a toss!

Is your TBR print or E-Books?

They are a combination of both!  E-Books are mostly those, which I can read on the fly, great books but not necessarily classic literature. Some E-Books happen because, physically they are not available in my location or if they are, they cost an arm and a leg and a pair of kidneys and if it’s REALLY good, I may have to toss in my ears and heart as well! Print books are all classics and collector’s editions.

tbrHow do you determine which books from your TBR to read next?

Please see question#1. Usually, I try to go for something that is in my TBR and matches my current reading mood – if I want to read a thriller, I try and look for something like that in my TBR, if its classic, then there is plenty of options my TBR provides; so on and so forth. There are days when I do not visit my TBR at all because I am on what I call binge readings – books which I bought after recommendations or instinct without even adding them to the TBR. Post the binge, I do feel guilty and try and restore some of my TBRs to Read category- pretty much like going on a diet, after 7 days of food orgy!

A book that has been on my TBR the longest?

The Magnificent Amberson’s by Booth Tarkington…I will get to it eventually, I guess!

A book you recently added to your TBR?

Regeneration by Pat Barker

A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

None! From a very early childhood, I have determined and come to a decisive conclusion, that while beautiful covers are a joy, they are not necessarily forever….the book HAS to matter!

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

The books on my TBR list are there in my TBR list because I plan to read them some day or the other. So there is no never plan on reading. However, there are books which I may start and leave in the mid-way because I just don’t get it and they will eventually drop off my TBR!

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?

None, that I can recollect at this moment; but I am sure there will be one or the other, I will stumble upon soon.

That’s my TBR Meme…and while I am not tagging anyone, it will be fun if you could share what your TBR looks like!

Why The Tab?

Let me share with all of you, how I spent my extremely exciting Saturday night! I paid my bills, planned meals for next week (have several leadership visits through the week, so need to plan ahead for easy to cook/good to eat type stuff) grocery shopping and hunting the market for a cover for my Tab. And this brings us to the tale of the Tab – I have a great Tab, it’s a local make, but sturdy and hardy and suffices for my most important need – e-reading! I love this machine and have never ventured out of the house with it, for the fear of wrecking it. The problem you see is of the cover – since it’s a local make, my extremely bourgeois retailers do not cater to a decent cover for its make –size/shape etc! They offer me fancy covers for I-PADs, Kindle Fire, Lenovo, Samsung etc etc. but nod there in resignation with a slight touch of amusement, when I take out my poor non fancy non brand tab! Hence I never took the poor tab out of the house and in a way kind of self-defeated it very purpose of existence! However last night I was determined to find a cover for the tab, come hail or snow! The straw had finally broken the camel’s back and the time had come when I sorely needed a cover, so that I could take the tab out and plonk in to the purse whenever required without adding to too much to its bulk. My poor purse, actually it’s a gargantuan sized office bag, shaped to look like a distant cousin to ladies bag,  carries my laptop., my big fat diary, my daily Knick knacks , a bottle of water and now hopefully the Tab!

But why suddenly the urge to carry the tab you ask? What was the straw that broke my back? (Yes! I am the aforementioned camel!)That you see is the crux of this rambling post – ever since I have been working, I have been in a habit of carrying a book to read in the cab. Now considering my bag is already spilleth over and 9 out of 10 cases, the book I was reading was a tome, I would carry it in my hand and keep it on my workstation, in the plain view of the world. This naturally had many and mostly completely non-original side effects –People would walk over, look at the book, try to understand the story/plot/thesis of the book via the blurb and then bombard me with inane and absolutely mundane questions –

  1. Do you like reading? No, I think the book accentuates my outfit! Duh! I have been carrying a book since you have known me, which is centuries considering I have been working in the same organization for 10 years and now you ask me this!!! Besides in the words of Scout Finch – I don’t know if I like reading; does one like breathing???
  2. How can you read while coming to work? Did I ask you how can you listen to heavy metal when coming to work?
  3. Is this a good book? Really are you interested in a literary discussion; my bet is No and you are just wasting time, waiting for my colleague to return to her desk, so that you can get on with whatever was your purpose in coming over!
  4. How can you read history? Stop being so judgmental! Did I ask you how you can watch Fast& Furious or whatever slapstick you were watching?
  5. Can you give me names for some good book which I could read? Define a “good book”? I mean do you want to read literature e/classics/history/sci-fi/thriller/romance/romcom/spy/sports/biography/leadership/psychology/poetry?   “Oh! I don’t know but something light but good…anything but no too heavy, but good”…argh!!!!!
  6. Reading again? How can you read so much? Do I ask how can you smoke/eat/talk/watch television etc etc so much?
  7. Oh! This book – have you seen the movie? No I have not nor will I, but do I ask you have you read the book?
  8. Have you read Twilight/50 Shades of Grey? I have nothing against these books, except they have made populist reading into a whole new level of insanity! I really want to turn around and ask the next person who asks me this question and ask – Have you read The Rebel or War and Peace!
  9. A new book again? How can you read so fast! I have special superpowers!
  10. Can I borrow a book? Oh! No! No! No! And this was the straw; yesterday afternoon while cleaning the first two shelves of book 5 bookshelves, I discovered 12 titles missing – 6 books per shelves…..oh!! so not good! I then recollected some of them which had been borrowed and called up the borrowers – most were nice and said will get them on Monday/Tuesaday/ next weekend; however there were some “Oh! I know you gave me the book, but I don’t remember where did I leave it!” “Oh! My baby tore it up…so sorry; will buy you a new copy!” “Some tea got spilled over, only the introduction was damaged, but the remaining is all good – you have already read it anyway. Right?!!”

Oh! Dear! The joys of being a Reader! Anyway, therefore I am going to start using my tab and hence the quest for its cover (I did manage to get an ugly brown thing, but it fits!) Going forward my Tab goes with me to work – fortunately since I don’t share a cab, I will not be asked/tormented with any of these questions and it goes right into my bag, at least 5 minutes before I approach work! So there!

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