Monday, 30 September 2019

A Family Unlike Any Other. (Diary Logs)

Hello Readers! Should I dare say, Happy Monday? Well, it is going to be a good week. We have a holiday on Wednesday & I’m going to Goa on Saturday!
Since there is not much progress with books or travel, here is a Diary Logs post for you!


Dear Diary,
It was 5 PM on a Saturday. At any other home, this would probably mean people getting ready to go out to not miss out a Saturday night, which has gained supreme importance because of the corporate indulgence. But, that wasn't just any other home & certainly not any other family.

After the most amazing afternoon nap which lasted 3 hours, the daughter came out of her room & sat in the hall. She was always troubled by outside noises coming from the drilling machine & hammers. But, even with those noises in the background, she had a good nap, entirely refreshing! Father was already sitting in the hall reading a book titled 'Anna Karenina'. There was a different energy in the home that time of the day & soon it clicked her. Daughter asked, "Where's mom?" Father said, "How did you know she's not home?" She responded, "Just a feeling." Surprised but not too unfamiliar of that feeling, father said, "Your tea is in the kitchen. Mom will come back in 2 hours or so." Daughter shrugs her shoulders, heats her tea & joins father in the hall. It is unusually quiet in the house without mother. It's almost like the home knows that mother is not home. Daughter takes her book titled 'Norwegian Wood' & tea to sit by the window. Son comes home from his classes, joins daughter & father in the hall. He asks, "Where's mom?" Same surprising yet familiar feeling strikes again. He gets the same answer. He gets his tea & the book titled 'Homo Sapiens' & sits at the other side of the window.

That's the kind of home it was. People having nice afternoon naps, reading book & drinking tea later in an unusually quiet home at 5 PM on a Saturday. And, that was perhaps the most peaceful thing in the air that day. No television. No Instagram. No drilling sounds anymore. Just some voices of kids playing cricket on their phones instead of playing it in the streets. Increasing number of Swiggy drivers seen on the road as the time passed. The society’s chairman checking on the few plotted plants in the premises & keeping his conscious clean about climate change. Some couples heading out to party. Some older couples heading out to buy groceries. Some friends heading out to eat pani puri.

Soon, mother was home & at the sight of her family members she said, "I should go out more often if it means you all will be reading & staying away from your phones!" Soon the unusual silence was gone & it took place by a familial feeling of talks. Talks about son's classes. Talks about the incessant drilling noises by daughter. Talks of books by father. Talks about shopping deals by mother. And so it went on & on. Saturday nights meant staying in with the family & doing just about nothing.
Until next time,

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Why You Should Read The Goldfinch!

For the past 3 weeks, I have been reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. It won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Entirely well-deserved. When you read such books, it isn’t just the story that stays with you, but it’s so much more. I think those who have read the book, either LOVED it or HATED it, because I don’t see an in-between.
When it comes to such extraordinary books, it becomes very tough to write their reviews. I don’t want to give away anything because the joy of reading this book is so pure. On the other hand, I also not want to write a review, which puts me in a dilemma. So, here’s an article on WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!


It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.
The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

It is a wonderful story of Theodore Decker & the painting he stole – The Goldfinch. I think he is someone who has seen everything that’s possible to see in one lifetime. Death. Addiction. Adventure. Obsession. Fate. Life. It is incredible how many challenges he faces & how he comes out of them. At times, the book is downright emotional, at other times almost too cruel. But, when you see how it is pieced together towards the end, you will be the one feeling all the feelings possible! You have to read this book! Here are more reasons to do so!

There are many characters in the book, but the main ones would be Theo, Boris & Hobie. Some of the others are Mrs. Barbour, Andy, Pippa, his father, Xandra & Kitsey.

THEODORE DECKER is one complex human being. He is like a river, he flows wherever fate takes him. From living with his mother, to staying at the Barbour’s, to going to Vegas with his dad, to getting back to NYC & finally going to Amsterdam & back. One moment he is grieving his mother’s loss, the next moment he has become an addict. One chapter he is a simple boy & in the next chapter he becomes a criminal. The kind of character progression (especially Theo’s) is remarkable! At times you find yourself involved in it all, feeling agitated, sorry & sad for him at the same time. It is such amazing character development why I loved reading this book. It holds you captive & makes you say, “Just one more chapter!”

When BORIS is introduced at the age of 14 or so, he is well wiser beyond his age. He has travelled quite a lot & he knows about a lot of things which Theo has no idea about. Child Boris is a mess. But, adult Boris is an experienced mess. He knows his life will always be complicated, but now he can just roll with it. At times, he is completely crazy, but at other times, he is incredibly wise, all while being an awesome friend.

HOBIE is a person of few words. He loves rebuilding antique furniture & doesn’t plan on anything more than that. We watch him become a friend of Theo and soon become a father-like figure in Theo’s life. He is not one to put deadlines on Theo, but when Theo messes up, he stands by him. He believes in correcting our mistakes by facing them. He is honest, caring, loving, strong – physically & emotionally.

It is a coming-of-age fictional story revolving around Theo. It is quite a big book, so you cannot always keep a track of the many things happening, which somehow I loved about it. Even though it’s a long story, not at any moment does it become boring. It is one adventure after another! You never know what will happen or how the little things along the story have a connection in the later part of the story. All the places hold importance & so do all the minor characters too. Everything connects in the end. There are many surprises that are completely unexpected. That’s the genius of Donna Tartt’s writing. Nowhere in the story before does she leave hints for the big surprises to come. And, as a reader, I love that! The story & the writing is impeccable & of an entire different class.

There are so many stages in the novel, where there are so many feelings involved. There is this one scene early on in the book. Theo is back at the apartment after the bombing at the museum, waiting for his mother to come. He is hopeful & maybe even a bit delusional because of the intensity of the attack. So, he does these little things at home so his mom will be impressed, but, in reality she’s actually dead, which the reader knows. This normal scene just tears you up! And, there are so many such scenes!
You realise that Theo once was a mama’s boy interested in art. But from there, he goes on drinking & smoking binges with Boris to an extreme. Even though Boris was just what Theo needed at that time, it was still very sad to see this transition.
At the end of the story, in the last 20 pages or so, there is this amazing conversation between Theo & Boris! You cannot not love all these emotional aspects that come with the story.

There are many things that are openly discussed & some other things are hinted. The book coveys in depth the actuality of POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DIORDER, which stems in Theo’s childhood & he has to carry it throughout his life. It also focusses on the problems of ADDICTION & SUBSTANCE USE. Boris & Theo (both in childhood & adulthood) are addicted to drinking & drugs. Their lives are already too chaotic, because of which the effect of drinking is not highlighted. It also focusses on how unjust the SOCIAL SERVICES SYSTEM is. Theo doesn’t want to get into the foster system, which is why he flees. This shows that foster parents abuse these children to a level that children would prefer being homeless. All these are important things which are still going on & need to be highlighted.

There are so many reasons to read The Goldfinch & I hope you found at least one goo read on to pick up this work of art today & read it. Especially for book worms & literature obsessed people, this book is a real jewel. It was an absolute joy reading this book for me. Hope it is for you too!

Until next time,

Thursday, 19 September 2019

But, Who Even Knew Her? (Diary Logs)

Hi Readers! How are you all doing? Great, I hope!! And if not, there’s always tomorrow for things to get better! Well, I have been reading ‘The Goldfinch’ continuously over the last few days & I am completely soaked in it. I am only halfway done & absolutely enjoying it. It was then that I realized it will take at least a week more for me to complete it & another couple of days to contemplate it, after which I will write the review. Just so the blog doesn’t remain dry till then, I thought of writing a Diary Logs post for y’all! It is completely random & fictional, as always! Go read!


They found her things in her desk drawers a month after they were sure she wasn’t coming back to work. The 2 people who sat next to her were going through her desk drawers. Another lady was going through her desktop. And, 2 to 3 more colleagues had gathered around to help out or gossip about her. In this search, what they found shocked them to their core.

On the desk were a few articles printed out since 4 or 5 months. All these were relating to Global Warming & Climate Change. Some contained the horrible things happening around, like the Amazon forest burning & coral reefs dying & trees being cut for road & metro construction. Some contained plain straight facts as to what will happen if we don’t control global warming. Water will become scarce. More animals will become extinct. And some articles contained what the common people can do to help. Unlike others in the room, she was the only one there who was so environmentally aware & actually did things to help reduce global warming.

But, who even knew her!?

In her drawer, they also found some contrasting BOOKS – How To Win Friends & Influence People, The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck, The Alchemist & last month’s Lonely Planet magazine. She had these tiny coloured pages small enough to make a bookmark of them. The Alchemist was full of such little bookmarks. She had put those wherever she had loved a quote. Same was the case with the other two non-fiction books. In the Lonely Planet magazine, they found how much she loved TRAVEL. She had been planning a trip to Iceland. She noted all the places she wanted to go to, all the amazing restaurants & local tips as well. What was even more amazing was that she was going on a solo trip!

But, who even knew her!?

In her WORK DIARY, they found meticulous notes of her work. From daily plan to monthly & quarterly targets. She worked with 20 or more onsite clients & not once did she miss out on anything. Different meetings with all these clients, minutes of those meetings as well as action plan forward was written down to iota of details. She had all sorts of stationary items too. Post-It notes, markers, notepads, card holder, pins apart from the ordinary. She was organized to an extent one might think she had OCD.

But, who even knew her!?

Next shock was her computer. As expected, the desktop was clean & everything was organized in folders. They found one folder titled Important. Inside it, there were hundreds or more pdf files & each contained a CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION. And, that was just for the current financial year alone. She was damn good at her work!

But, who even knew her!?

She was kind to everyone, but no one was particularly her best friend. She believed that there are no real friends in the workplace, but somehow she was waiting for someone to come along & prove her wrong. Over the years, she had heard them talk about their weekend parties & international tours & farm house getaway stories while she pretended to listen to music on her headphones. She sat in that office for nearly 5 years. Logged in at 9 AM & logged out post 7 PM. Didn’t speak to anyone much, which is why people assumed she would be boring or depressed. But, in front of them lay all the proof of why she was the most interesting person in that room. From being a solo traveler to being a star performer at work. From having good taste in books to being an environment activist. She was simply amazing. And yet, after her disappearance, it took them a month to notice. The company which promoted its Diversity & Inclusion policies, had subtly & simply excluded this one talented person. In a culture where people are known for their unity, she was always left in her unwelcome solitude. No one really knew her.

Until next time,

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. (Mindscape Reviews)

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is another book I decided to read from Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club! From her recommendations, so far, I had read Daisy Jones & The Six which I had loved a lot & Little Fires Everywhere which I didn’t like much. So, ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ was a tie breaker. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this one either. Given that the story didn’t please me much, I am going to cut the review short this time! Here you go.


Eleanor is a lonely person who has a routine & likes to stick to it. Monday through Friday she goes to work where she has been working since 9 years, wears the same white blouse & black trousers. On weekends, she doesn’t leave her apartment & downs 2 bottles of vodka. Every Wednesday, she talks to her mother. That is it. That’s her life. No family. No friends. Just Eleanor. Existing. Not living. And, she is completely fine.

The book is divided in 3 parts – Good Days, Bad Days & Better Days. The good days constitute 70 % of the book, Bad Days are 15% & Better days 5%. Of course, there is always some good in bad & vice versa.

In the beginning, I found it extremely weird to read the book. It is written by a Scottish author Gail Honeyman, so I didn’t get any references. Also, Eleanor’s character is very different; the way she speaks to people & also the way she behaves. Everything is a bit weird, like a human person but robotic speech. You see how she changes through the course of the book.

At the start, it’s an outward change; such as getting a manicure, shopping for clothes & makeup. At a later stage, the change is inward; loving herself, forgiving herself & letting people in. The book focuses on issues like loneliness, mental health, depression, child care, friendship. I also hoped it would focus on self-care in detail, but it’s not portrayed very well.

Reading this book is not a pleasant journey. At least for 70% of it, it feels like reading a random routine story of a person. And the reveals at the end aren’t so unpredictable either because of the hints placed poorly in the earlier parts of the book. It also feels a lot rushed toward the end. Being such an experienced reader, you can always predict how a book will end. And, it was very easy to predict this one. All in all, not so great. I have rated it at 2/5 on Goodreads.


There are scars on my heart, just as thick, as disfiguring as those on my face. I know they’re there. I hope some undamaged tissue remains, a patch through which love can come in and flow out. I hope.

Popular people sometimes have to laugh at things they don’t find very funny, do things they don’t particularly want to, to people whose company they don’t particularly enjoy.

They call young people in care “looked after”. But every child should be “looked after”… it really ought to be the default.

Until next time,

Friday, 6 September 2019

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. (Mindscape Reviews)

Hi Readers! Lately, I have been off the reading game. I’m unable to concentrate or binge read anything at all, no matter how interesting. But, yesterday, I finally finished this book by Lori Gottlieb titled ‘Maybe You Should Talk To Someone’. To be honest, I read it over a period of a month & got to its end yesterday. When I started reading it, I did not think I would be able to complete it, but as I got really into it, I absolutely started enjoying it. I think this is the kind of book everyone should read. Here goes the review!


As the title suggests, ‘Maybe You Should Talk to Someone’ is about therapy. Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist & talks about her different patients who see her for a lot of different reasons. Their therapy journey is beautifully showcased from start till end. We also get to see Lori’s therapist & their sessions. Throughout the book, there is SO MUCH character development from all these characters that is nothing but inspiring. Lori, her patients, her therapist! It’s brilliantly written & after reading it, even you will take something from it in the form of therapy.

Lori’s main patients are John, Julie, Rita & Charlotte.

JOHN is shown as a famous TV writer who tends to feel that everyone is an idiot. He has intimacy issues & a secret he has hidden deep inside him. It is even irritating, at first, to read about his sessions. But, his journey from there & after he rediscovers the real problem layers underneath is so evolutionary. At the end, you won’t even feel that this was the same person in the first chapter!

JULIE is a newlywed young woman who has recently detected cancer. One can only imagine what happens to a person when they know that they are dying. Keeping that in perspective, she still goes to therapy & it helps her to face her death more bravely unlike before. To Lori, Julie seems like her younger self & they happen to create a bond like you have never seen between a patient & their therapist. Julie’s journey is just too sad & lovely at the same time.

RITA is a 69-year-old lonely lady who comes to therapy announcing that she will end her life when she is 70 unless she finds something worth living for. Her past is full of regrets in which she goes through domestic violence along with her children. It consists of a lot of bad choices, neglect, abandonment, hurt & pain, so much that she finally decides to die. But, in that one year of therapy, so many beautiful things happen to her! She finds a man she loves & who loves her despite her past. She makes another proxy family. Her art website grows so much. All in all, you never know what one year can do for you.

CHARLOTTE is someone who drinks a lot & sleeps around a lot. She always seems to choose the wrong emotionally unavailable man to get involved with. But even she finds her way back. There isn’t much focus on her story.

And finally, now LORI herself! You can see her story unravel in flashbacks. In the PRESENT, you know she is a successful therapist who is having a lot of trouble dealing with her breakup with Boyfriend. To be honest, it seems unreal even for her, how she was at the beginning & how much she changes too. And, in the PAST, we see how she ends up being a therapist. She starts her journey from working as a journalist, which leads to writing for medical drama shows, which then makes her want to go to medical school. But, she is not able to go through with it entirely, which is why she quits med school. A lot of years go by not really knowing what her career path would be & age wasn’t on her side. I think this is why she decides to have & raise a baby all by herself, to take control of her life. And then, finally, she finds herself on the path of being a therapist. Her story sends such an important message. No matter what your age, you can always choose a new career path!

Her problems start with her breakup & then she goes to discover other things, like, the book she cannot make herself to write, her health issues & ultimately leading to her fear of death! It is amazing how Wendell, her therapist puts all of this into perspective for her. In his own way, Wendell was just the therapist Lori needed.

In each & every case, you see how these people change & grow by tremendous amounts. Even though the book is non-fiction, because of its therapy-oriented narrative, the character stories feel so real & make it almost fictional. There are parts where Lori talks about emotions & feelings in the non-fiction way. But there are also so many parts with her patients where it is real! You actually feel the things her patients are feeling.
“Be it Julie’s cancer or Rita’s loneliness. You feel it in your bones!”
There is a part where Julie’s cancer resurfaces & she tells Lori how she will miss herself! It is so incredibly emotional! There is another part where John tells his dream to Lori & that too is just so heart breaking! There is another chapter where Rita talks about Myron & of true love, which just melts you. I think Lori’s writing skills are incredibly powerful. Being a therapist, she can put feelings into words remarkably! I loved this book for that.

My only complaint, if I may, is that the book is TOO LONG. It must have taken me a month to finish it. But, when you have read it more than half, it becomes more interesting. You get keen on knowing how the stories of these fictional people will end up like. While I am happy about Rita’s fortunate turn of events & Julie’s unexpected changes, I wasn’t so pleased about Charlotte & John. John is one of the most focused-on patient & his journey is shown in a very slow transition. Even his breakthrough is not a Eureka moment, which was weird for me. And, there could have been more content for Charlotte too. Given that so many people these days face drinking & addiction problems, more highlight on that could have worked better. But, anyway, there isn’t a book quite like this one. I think this will be one of the classics of our century & definitely needs more acclamation! Whether it helps you or not, it sure will leave an impact.

·       “Before you speak, ask yourself, What is this going to feel like to the person I’m speaking to?”
·       Don’t judge your feelings; notice them. Use them as your map. Don’t be afraid of the truth.
·       Happiness equals reality minus expectations.
·       It’s impossible to grow without first becoming vulnerable.
·       Love can often look like so many things that don’t seem like love.
·       Avoidance is almost always about fear.
·       You can’t get through your pain by diminishing it. You get through your pain by accepting it and figuring out what to do with it.
·       In a way, our silences serve another purpose: They give us the illusion of stopping time.

Until next time,

Monday, 2 September 2019


TODAY marks the 5TH BLOG ANNIVERSARY OF MINDSCAPE IN WORDS & I am EXAGGERATINGLY ECSTATIC that we have come so far! I take it as a milestone, something that I will forever be proud of! In all my 25 years of existence, writing this blog has made me the most committed to something. My relationship with my blog is longer than some of my best friendships. It is longer than my corporate work experience. It is longer than the making & release of all seasons of Stranger Things. It is the most fulfilling, amazing & rewarding thing that keeps me sane enough to deal with other mundane activities in life.

I thought a lot about how I should celebrate my 5th Blogoversary. It is incredibly important that I do it right, with humility & grandeur!

To be HUMBLE, I decided to write about writing & also review the Top 5 posts I had this year.
And, to keep it GRAND, there will be so many celebrations! The 5th Blogoversary falls on the auspicious day of Ganesh Chaturthi. I already offered some sweets to the God & prayed that this blog relationship lasts for many more years. I’m also going to celebrate at home with family with a fancy dinner!

I have been writing my blog since 5 years now, but I have been writing since long back. I have always found solace in the written word. I can think better in writing than I can in my own mind. Being an introvert, it helps me showcase my talent in this best way. It is extremely rewarding that I am able to do that. I feel privileged that I get to write on my blog for the whole world to see. It not only keeps me sane, but also gives me a sense of responsibility & purpose.

When I write book reviews, I hope to change someone’s life because of my awesome book recommendations. When I write travel journals, I hope to help someone who is planning a trip to that city. When I write stories & diary logs, I hope to connect with someone who is also feeling those emotions. Not only does it help me understand myself, it is also, always an attempt to help others. And, even though I don’t have many followers, I sincerely hope that I have helped someone.

Many people ask me why don’t I blog full time & make money from it. Well, for me, that’s quite complicated. I blog for my LOVE OF WRITING. I do it to get some solidarity & to find some peace. When you monetize your blog, it all becomes about the money. (I sound like Phoebe Buffay.) Yes, I consider SEO & I have a few advertisements on the website. But, that doesn’t come in way of my writing. Sure, I can do some sponsored book reviews or sponsored travel posts. But, I do not want to write meaningless sponsored posts promoting hotels or body lotions or skin care routines which aren’t the niche of my blog. It becomes very restricting. And, I know all about that because that’s what my corporate job is. I don’t want any restrictions on the content I create for my own blog, just to make a few bucks. I like it when my words flow, without any constraints & when everything from my mind & heart is poured on to that post! That’s just how my writing process works.


Those of you who have been reading my blog know that my main areas are book reviews, travel posts & diary logs. Writing my travel adventures on my blog is something I enjoy more than travelling itself! Travel writing feels like a calling for me, because travelling & writing are literally my favourite things to do. Every time I visit a new place, I try my best to soak it in. Even if I stay for just 3 days, I always find at least one thing which will make that place memorable for me! Every place leaves a part in me & when I am back home, I put this part in so many words which come directly from my heart. I think it is a mutual relationship. Travelling makes me a better writer & writing makes me a better traveler! I cannot be happier & more blessed about this!

As I’ve stated innumerable times, in Udaipur, the moment was the Fateh Sagar Lake. In Darjeeling, obviously the view of Kanchenjunga at sunrise. In Pondicherry, it was the Promenade Beach. In Kochi, funnily enough, it was the Mocha Art CafĂ©! In Jaipur, it is difficult to pick, but definitely the Patrika Gate & Amer Palace.

Check out the Top 5 Travel Posts:


The same logic applies to reading & writing. Reading makes me a better writer & vice versa. I think this is universal because all the writers I know are readers. When I read REALLY GOOD crime thrillers, I am left in shock & also admiration. It is amazing how the authors think the way they do & create such amazing stories. I have a LOT OF RESPECT for CRIME & THRILLER AUTHORS. They have so many levels to achieve – nail-biting plot on every page, unpredictable ending, compelling characters! So much pressure. Everything has to be perfect. One loophole & we reviewers jump from admiration to criticism.

Second to that, I admire NON-FICTION HUMOUR AUTHORS. I read a lot of those this year. Nora Ephron & Ellen Degeneres! It takes a lot of effort to make the readers laugh, unlike a stand-up comedy show. But, they are also the ones who will make you laugh when you have had a bad day. It’s a good way to relax. When you laugh out loud when you are in a train or bus & have all eyes staring at you, that’s when you say, “Damn, this book is good!”

In addition to a book, when you watch a REALLY FASCINATING SERIES with great writing, it again leaves you in an amazed state. Reading such different genres of writing improves my thinking process & also my writing process. After watching Dark on Netflix, I was so impressed with their writers. It left me in a thought zone for weeks! I want to write a story that good! I haven’t been writing short stories, but I have one in works. I really hope it turns out to be good. For me, books are stimulants! And, writing book reviews becomes really essential at times. Because either it’s so good that it needs to be rewarded or it’s so bad that others need to be made aware to not read it. It’s a fun process to write reviews.

Check out my Top 5 Book Reviews:


Writing fictional diary entries is, I think, the best way to actually connect with the audience. I write these mini stories revolving around bullying, depression, stress, trauma, single life, feminism, irrevocable love, heartbreaks, friendships, loneliness & so on. Many of these are inspired from what happens around me. At times, people are in denial & not aware what they are feeling. But, when they read something RELATABLE TO THEIR LIFE, they can then identify the problem & try to come at a solution. I haven’t written one of these in a long time. But, given its importance I really need to start doing it more often.

Check out my Top 3 Diary Logs:

In conclusion, everything that forms a part of my blog has made me better at being a writer & a blogger. And, in turn, it has impacted my life in the most beautiful manner. If it weren’t for MINDSCAPE IN WORDS, I would have stopped writing altogether. As I read the posts from 5 years back & the ones now, I can see the change. I can see improvement. And, that makes me eternally happy! I will continue to write, for Mindscape in Words, for you all & also for myself! Hope I keep creating content that will make you want to come back for more!

Until next time,

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