Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Mithilesh Kumar: "Unlike Shri Ram’s life, we do not know many aspects of Shri Krishna’s life" (Interview)

I had recently read a book named Supercop of Aryavrat written by Mithilesh Kumarji. I loved the book and when I came to know that author is more than 65 years of age, I became more interested to know about him and hence, I took the opportunity of interviewing him which is here for all of you to read and understand him as much as me.

Hi Mithileshji, tell us something about your book- Supercop of Aryavrat. — My book SuperCop of ARYAVRAT is Shri Krishna’s story from Shri Krishna’s perspective.

What made you write this book? How did you choose Lord Krishna out of all the Gods for writing your 1st mythological book? — First, I want to clarify that this is not a mythological book, this is a historical novel. This is not the story of Lord Krishna; this is the story of one of our most illustrious ancestors, Shri Krishna who was born on July the 19th, 3228 BC and who died on Feb the 18th, 3102 BC. Being our ancestor, he was more than God/Lord for me. So I don’t address him as Lord or God. I feel I am nearer to him when I prefix his name with Shri as we prefix the names of our parents, grandparents, etc. — This is Shri Krishna’s story from Shri Krishna’s perspective.
            Now coming to the question what made me write this book, well, many friends informed me that they knew everything about Shri Krishna through TV serials, films and various books on him. Why another book? I asked them, ‘Okay, you know everything about him. Then tell me the names of all his eight principal queens.’ No one could go beyond four.  We do not know even this basic fact of his life. While researching on his life, I came to know that there are other aspects too we do not know and I decided to give words to his complete life story.

Since when you were inclined towards mythology and why did it take you so long to write this book? — Again I want to clarify first that SuperCop of ARYAVRAT is a historical novel, not a mythological story. The reason is and I repeat that Shri Krishna was a historical figure, and not a mythological one. How the dates of his birth and death were calculated is already available in public domain. But sceptics will still ask what is the proof that he really existed. A few hundred years from today the same question will be asked about Mahatma Gandhi too because people a few generations below the line will not believe that a frail looking man played an extremely important role pushing the mighty British away from India with what weapons — non-cooperation and non-violence. Next, before the Mughals and various dynasties of Muslim rulers, Prithvi Raj Chauhan was the king of Ajmer, Delhi and around. But in Delhi there are very few monuments of a period earlier than the rulers of Delhi Sultanate. In the matter of Shri Krishna and Dwarka, however, some artefacts brought out near Bet Dwarka from sea bed by marine archaeologists testify to the period. — In brief, he has been one of the our most illustrious and greatest ancestors and we must feel proud to be his progeny.
            After attaining sixty when I retired I wanted to start a second inning of my life. Writing was always my hobby even though it is a slightly monotonous job. Well, besides the creativity it gives me immense satisfaction. Since the time I thought of the idea of writing a book on Shri Krishna, it took me three-four years, reading about him from all the sources I could lay my hands on, then understanding various episodes of his life from realistic point of view, then deciphering the modern names of the kingdoms and cities of those days, and lastly drawing out the detailed plot. After that the job was easy. Giving words to all that and the book was ready.

As Amish Tripathi says that he didn’t plan to write about Lord Shiva but the story and book came to him from the Superpower sources. Did something similar happen with you too in this case? — No, I made a proper plan to write this book because I felt that unlike Shri Ram’s life, we do not know many aspects of Shri Krishna’s life. I have said in Preface that Valmiki was a contemporary of Shri Ram. He wrote the Ramayana that is the most authentic biography of Shri Ram. Later, great poets of different languages wrote their books on Shri Ram, keeping mostly Valmiki’s Ramayana as base. We keep Ramayana or another book on Shri Ram by some great poet at our home, and worship the book as well. On the other hand, Vedvyas was a contemporary of Shri Krishna, but he did not choose to write on the life of Shri Krishna that spanned for more than 125 years and 6 months and that remained as the pivot of most of the happenings of the Aryavrat of those days. Had he written it, it’d have been the most authentic biography of him. Instead, he chose to write a book on the 18-day war, the Mahabharata that we do not keep at home; keeping it at home is considered inauspicious.

How hard was it to research on Lord Krishna and how did you do it and since when? — The idea was in my mind since long as I said above. Then, researching on anything, any incident is not easy. That too when the story is more than five thousand years old. Besides when by the passage of time many incidents have been termed as miracles. But when you have determination, no power on the earth can stop you.

Weren’t you doubtful while writing that there could be controversy if you end up writing something about Lord Krishna which might offend someone? — I wrote the life story of Shri Krishna from the perspective of Shri Krishna who was one of our most illustrious ancestors. So there is no question of offending anyone.

What made you so specific that you didn’t share much about Bhagawad Gita in the book and focused on the character of Lord Krishna himself? — Because the story pertains to Shri Krishna. Shri Krishna in totality. Though Shri Mad Bhagwat Gita is an all time great scripture, renowned all over the world, it is only one part of him.

What is the next story you are planning to write? What is it based on? — I am contemplating another quality book, in another genre.

Can you please let us know what motivates you to write at this age of 65+? — Gurudev, after
attaining international fame and becoming the first Asian to win Nobel Prize in literature in 1913, for Gitanjali, and after writing evergreen and wonderful  novels, stories, dramas and getting lot of acclaim for songs as well, started painting at the age 60, and excelled in that too. Hence age is only a number and creativity has no age limit. We must take inspiration from him. Then, as I said earlier writing has been my hobby. Next, you must have seen cars of older generation sometimes needed to be pushed for getting started while the new generation cars are self-start. I am in the second category. So ideas keep on coming and my mind gets on perfecting them.

What would you like to advise to the youth of our nation and the aspiring writers? — To the youth of our nation I want to tell — you are the future of India. Excel in whatever field you are in and make your parents, your community and our country proud of you. At least try to achieve higher than what people of your immediately preceding generation have achieved lest your parents get known by your name. A father/mother feels proud when he/she gets recognised through his/her son/daughter.
            If you are interested in writing, you should be an avid reader first. After that you will realise that you too have a story that will slowly and slowly start bubbling out, to be told. Next, writing is a craft, develop it and perfect it. 6Ps for writing a good novel should be kept in mind. Plot, Prose, Practice, Perseverance, Patience, Perfection — each one with excellence.  



Monday, October 21, 2019

Slave Technology by Biju P R (Book Review: 3*/5) !!!

All of us have definitely become slaves of technology in this world of affordable smartphones, laptops and data packs. It has really become difficult for all of us to stay away from the social media websites and apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, Blogging websites etc. But there is always the possibility about which track to follow when one is surfing through Social Media- the content that gives you positivity or the content that gives you negativity. If in any case, you start enjoying the negative content and also get involved in spreading the same, the technology that should be a boon for us ends up becoming bane and destructive. The 44th book of this year that I just completed reading on this weekend is based on the same named “Slave Technology” written by Biju P R who already has such researched books in the market. This book is published by Rupa Publications in around 144 pages.

The book is divided into 11 different chapters where all of them talks about the negative impact of the technology. As all of us while using Internet never takes it so seriously that it can actually change our mindset as per the contents we view, this book shall definitely act as a very big eye-opener where you shall be surprised with what all takes place because of the same Internet you have been using for uploading your pictures and check-ins on Facebook and Instagram. Author talks about the topics such as bragging on the Internet, rise of digital ghettos, the way gossips, rumours are spread, reputation is harmed, hatred is being campaigned, trolling is discussed in a full chapter, how sexism exists on the Internet, narcissism on Internet, people who scam others on Social media, how people end up falling in false love and then get betrayed and finally ends with censorship on the platform.

All the chapters cover whatsoever could have been covered in the same. As I have already read many articles in newspapers and Internet about the damage that social media does to people, community or country hence there was nothing new for me but I can say that author tried to cover all the points with statistics at few places to make them sound relevant.

The writing style of the author is like a journalist which makes it easy for you to read this book in a single sitting due to its easy language and user-friendly vocabulary. The references for all the articles that author has used in research while drafting/writing this book is mentioned at the end of every chapter. The amount of research that must have gone is incredible and that shows in the content of the book.

Talking about the few drawbacks, I must say that author has just mentioned all the drawbacks and shortcomings of the Internet but didn’t give any kind of solution- solutions even where it could be implemented at the individual level itself. Then, author has not discussed about the benefits of technology at all. So, if you are very positive about Internet and have not taken it that seriously till now, you shall end up getting negative and scared about your mobile and shall even sell it off and take a Black and white handset. Yes, the book is definitely very negative which I felt author could have balanced. I also felt that the author was biased towards a gender and religion which he made it sound as if they are too victimized by the acts of another majority on Internet which I disagree with. At some places, book sounds like an agenda too.

Overall, this is a nice book if you really want to know the negative impact of technology and social media in case you are unaware of what happens in the other world of Internet. I give this book 3 stars out of 5.



Friday, October 18, 2019

Lights! Scalpel! Romance! by Jas Kohli (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

Well, it’s not every day when you pick up a book and feel that you took the best decision of your life. This week I have been lucky by picking up this amazing book called “Lights! Scalpel! Romance!” written by Jas Kohli. If I am not wrong, this is his 2nd book after his 1st book called “Anything to look hot”. I wasn’t very much impressed with that book and felt that it could have been better and I feel after the gap of 4 years, author has really made many improvements as he again wrote a book based on the life of surgeons but this time, the book is several light years ahead from his previous book in terms of quality, story, treatment, surprising elements etc.

Jas Kohli’s writing style is very dynamic and the way this book is narrated made me imagine how in several more ways it could have been written such as - either in first voice of the character Nipun or in the first voice of each and every character chapter-wise or like personal diary entries of each of the characters etc. The book gives you more ideas that means every reader shall take story in their way and better it in their minds. Even though the book is not a thriller, the narration makes you read the book as fast as possible because of the entertainment and excitement quotients it has.

There are few books you can call as “Positive Book” undoubtedly, and this book is definitely one of them. Even when author talks about something which doesn’t go in the way of the characters, even then you feel good reading about it as author opens other dimensions to the story with it. The back page of the book says it’s a fictional romance but I must say more than romance, this book has humour. Yes, this book should be marketed as a Humorous book. The life of surgeons and what goes into the hospital- in front of us and backdoors is described so beautifully that you wish to read more and more about each of the characters.

The best part of this book which can be called its USP is the way characters are treated. I have rarely come across such books where all the characters are defined so perfectly that you can understand what they are like and how they would react to situations. Jas Kohli does it perfectly and makes all the characters your friends as you feel you know each of them personally. Along with telling a great story, author also makes us aware about many things without getting preachy such as the Hospital or Healthcare industry where there is lot of dirty competitions between doctors, doctors intently doing wrong with patients, negligence of few doctors, aggressive patients, affairs among doctors, doctor’s eye on beautiful patients etc. Along with it doctor also talks about other social issues but does it so beautifully that only if you shall read between lines will you understand how deeply it has been treated.

The conversational parts in this book are too good. In the previous book of author, I had talked about it as a drawback and this time, I am talking about it as the best part about the book. Wherever author wants to make you laugh or make you nervous, he is able to do the same successfully. Also, the one-liners, taunts, sarcasm etc. are so very good that it makes this book a repeat-read. It shall entertain you every time. The romance part of the book is not intense like Bollywood stories but a very realistic note on how people dream and then fail when you actually go into the live situation of impressing the person you want to get settled with.

The book is amazing, I must say. If you want a light-read plus a great laughter session. Go for it. I don’t have any such drawbacks to discuss except that cover page could have been more appealing. Book should have been focused and marketed more as Humour/Satire than Romance.

The 1st book of the author received 3.5 stars rating from me whereas this time it directly jumps to 4.5* out of 5. Yes, it is that good. Recommended!



Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Mayank Manohar:- "I was not confident about my writing and I was afraid of being judged by everyone." (Interview)

I recently read the book named "Shadow of the Past" written by Mayank Manohar. I was very happy reading the book as it belongs to the Romance genre but it's writing is very matured unlike other cliche novels these days. This made me think about interviewing the author and for all you, please go through the small Question and Answer session that both of us did for this interview to happen:-

Hi Mayank, please let us know something about your background. 

Hi Abhilash. I am from Patna, Bihar. I was born in Bangalore and brought up in Patna. I finished my schooling from Patna Central School before moving to Hyderabad, where I completed my high school from Narayana Junior College. I am an engineer-turned-journalist and I have worked with The Times of India as a senior correspondent. This is a bit about my background. I am a dreamer and a keen observer. I spend most of my time travelling, reading and observing people when I am not working. 

How did you get into writing and since when you have been writing?

Like every other kid, the first ambition of my life was to join the Army. But as you grow up, you realize your potential. I was in 12th grade when the idea of becoming a writer struck me for the first time. It took me five years to finally decide what I wanted to do and take up writing as my profession.

I started writing in 2010 when I had dropped one year after my 12th grade to prepare for engineering entrance exams. I started as a blogger but didn't tell anyone in my circle about it. I was not confident about my writing and I was afraid of being judged by everyone. Only after a few random people started appreciating my blog, it gave me the confidence to showcase my writings to friends and family.

What motivated you to write your first book- Shadow of the Past?

I was going through a similar phase while growing up and I know how messed up it is to deal with your past. Especially, when your past has a habit of surprising you every now and then. I know how important it is to accept certain things and move ahead with life. Even if people don't tell you, everyone is raging a battle within their head. Some choose to ignore it, some fight it and some get consumed by it. This was my attempt to connect with people, who are going through similar situations and tell them that it is okay if you have messed up as long as you know that you want to get better and move ahead with life. Life is too short to regret about things we have no control over.

Is it somewhere inspired from your life?

It is a work of fiction but every story is inspired by some or the other life events. It is wrong to say it is entirely based on my experiences but it has some aspects of my life too.

Were you confident about the story you had chosen for your first book?

To be honest, I was suggested by a few people to write a story with a happy ending. But I wanted to write something which is dreamy yet close to reality. 

Shadow of the Past is technically my second book and officially my first. I wrote my first book "Life's Unpredictable" in 2012 but it never got published. It received 19 rejections and now when I look back, I feel I was not ready to become a writer back then. 

I didn't write for the next one and a half years as the rejections shattered me from within. It felt maybe people who told me I was wasting my time chasing the impossible were right. Nobody believed me initially when I told them I wanted to become a writer. But when I was in the final year of engineering and during the placement drive, I realized that I am not meant to be an engineer. It took me 20 back-to-back rejections to finally muster up the courage to tell my parents that I want to pursue journalism and not end up as an engineer.

I started this book (Shadow of the Past) in 2015 and completed it in 2017. It took me two years to plot and complete this book and there is a major difference in the first and final draft. And now when I look back, I know why everything happened. It happened for a reason.

Did you feel any doubt while writing a Love story that people won’t accept it or it would woo only a certain age-group?

While writing this book the only thing that kept me going was the idea behind it. If you look around, many people are struggling with their past. Some are even afraid to talk about it or they choose to ignore it. I wanted people to find solace in this book and maybe find some strength to deal with their past if they are going through a similar phase. I was nervous initially but after I finished writing, I knew I have managed to do a decent job. 

How did the idea of including letters in the book come to you? How difficult was to write each one of them differently than others?

I am a fan of old school romance. I wish I lived in an era, where love letters were still a thing. The idea of writing letters to your loved ones is something that always fascinated me and that's why I wanted to include those letters. These days the idea of romance has changed and I thought it will bring back some old memories. 

It was difficult to write each one of them as I had to put myself in their shoes and react emotionally. Writing a book is similar to method acting. You have to feel the emotions your characters are going through and only then you will be able to do justice with them. I used to watch movies and read books, which would trigger those emotions within in order to write. 

The book has an open-ending. Are we going to see its sequel in the near future? If yes, by when? And will it be the last book in the series?

I always wanted to write a book, which leaves the reader wondering and allow them to think. I wanted them to take something back and reflect at the same time. Yes, I am working on the next one and hopefully, we will see "A Glimpse of Future" soon. Yes, it is a two-part series. 

How has been your association with Fingerprint publications?

It has been wonderful. I cannot thank them enough for the effort the entire team of Fingerprint has put in and helped me to understand the entire process of getting published. I was told by many people many things based on their experiences but it has been a pleasure to be associated with Fingerprint Publishing. 

What would you like to say to your readers about your further plans. 

First of all, I want to thank each one of them for reading Shadow of the Past and posting their unbiased reviews. It feels great to see when people say they could connect with the book or it was their story. That's what matters to me more. A writer is incomplete without its readers. I am working on a sequel to Shadow of the Past and all I want to tell them is this is just a beginning of something new and hopefully, they are going to see me often. 



Sunday, October 13, 2019

Dalal's Street by Anurag Tripathi (Book Review: 3.5*/5) !!!

There are few topics on which Indian authors don’t write much but these are the topics if brilliantly written, wonderful stories can be crafted out of them which can make readers excited and eager to know about this world. One such topic I wanted to read from a long time was on the world of stock market but unfortunately, I couldn’t find any book from an Indian author. Recently, a book with the title “Dalal’s Street” caught by attention and I directly picked it up and completed it this weekend in spite of busy schedule.

The book is written by Anurag Tripathi- this is his 2nd book after Kalayug. The book is of around 200 pages and I must say the writing style of Anurag is very fast-paced which makes it easy for you to complete this book in minimum sittings as you go on turning page in excitement and eagerness of what would happen next. The way author starts the book focusing on four characters who are just getting out of college and trying to choose the stream they would want to work ahead in the future, the book gives you great expectations on their chemistry and journey ahead. In the beginning chapters itself, author also gives reference and backdrop of a man who is father of one of these characters which makes the read more interesting as it sounds like the screenplay of some movie.

After the story starts post introduction of characters and the way these people start juggling in this world of stock markets where everything is grey and confuses them as they find it difficult to understand how exactly the market plays, the story starts becoming intriguing. Here onwards, author uses his research and knowledge about Stock market up to his best abilities. Author tries to manage to assure that his readers understand the terms and jargons of Stock market before they end up getting confused as to what is happening with these characters and their clients in the book.

I liked how author was able to cover everything- in spite of Stock being the main focus of the book, there are also pieces of love, romance, betrayal, lust, greed, violence, action, technology etc. The pre-climax is very greatly managed and when you think the story has ended, the last chapter really surprises you with the twist. How the whole market and scenarios can be changed and manipulated by just one man scares you and next time, definitely, you shall have multiple questions whenever someone would ask you to buy shares of some organization. The book really gives you many information about Stock and Shares and in the end, author shares the glossary which I appreciate a lot.

Now talking about the few drawbacks- I feel author did justice mainly to the two male characters but missed out the other two females completely. They are just brought about in between to bring little bit of twists to the story but they don’t have great story of their own. Also, I feel that author could have added elements of mafia, politics involvement, bankers etc. to make the story more dynamic than it already is. I also felt that sometimes author really went deep into the jargons and integrities of the topic which makes it little hard for normal readers like me to immediately understand what is happening and what are the consequences of few actions that the characters are performing.

Overall, this book is fast-paced and narrated very well. I give this book 3.5* out of 5.



Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Shadow of the Past by Mayank Manohar (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

Well, you can only thank yourself or the destiny when you pick up the right book to read or movie to watch at a particular moment of your life. I just got done with my birthday and I don’t know how people actually celebrate it as I feel very lonely and isolated on this particular day of my life. Just after my birthday ended, I picked up this book named “Shadow of the past” written by the debutante author, Mayank Manohar, knowing that I am at my vulnerable self and this book shall trigger lot of emotions which it did many times. The book is published by Fingerprint Publication in around 167 pages.

Beginning with the writing style, I must say Mayank has written this book in the most perfect way it could have been written. As people like me who have been reading new Indian authors since a decade can understand how painful it is to pick up a love story or romantic novel because of them being too cliché and cheesy due to the treatment of characters and story. But I am glad that I can say I am finally writing about a common love and break-up story written in a very spectacular manner. I could feel the sense of reading a Bollywood script with every sentence and scene. This is how much possible author makes it for you to imagine! And what more do you need from a book, isn’t it?

The story of the book is almost like the stories of movies such as YJHD, KKHH or you can say from Karan Johar’s genre but the treatment given to it with beautiful language, conversations, emotions etc. is way too commendable. I liked all the letters in the book as it really made me feel lump in my throat while reading them. They are damn too emotional. Also the book and story tells and focuses majorly upon the decisions a human being takes, the way friends don’t understand your priorities if you don’t belong to the herd, how you lose your best person due to that, how then you stay in its memories throughout life, how you find a new person yet can’t understand what to do when your best person returns back at the same time etc.

The pre-climax is very well managed by the author which actually moves the story tremendously. Talking about the climax, the last paragraph is too open for you to be surprised and shocked for some time. I just couldn’t believe what I read which made me read the paragraph multiple times which made me realize that it’s an open ending and there’s a chance we can find its sequel soon. I would request author to bring it out soon as the way he is writing romance right from his 1st book itself is very promising and I would like to read him more.

Talking about the drawbacks of the book- I feel author should have included little more quality time between Rehan and Arpita as somewhere I felt this beautiful relationship didn’t get the importance it deserved. Also, I felt the story gets too filmy at times where important events are postponed or cancelled just like that which takes the story away from reality. Author could have also made the protagonist little more powerful in terms of the maturity in taking decisions but I won’t say much on this because few characters are meant to be imperfect for making the story it is. This book is definitely the Kabir Singh of romantic books. Lastly, the cover page is beautiful but I would have appreciated it more if characters looked Indian rather than Foreigners. Indians look great- only if we, ourselves, stop considering ourselves inferior to Whites. 

Overall, this is truly a very beautiful book and as all of us have gone through break-ups, we shall relate with it somewhere or the other. Before providing my final rating, I would say that author did a great job my not adding intimate scenes just for the sake of making the book juicier. Now, finally, yes, I am giving this book 4.25* out of 5. I am myself surprised that a love story is being rated so highly from me but who deserves- deserves completely.



Thursday, October 3, 2019

Supercop of Aryavrat by Mithilesh Kumar (Book Review: 4.25*/5) !!!

I was never inclined so much towards mythology and history but the modern literature where the authors assure that we don’t get bored of these stories are very entertaining to read as the writers write them like fiction and not how our History books were written. One such book that I have just ended up reading is written by Mr. Mithilesh Kumar who is 65+ of age. Kudos to author for sharing his knowledge with us at this age. The name of the book is “Supercop of Aryavrat” published by Authors Upfront in around 300 pages. Yes, the book is quite lengthy, but I must say it is worth reading if you really wanted to read about Lord Krishna’s adventures on the planet Earth.

It is not easy to write on any such historical or mythological character considering the amount of research it goes into knowing each and every detail about him/her but I must say the maturity of author can be seen in every sentence written in this book describing one or the other tale having Krishna in the scenario somewhere or the other playing his strategic mind games. We get to know his story right from how he got his birth, his childhood, his days as king, his multiple marriages, his difficult moment with his cousins which led to the war of Mahabharata where he played a very big role which made us know and understand about our religion and finally the few moments before his death and finally his death.

I am glad that author, rather, than talking only about those events which all of us already know about Krishna’s childhood and youth talked about events which most of us are unaware about but plays a big importance in understanding the character and dynamicity of this Superman called Lord Krishna. Though author has never tried to project him as God or Lord in the book, but you can understand how important Legend he has been to give positive results to many incidents of history/mythology. Also, I liked how author didn’t spend major time in the sequence where Bhagawad Geeta is imparted but talked only about actions which happened at fast-pace unlike other books which ends up giving importance only to that section and ends the book then and there.

Another great observation that I had while reading is- author has not written this book in awe of Krishna where his mistakes aren’t highlighted. If author talks about his bravery, strategy, decision-making, courage, romance, power, leadership, respect, author also highlights his mistakes, mischiefs, wrong decisions, regrets, immaturity, ignorance etc.

Now talking about the drawbacks, I would say that author could have definitely given this book a good edit by 40-50 pages as I felt few scenes are really described more than needed. Also, through the title of the book, very less people would be able to guess that it is about Lord Krishna which shall keep this book away even from people searching for book on the Lord. Author started with a chapter which should have actually been the ending chapter of the book as it could have given an emotional climax to the book whereas now it gives an incomplete feeling to the reader in case reader is not able to connect the last sentence of the book with the 1st chapter. There are too many characters in the book, which is definitely not author’s mistake, but I believe a family tree, or the relation of the characters could have been mentioned in the start of the book for reference throughout. I also felt that few characters are not given very nice built-up due to which you can’t connect with them throughout. And lastly, I believe the multiple marriages of Krishna is discussed regularly in the 1st half of the book which irritated me after a point of time.

Other than the above observations, this book is definitely one of the good books on Krishna and I give this book 4.25* out of 5 and I would love to read more books by the author in the same genre.



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