I Sense A Presence XV


After Sally called Josh in a hurried manner and hung up on him he kept calling her but she wouldn’t respond. She was taking time to get back to her senses from a horrific nightmare she just witnessed.

After a string of calls Josh left a message “what happened”. Sally consolidated herself and simply reverted “10:30 AM at any cost. Don’t ask anything now” and hit the sack switching off her phone. After a brief struggle and with the help of mild tranquilizers Sally did doze off.

She got up around 7 in the morning, checked for Henry on her bedside as she didn’t speak to him about the chaos and horrific vision she experienced yesterday. And before she could say anything Henry who arrived from the bathroom after a shower, came to Sally and as usual planted a kiss on her forehead “good morning love” he whispered. He seemed to be in a hurry.

Sally’s gaze followed him in the room as he was getting ready much earlier than his usual routine. “What’s the matter? Any emergency? Where are you going? You seem to be hustled?” Sally asked.

Henry : Honey, I have a sudden client meeting to attend and will be out of the town for three days . There might be an extension too depending upon the circumstances . Wanted to tell you yesterday but you were sleeping. Didn’t want to disturb you. See you soon honey.

And Henry left hurriedly even before Sally could say something.

Sally was silent yet her silence was contemplating something. There was a lot of chatter in her head as she laid back once again on her bed. Fog of memories, unusual occurrences that happened off late began to seize her mind. Faces were flashing in and fading out. Probably the tranquilizer effect. But suddenly two frames collided in her mind – Anne Turner’s mystery from the tottered pages and Tracy flashing her conspicuous smile. That effect was enough to get Sally back to her senses. She checked her phone to see what time it was.

9:15 it was already. Sally sprinted like a deer to get ready as she was supposed to meet Josh. In no time she was in her car and drove towards Charlie’s cafe and restaurant, a resto-cafe they decided to meet at. Meeting at police station could make things awkward so they decided otherwise.

Josh arrived 10 minutes past 10:30. Tucking hi shades into his shirt’s pocket he waved at Sally entering the place.

“Have you placed an order or no?” Josh asked Sally looking at the Menu at the table.

“Yeah our regular from college days” Sally answered Josh and quickly moved to Tracy’s matter.

“How on earth did you identity that Tracy isn’t Tracy in such a short span of time? What’s the issue after all?” Sally in her usual inquisitive tone questioned Josh.

Picking up coffee that the waiter just served, sipping it Josh asked ” Dear there’s a reason why I am in police force. Have you ever noticed the peculiar birth mark in her left eye and on left temple? And besides the face quite closely resembles to Lizzy that I mentioned to you”.

“Birth mark?” Sally rephrased quite puzzled. “When did you notice, except for eyes I never noticed anything else” Sally shrugged her shoulders in denial.

“Well, chances are minute to non existent that you could have noticed anything as the birth mark I am talking about is quite frail now. Unless you have seen her before it’s hard to make out. I sensed her discomfort when I told her I might have seen her before. She immediately covered her temple area on some pretext. She is definitely doing some sort of cover up. I vividly remember how she was caught earlier for possession of drugs by police. There wasn’t a slightest remorse on her face. She was last seen when she left the Hemington prison premises to be changed to a new prison. After that was never seen never heard of, simply never reached the other prison…. ” Josh was still continuing when Sally interrupted him.

“What if you are mistaken and she is not the one you are looking for. How can you be so sure” Sally countered Josh.

“Hmm, may be I am mistaken. In fact would love to be proven wrong here as I don’t want a criminal in your proximity. Just wait and watch” Josh replied to Sally.

“I wish I could wait. I need to unravel mysteries before they unsettle me. Time is running out” said Sally with a deadpan look on her face.

“They? Mysteries? Time? What’s on your mind Sally, speak up” Josh’s tone had depth and pause this time…..

To be continued……

Success Comes In Different Forms


Candles Online

Few days back I was gliding through my LinkedIn page. One of my distant relative updated her status “promoted to the position of Director”. I was happy to see her succeed but in another moment started self introspection “what I am doing?” , ” Where I am standing?”, “Will I ever succeed in my life?”. Basically I was anxious about “will I ever be able to EARN?” A question that I am struggling for a longtime now.

But is it just about money? Answer is an absolute NO. It’s about my craving for Identity. My thoughts at that (on many occasions) point were convoluted. I want to earn, I want name for myself, I want financial independence. I kept applying for jobs. Many applications were rejected outright, few made for interview round but success still eluded me. It was not just the applications that were being rejected but a piece…

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I Sense A Presence XIV


Sally rushed to the door. It was jammed. Exerted pressure both with her hands and her vocals. “Open up damn” she struggled with the door. Kicked it, levered the knob and it separated from the door. It left her baffled and worried. She didn’t had her phone with her, no one was at home and with the diminishing daylight it dawned upon her that she was trapped.

She settled down at the feet of the chair positioned in the centre of that dingy room. Silence and darkness were slowly getting themselves acquainted with her. Her fingers caught hold of iron shackles tied to the chair.

As she was getting a feel of them a drop trickled down her neck from the backside. She turned and raised her head to see what it was. In the faint brightness of streetlights basking inside that basement through the ventilator it was hard to ascertain what it was. She didn’t pay much attention to it and walked towards the light filtering through the bars of the ventilator. She sensed huge shadows looming over her. And in a moment she realized she couldn’t move further. Something was dragging her back. In a jiffy she turned to find that the shackles she was moments ago fiddling with now bound her. As she tried to free herself the door sprang open and a woman with a knife charged at her. Her face was masked. Before Sally could unmask her she stabbed Sally with vigour and was laughing in a demonic way. Sally collapsed wailing and wriggling in pain. Her shrieks tore apart the blanket of silence that room was embracing till that moment.

Sally woke up in a jolted state. She didn’t realize that she slipped into sleep when she settled near the chair. Her hands raced to reach her abdomen It was an illusion, a dream, a gruesome one. As she was perplexed and gasping for her breath the jammed door did open.

Standing in front was Tracy with a knife in her hand.

She approached the petrified Sally and knelt down on her knees and peeped into Sally’s eyes and said ” you fear me right?” whiled holding knife close to Sally’s face.

Sally by this time was stone cold sans any emotion. Silence ensued again before Tracey broke out in hysterical laugh and handed over her hand to lift up Sally. “I just came home and heard you screaming and tracked you down here. And this knife is to cut… Apples…Red as Blood, I was doing the same when I heard you”.

Both of them climbed up the stairs. Sally couldn’t take her eyes off Tracy. The dream, Tracy and knife still playing havoc in and with her mind. She was struggling hard to divert her mind and posed an unmindful question ” where’s Henry? Isn’t he with you?”

Tracy smiled and said ” you aren’t as naive as you seem to be, isn’t it?” Their gaze was locked in awkwardness before they reached the common area between their bedrooms. With a good night they retired to their respective rooms.

Sally rushed and shut herself in her room and called Josh. ” See you tomorrow” she concluded without giving him time to respond. Sally’s heart was racing…….

To be continued..

Know The Art Of Detachment


Originally posted on Candles Online

Have you ever left food on stove and forgot to turn off at the right time? I am sure not an alien situation. What happens then? Smoke all around, burnt food, burnt vessels, an uphill task of cleaning the mess and not to forget taunts / reprimands 😁. This is exactly close to what happens to us in life if we don’t know the art of detachment in our lives. Anxiety surrounds us as smoke, the vessel that is our body faces the burnt of such anxiety & related issues. Food that is a result of our anxiety & attachment driven actions are highly marred by negative emotions of greed, lust, anger, deception, lies and everything in that cadre. Food or lives, there’s no need to explain how people remember if it isn’t a right(eous) one. If we can’t turn off the fire in time or detach ourselves from the worldly pleasures and bonds then surely we will be charred.

What are the attachments we as human beings have?

* Materialistic Attachment

* Emotional Attachment

* Attachment with our fears

Let’s take on them one by one:

Materialistic Attachments: I will quote a simple example here. A person has a favourite coffee brand that he has been drinking over years as the first thing in the morning and anything else would leave him irritated throughout the day. Due to this reason he would plan his trips with coffee on his itinerary, even it means to going to someone else’s place. We can call it addiction or obsession but it is his attachment to that product that’s causing him this unnecessary trouble. This is an example where the repercussions might not impact others. But then as we move up the ladder (read more inclined towards accumulation) of materialistic attachments like that of money, land, gold etc. – our better sense is slowly replaced by seeds of greed, lust, deception. Why do you think why scams happen? Food for thought, isn’t it?

Emotional Attachment: A small story I would like to narrate from our epic Mahabharata – Guru Dronacharya, the teacher of Kuru Princes loved his son Ashwathama very much. His entire life he toiled to give a better life to his son and see him happy. His constant worry and misconception about Loving one’s kin even made him fight the righteous Pandavas. But the question is was his emotion truly can be defined as Love? No!! Love enables endurance, showing the right path by trending it even if it hurts for a while, love acts like a medicine that might taste horrendous but heals eventually. Let’s take a leaf from the present scenario. A mother punishing a young child for misbehaviour is surely love but the same mother trying to whitewash the same child’s image after few years if he / she picks up a wrong path is not love but emotional attachment.

Fear & Us: Our attachments feed our fear to say the least. If we don’t earn “enough”, if our kids don’t lead a certain patterned life, if we don’t fill in the already set norms of the society we will be ostracized. If we speak up the truth we will be mocked and we will end up sounding not relatable. We have to fit ourselves somehow in the places carved , even if it means denying our conscience. We don’t want to be robbed of our deemed valuables, we fear losing, we fear old age, we fear death, we fear estrangement from loved ones. This is our fear only that results in complications in our relationships feeding our egos. And in this run to the mill the only thing we don’t fear is “losing ourselves” and “sense”. Strange, isn’t it?

Interesting Fact: Most of our pilgrims are located at higher altitudes which requires us to carry as much as less possible baggage with us to make the journey easier. If we closely observe the intrinsic meaning / core of such journeys, it says “if you are coming to me why carry the unnecessary baggage of bonds, fears and attachments. Aren’t you supposed to relieve yourself in my presence?”

Where’s the liberty? Attachments impact us beyond a speck of doubt. But does this mean we take up asceticism right from the word go? Not possible as when born with this human abode we have a set of responsibilities towards our family and society. They need to be discharged with utmost care. But every once in a while we must care to answer “Who Am I?”, “What’s my purpose on this earth?”, “Is making merry the sole purpose of life?”. These questions to yourself will shed light on a new perspective of and towards life. That’s the illuminated path of righteousness where the almighty wants to see us shining in his light. Once that truth dawns upon us we will slowly try to distance ourselves from these attachments that shackled our souls. Our attachment shall be like a pearl of water on the lotus flower, it seems to be attached but never really stick together.

Practice Tip: All of us must practice silence, absolute silence!! No phone, no book but time with you. Start with 10 minutes a day, can increase it gradually. You will soon find the clutter that clogged our minds is getting decluttered. This silence is a teacher that teaches us we can be alone and don’t have to entertain “unnecessary” bonds. That will fill us with the ability to speak the truth and what is right the without fear of being judged. When fear leaves our hearts it is filled with joy. And the joy in your heart makes you understand there’s more pleasure in giving up than accumulating and holding tight.

Go ahead first simmer down and then switch off that stove, let your lives be filled with flavour of Joy that was intended to be. I am your company in this process 😊.

** My work is inspired by the words of Shri Garikapati Narasimham Garu🙏🙏.

Picture credit: Google.

Death Not The End


Candles Online

Zindagi toh bewafa hai ek din thukraayegi,

Maut mehbooba hai, saathi leke jaayega”

These are the lyrics of an old hindi song that I have heard decades ago. It translates to “life is a betrayer, will leave us midway but death is a darling that will surely take us with it”. Profound, isn’t it? Death is the ultimate reality of life. That reminds me of a particular scene from a regional movie – a mother whose son died pleads her husband to do something and revive her son’s life. He agrees but asks her to do one thing “go and get some black sesame seeds from a house / family that haven’t witnessed any death“. She runs from door to door but receives only one answer “SORRY, We just mourned loss of someone”. She collapsed of fatigue but realized one thing Death Is Inevitable! Hence that realization…

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Hey Don’t Call Me Aunty!!


Originally posted On Candles Online.

What hurts a woman the most? The word “hurt” is making this an emotional saga and definitely, I am not in a mood to tell one. So let’s change it to ” Enrage”. Yes, that makes it powerful 😉. So what can enrage a woman and invite her ire almost at the drop of a hat? Call her a bad driver she can still pardon you. Call her a nagger, you still have chances to watch that football match with friends. Illogical, argumentative, gossip lover – you still have bleak chances of making it safe. But one thing that guarantees a woman’s “you are so dead” look is calling her Aunty!!!!!

(Picture Credit – Google Inc.)

**Important Note: Don’t try the above-mentioned stunts at home**

Imagine a 25 year old lady who just delivered a baby and haven’t shed the extra kilos gained during her pregnancy is called Aunty by some random odd 50+ old salesman at the shop counter. This is exactly what happened to someone really close to me, it was me only 😂. Standing just 5 feet 3 inches from the ground, weighing around 81kgs I seriously looked like a sack of potatoes. But in my head, I was no less than a Greek Goddess who has draped a beautiful saree. Having an illusionary parallel world is important it seems, at the end of the day a happy mind scores over a svelte figure. Though I was 25, the different changes my body has just experienced I looked older than I was. Kids in their late teens started calling me Aunty, vendors who were double or triple my age replaced the sophisticated “Madam” with “Didi” which means elder sister. Elder sister to a man who crossed six decades !!!! That was heartbreaking, demotivating to say the least 😁. I was not “ageing” but looked aged 😱.

Blame it on pregnancy or hormones in play, gaining weight isn’t the only concern. A double date of pimples with wrinkles are so determined to make sure I am grounded well. 35 years of age (can we trend 10 years challenge again? Just asking 😁), my ageing process has been a roller coaster ride. Dresses that look fabulous on catalogues poke me with sarcasm in the trials and the mirror shouts “any flat tyre there, we have a spare here”. Then only the swollen under eye area shouted “we have carry bags too”. Acne scars in late thirties so adamant to leave lecture me freckled face is in. And I am like ” you no freckle but a damn pimple”.

Being Called Aunty is still ok: Since last year for god only knows reason hormonal imbalance has added another feather in my cap – excessive facial hair growth, especially the chin area. Slowly I have come terms with being called Aunty. I explained to myself – it’s ok sabka time aayega (no one is going to stop ageing). I might have aged a bit too early and fast. Let it sink. And I moved on in life until I realized what if people now start calling me Uncle due to the stubble I am growing 😂😂. I would like to thank my mask here for masking my imperfections as well. That reminds of an incident that happened 18 years ago – a time when I was not introduced to the magic of Salon yet. A friend of mine made fun of how I am having a moustache, my kids would be confused whom to call papa😂😂. Now those ghosts haunt me again . Damn these hormones 😡😡.

Dr. Google consulted: The moment I realized my face has too many folds on its linen I consulted Dr. Google. I have been prescribed everything – from dripping egg to sticky honey; from colourful turmeric to plain white rice powder along with tomatoes, cucumber, potato and possibly everything under the sun used in the kitchen. Results were not visible but my face told me “idiot you missed the pan, leave me alone first get your eyes checked”. When you hit panic buttons you are eager to try everything with an anticipation of quick results. Acceptance of the fact that you are ageing is one thing and earnest efforts to make sure it isn’t visible is another ball game that everyone participates in. So did I. So what if I had to wipe the entire kitchen floor after my beauty treatment; so what if my 5 years old called me a monster and tucked in blanket; so what if the application literally impairs me from speaking or laughing to avoid more wrinkles and all I could do is mumble to add to the annoyance of others (read husband). Say no die is the mantra 😁.

How to keep oneself motivated: To lose weight, to have that youthful look on face, to let the world guessing what your age could be one needs to have a disciplined regime and diet. Walking, cardio, lifting, protein diet, yoga – in short whatever our celebrities say they do to look flawless and carved. I charge up myself for such meticulous plan, determined to push few pounds and years back. Salads graced my plate until an ice cream enticed me towards it. One scoop, two scoop – and the drama begins.

Brainwhat are you up to? This isn’t the plan.

Hearthow naïve you are dear brain! Let her eat and enjoy till she can. At the dusk of life this is not possible. Life is so short to curb oneself from little pleasures.

BrainWhat about her plan to look like that celebrity?

HeartLol, celebrity has to stay in limelight, it’s business, showbiz, completely professional. We shouldn’t mix personal and professional things – I mean her personal with their profession. Does it make sense or not?

Brain(gave up) ok then don’t complain later 😏.

And I savoured the third scoop!.

Moral of the story : I have come up terms with life. Aunty, Behen ji, Didi – no problem, I am sport for everything. Sab Moh Maya hai (everything is illusionary). Ageing is inevitable, for someone way too fast and early and for some a bit restrained, nonetheless it happens. What matters is health – physical and mental. And for everything else : Beauty is internal .😉❤️

I Sense A Presence XIII


Night passed in restlessness but Sally chose not to open up first. She awaited for Henry to make the first move and enquire about the last night as that would give a confirmation to her doubts if she was being watched over by him. But nothing of that sort happened. And the day began to roll out as usual. And Tracy too didn’t exhibit any change in her behavior, it was cold yet cordial as it used to be.

At the breakfast table Sally intentionally mentioned about Josh, his police diaries, fugitives on run, tricks they adhere to escape from the trap, adventurous chase downs. She was playing a bluff. She wanted to see Tracy’s reaction as she couldn’t have directly questioned her in the absence of any evidence. Sally was suddenly over friendly with Tracy.

She turned to Tracy and said “You know what he narrated so many stories to me. I was just dumbfound. Real life incidents sometimes could be more stranger and unbelievable than the fictional tales. He mentioned about a strange case, there was a girl who was caught with drugs, charged and after spending sometime in the custody puff.. she was gone… Vanished into thin air!!! Police simply couldn’t trace her. Bizarre, isn’t it? ” (Pauses with a conniving smirk.)

Though Sally spoke at an unusual pace but her eyes kept a close track of every minute change in the facial expressions of Tracy. She didn’t utter a word, didn’t show exasperation, didn’t exclaimed in disbelief and her face had a veil of stoic poise but her gaze was lowered. It almost seemed she was avoiding meeting the questioning stare of Sally. And Sally was observing, and somewhat enjoying the awkward silence of Tracy.

Henry whereas interrupted Sally “I am sure Josh got many escapades in his kitty. I would love to hear them at leisure but some other time honey, now we shall make a move” and smilingly left the breakfast table and planted a kiss on Sally’s forehead. Tracy too excused herself cordially. With a plastic grin on her face Sally watched them leave.

As soon as they left Sally called Josh. But she reached his mailbox. So she left a message:

“Hey Josh, this is Sally. Can we meet at the earliest possible day? It’s urgent”

And she got busy winding up chores and after that she proceeded to her room. Alone in the room her mind incessantly ran towards the scribblings that rested in her bedside drawer. She was intrigued at the coincidence of how details of a diary are intertwined with her own life. Her fingers ran through the pages as her mind spoke to her “I am not sure why I am doing this, how on earth is it even possible? Two complete strangers, different time zones yet similar lives. Is it the history repeating itself or a prophecy? If I share this with anyone they will call me mad. Am I thinking too much? There’s something about this… This diary, Anne Turner, this house…..I..I can sense a presence. Argh.. this is only in my head, nothing else” she had so many convoluted thoughts.

To her surprise all she could find in the diary was torn pages, struck out words. The last thing that was mentioned was – I was trapped in my own house!!

That raised Sally’s curiousity. She grabbed that diary and marched towards the basement to see if it had any more sequels. The basement is still an unexplored landmine for her, especially that room from where she found Anne Turner.

She set her foot again in that room. Sensing every inch of it with her fingers – The racks, dirty clothes, the shackles, the slight rays of light falling on the chair like it was in the spotlight. Sally sat on the chair and leaned back. There was strong wind blowing outside, she could feel it from the ventilator.

Thad! The door closed with a bang. She rose and ran to open the door, but it was jammed. Hours passed, storm did die so did the sunlight. There was darkness all around her and Sally was Trapped in her own house…….

** to be continued

Change The Way You See Me


woman-nature

Dear Society,

You see me as tears, saga of a broken beaten self. But I am a rain drop that has many rainbows hidden in its embrace.

You see me as dust that can be swept under the carpet of your fallacious ego. But I am the earth from whose lap life emanates.

You see me as a heap of leaves that lie shuddering and withered on ground, awaiting for the spring to arrive. But I am the wind that drape seasons and facilitate change.

You see me just as glitter and bling of a shimmery costume that you can discard at will. But I am the fire that holds warmth, brilliance and blaze.

You see me as a fragile bird that you can keep shackled in the cage of restrictions. But I am the sky of dreams and aspirations beyond your comprehension and petty gaze.

You see me as “Just & After All” Woman, a petite body. But I am an embodiment of love, force and strength – the nature itself, an identity here to stay.

Change the way you see me is all I have to say.

From a woman proud of womanhood ❤️❤️.

I Sense A Presence XII


Sally couldn’t believe her ears. She jumped out of the bed and left the room in a hurry lest not to disturb Henry.

“Are you sure? You better be serious, I am in no mood for your pranks Josh” warned a shocked Sally yet keeping decibels quite low.

“Prank!! At this hour!! I thought you know me better than this. I agree that I goofed up by calling at this hour but my suspicion about having seen her before isn’t wrong at all. Her awkward hesitant behavior in our short meeting if at all you have noticed especially when I told her that it seems it isn’t our first meeting kept me pondering over and over – Who is she? Did I actually see her before? Some flashes from past about a certain case started hoovering around in my mind. Once I reached the station, the first thing that I did was to access the records across different cities in the country. There I saw photograph of Lizzy, a 20 years old girl, caught and charged with possession of drugs.”

As Sally was quite intrigued in what Josh has to say she felt a presence watching and listening to her. She hung up on Josh hurriedly and turned to see who was there. She could find no one. She rushed to her bedroom to see if it was Henry. She found him in sound sleep. “Was it Tracy? Is it possible?” She thought to herself as she once again found herself in anxiety ridden situation.

“Talk to you later” she sent a message in jiffy

To calm herself down and divert herself and get a grip on her nerves she chose to resort to her new found interest, reading the diary of Anne Turner. And she began restlessly:

“Vile is an understatement. Her eyes are keepers of secrets, secrets so dark and devastating. Her smirk is venomous and her silence is a silent catastrophe that’s waiting to knock us over”

Those words churned a whirlpool of emotions in Sally. A realisation suddenly dawned upon her ” is it a mere coincidence?” She asked aloud in her head at the turn of events in her life and the notes she was reading – striking similarities. Mysterious aura of Tracy, Her own bruised arms, inebriated Tracy, Josh expressing his doubts about the identity of Tracy – everything flashed in front of Sally’s eyes. She was lost in the fluttering pages and was perspiring heavily.

Suddenly shocked by a hand that jolted her from behind. It was Henry.

“What happened? Not slept yet? What are you reading now?” Henry looking at the diary in Sally’s hands.

“N..N..Nothing, I thought you were sleeping, in deep sound slumber” Sally’s tone was a mix of anxiety, intrigue and suspicion. And she continued “Did I disturb you?” She asked fixing her gaze on Henry’s face.

Henry chuckled and said “Indeed I was sleeping but the continuous buzzing sound of your phone disturbed me , I would say a little”.

Sally realised her phone was not in the silent mode she usually activates at night and was at this point not sure if Henry heard her conversation or not. “Oh I am sorry today I forgot to switch on the aeroplane mode. My apologies for the disturbance” Sally put on fake smile so as to not to give him an insight of her state of mind at this very moment.

Henry calmly tossed to the other side and said “it’s ok Honey. But seems someone is really restless to send out notifications at this hour. Anyways good night darling”

And Sally kept staring at Henry in utter confusion. She had many questions and was battling for answers. That might passed in absolute silence to what meets eye but a storm was raging inside Sally, swaying her strongly.

MAKE SOME SPACE FOR LOVE


Candles Online

Set the alarm for the next day, have put the kids to sleep, hand cream ✔️, moisturizer ✔️, time to hit the sack and before calling it a day one important ritual to perform. Praying ❎, Reading a book ❎, Writing diary ❎, it’s a ritual followed more religiously, relentlessly – social media surfing. Yes, this is my confession laced with a teaspoonful of embarrassment and gallons of regret. What is so embarrassing and regretful about surfing the social networking / media sites, the world is on it. Yes it is but somehow it is not being utilised the way it was intended to. I understand this is becoming quite a confused narration and preachy by miles. Let me make it more comprehensible, let me give you a detour of my state of mind few days back.

Scenario 1: I have a moderately right leaning ideology when it comes to…

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