Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Is this what useless feels like?

Have you been following the Syrian war? Are you aware of the current situation in Aleppo?

I feel helpless and burdened. I feel useless and ashamed.
I keep reminding myself that it isn't a book, not a heart-breaking historical fiction novel, but real current happenings.
How does one live with that? How do you go about brushing and eating, knowing that babies were burned, that kids were being treated without anesthesia, that women slit their own wrists for fear of being raped, that even though people are being evacuated, they have nowhere to stay, that even though the war is "over", we failed as human beings. How?

How do we continue to live knowing that a genocide took place while we were alive and we did nothing to stop it. Mere breathing feels wrong. 

Friday, 14 October 2016


He asked me why my need for approval is so important? Why am I obsessed with being accepted by everybody, appreciated even. Why does it bother me to death when somebody speaks ill of me or judges me?
What could I say? Before this day, I'd never realized my craving for approval. I don't come from a dysfunctional family. My parents love me and have always had my back. I had the best of what they could provide, and most of the times, it was much more than I could ask for. They never said no to things that mattered to me, in fact they tried to understand my point of view even when they rigidly were against it. They accept me for who I am. They respect my thoughts, opinions, and views. Family is not the etiology here.
So I've been asking myself innumerable times after he first posed the question that summer night, why is my need for approval so important? Why can I not come to terms with the fact that not all people are going to like me. I question myself every time somebody is mean to me or when they exploit my goodwill or when I'm alone at night counting back names of all the people who don't hold a good opinion of me. How does it matter? I know it doesn't. I know it doesn't. I wish I knew it doesn't.

Picture Courtesy tumblr.

Monday, 3 October 2016

September Wrap Up

Turns out juggling final year of medicine and book challenges is harder than you'd imagine. Wait, I'm sure you know it's hard, that was just me trying to be all naive and freakishly optimistic.

Ahh well, although the number of books I've been able to read this year is getting meagre by the day, I'm still proud of the fact that I'm squeezing enough time to read. Yes, I've reached a place where reading for at least 15mins a day has become a luxury, so let's not talk about numbers, shall we?

FYI, that's not a building, it's a pile of books

If you must know, I've read 25 books so far, 5 in September. That's a good enough number for now. And because I find 5 an exceedingly above average number, a wrap-up post seemed like a sane thing to do. Here are my Hum Panch of September:

1) Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K.Rowling: Yes, I joined the party pretty late, at least I arrived (despite the mixed reviews and spoilers), that must count for something. 10 points to Hufflepuff, please (for being the loyal ones). I can sum up my Cursed Child experience in one word, and mind you, I've chosen the word as carefully as Voldy chose jewellery for his horcruxes, and that word is underwhelming. As I've already established, I'm a hardcore Hufflepuff, so my loyalties to Hogwarts, to JKR, to all the characters is preventing me from openly expressing my umm..disappointment? But my lovely Slytherin mate Varsha has reviewed this book over at Fictional Fortress (a book club-blog we run) and I found myself nodding to all of her views and commas and full stops. You can check it out here if you're interested. A 3/5 from me.
A photo posted by Shonazee (@ofinkandpages) on

The next three reads were for #MissMarpleReadathon, an exclusive Agatha Christie-MissMarple readathon, started by fellow Hyderabadi Bookstagrammers in an attempt to make me fall in love with the Queen Of Mystery. It has no deadlines, whatsoever. Whenever you're feeling low, in need for some fast paced action, just pick a Miss Marple mystery and join us!

2) The Murder At The Vicarage by Agatha Christie: I was sold after reading this book. It was so different from all the thrillers and murder mysteries I've read. I heart the climax, I would give it the best climax award if I could. The murder of the not-at-all-loved-unanimously-hated/tolerated Colonel Protheroe occurs in an otherwise dull village of St.Mary Mead. Many people seem to have a motive, but there isn't enough evidence. A series of false arrests. Who killed Protheroe? A 4/5 read.
A photo posted by Shonazee (@ofinkandpages) on

3) The 13 Problems by Agatha Christie:
One Tuesday, a mix of experienced, young, influential people gather at Miss Marple residence to discuss murder mysteries. One person narrates what has happened and others are to guess the answer. Miss Marple shocks them all by making back to back right guesses. Some of these are such mind-boggling mysteries, they will leave you numb. It basically is a collection of 13 short stories. another 4/5 read.

4)The Body In The Library by Agatha Christie: I couldn't guess the culprit. I just couldn't. But some how the end seemed way too far fetched. But hey, it makes good mystery so no complaints. 3/5.

A photo posted by Shonazee (@ofinkandpages) on  
Yes, I get most of my reading done while travelling 

5) Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur:
A collection of poems compiled under four headers, loving, hurting, breaking, and healing. These poems are raw with emotion. They are accompanied by rough sketches drawn by Rupi Kaur herself. I just love it. I love all the poems and the sketches, the raw emotions, and the crisp words. I've bookmarked several pages and highlighted what's remaining. I've read them so many times, I can eloquently quote the book. They are written in a very simple language but carry such force within them. If you're looking to indulge in poetry, this makes a fine start. A must read. Definitely my FAV read of this month. 5/5.
A photo posted by Shonazee (@ofinkandpages) on
 That's that. Overall, a good reading month, I daresay.

For lengthy reviews or a peek at my tbr, friend me on Goodreads or Instagram. We could talk about murder mysteries or the pain of losing a loved one or the disappointment of a long-awaited book in your beloved series. I'm always up for a good talk!

What books made to your favourite pile this September? Which book/movie would you give best climax award to? 

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Bullet Journaling: September

I discovered Bullet Journaling a couple of months back, and since then I've done my own share of research, aka browsing the internets for all kind of posts that could help me nail the art of bullet journaling. What I wasn't expecting to find was that Bullet Journaling doesn't have a specific do/don't list. It can be whatever you want it to be, how so ever you want it to be.

The concept of Bullet Journaling was developed by Ryder Carroll from
This video explains it all,

Most people (including me) use this system to stay on top of things, to organize busy days, weeks, months, and to conquer the dreaded to-do lists. Like I already mentioned there isn't a right or wrong way of bullet journaling, but here are a few ideas on how to get started,

You'll need a notebook. Any size you find comfortable. Smaller the better since it'll be easier to carry it around, and a pen. Or two. That is all.

Basic spreads that most people start with are, an index, a key with symbols & colors you plan on implementing through the journal (I love color coding, so I have a color for each aspect), a yearly spread to mark important events/to briefly plan the year. It isn't necessary that you include all these things, I for one found no use of an index, so my bullet journal doesn't have one.
A photo posted by Shonazee (@ofinkandpages) on

You could jump straight into the monthly spreads, here are mine for September. Apart from having a monthly spread, I have a couple of extra spreads for each month.

I mark important dates and events in the monthly spread; birthdays, exams, trips home, so on.
I've left very little space for a to-read list, that's practically vestigial, might discontinue it from next month.

Memories spread is for doodling all the good-bad-memorable events that took place in the said month. I update it at the end of each month. Sometimes I save souvenirs and stick them in. Tickets, pressed-flowers, tissues.

Expenses log has helped me so much with budgeting money & keeping track of the outgoing cash. Being a student and all, I find this spread the most useful!

On the right side is Gratitude log which I'm supposed to update every day. (But, I don't) (but when I do, reading through it at the end of the month makes me I-just-had-my-fav-cookie kinda happy) 
In the gratitude log, I write down one thing or more that I'm thankful for. It could be a cup of really good chai. It could be a test result. Being noticed by my crush. Or a good 10-hour sleep. (Oh dear sleep, how I miss you)
On the left is spread for a monthly playlist. I commute for two hours each day, having a playlist is how I survive the long boring hours in the traffic. Hence, playlist of the month.

A photo posted by Shonazee (@ofinkandpages) on

 I fill the empty spaces with fav words, doodles, random quotes. Exhibit A ^ 

And that's a wrap. 
The best thing about bullet journaling is if you don't like something, or if something doesn't work for you, just turn the page and start afresh. Happy Journaling!

Do You Bullet Journal? What are your Fav Spreads?

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

BookTube-A-Thon 2016

I've seen a lot of "Booktube-a-thon" videos on my fav Booktuber's channels, but for some reason unbeknownst to me, I never checked them out, until yesterday, when one of my friends (Arzoo from My Book Zoo) told me about it, and well, what can I tell ya, I was sold after looking at the reading challenges. So, I binged watched all the booktube-a-thon related vids and got around to setting my TBR (very, very carefully)

For those of you who aren't aware, Booktube-a-thon is an annual readathon hosted by Ariel (my FAV BOOKTUBER OF ALL TIMES), typically, it's a 7-day reading challenge, where readers breeze through one book per day. However, this isn't mandatory, and we can read as many books as we wish to. Throughout the week there are video prompts, Instagram photo challenges, twitter sprints. and LOADS OF GIVEAWAYS! Just a couple (hundreds) of nerds, setting unrealistic tbrs and achieving the unachievable! This year it's happening from 18th July to 24th July of 2016.

For further details check their youtube channel out, here.

Since I have a pretty rough week, (all my weeks are going to be pretty rough this year, thank you, college) I've kept my tbr pretty simple, realistic, and achievable. (so much for not being adventurous)
But first, here are the reading challenge prompts;

The 2016 Reading Challenges:
1/ Read a book with yellow on the cover.
2/ Read a book only after sunset.
3/ Read a book you discovered through booktube.
4/ Read a book by one of your favourite authors.
5/ Read a book that is older than you.
6/ Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation.
7/ Read seven books.

I've picked,

Harry potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling, which will meet the following criteria - book with yellow on the cover, book by my FAV author, and a book turned into a movie. I'm a proud Potterhead and I'll re-read Harry Potter any chance/reason/excuse I get. (Also, reading this book for the #mugglestowizards annual Potter readathon, one book, two book marathons, am I a genius at setting up TBRs or whaaaaa)

And the second book I'll be reading is, Animal Farm by George Orwell, this qualifies for a book that's older than me, a book that I'm going to read only after sunset, and a book that I was introduced to by Booktube. Now, who doesn't know George Orwell or Animal Farm or 1984? I do know him, but it was only after watching Ariel gush over this author in almost all her videos, that I thought of, you know, giving it a chance. First Orwell, how exciting!

Here's a sneak peek of my bullet journal (I'm still in the process of discovering what works for me and what doesn't, will do a series of posts once I figure things out)

Let's hope I come out victorious on the other side, you can follow my booktube-a-thon updates on Instagram, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter. (Yes, I'm a social media queen *crown emoji*)

Are you participating in this year's Booktube-a-Thon? Share your TBRs maybe? Have you read these books? Are you an Orwell fan? 

Update: I could only read HP & the half blood prince, and very little of Animal Farm. There's always a next time, right?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016


There are a tonne of things that you probably don't know about me since I update this blog oh-so-often (sarcasm, much?) Well, amongst many of the inconsequential details that make me, me, one that stands out is my need to organize every-fricking-thing. I like to call myself the maker of lists or planner of events. I like things in order. I like them planned. Be it an Iftar party or a last minute lie about homework (in which case I come up with a background story leaving no loopholes) You get the picture, yes?

So imagine my surprise when I discover the art of bullet journaling.
To imagine 22 years of survival without this simple tool of organisation. I've lived my life as an early man, a nomad. Not anymore. I'll have none of it.

If you've been living under a rock just like me, here you go,
According to, "The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organisation system. It can be your to do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above."

Simply put it's a book you dedicate to organize your life and make it efficient. It can be as flexible as you are or as rigid as you want it to be. You could include everyday things-to-do, books to be read, movies & series to be watched lists, habit & grade trackers, goals, what not!

Currently, I'm on a notebook hunt, looking for the perfect book that will make a lovely b.journal. Once I find it and start bullet journaling, I'll have a better idea on how it works and maybe then I'll be able to shed structured light on this concept. There'll be a comprehensive colour coded key, index, so many lists, and trackers *heavy breathing* for now, let me of ink and page that journal!

*Cue how to bullet journal Youtube videos*

See you on the other side!

Do you bullet journal? Or do any other kind of journaling? Please, please share your tips with me.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


You are more than just a degree.
More than a test score. An exam paper. A meretricious rumour.
More than the failures and much more than all the successes combined.
More than even your most obsessive dream.

You are full of insignificant details, full of an underlying, dull palpable strength.
You are desperation. And fiery, burning passion.
You are the light and darkness contained in the cosmos.
You are the shining, thriving burning star, and the dark, sucking black hole.
You are more than all that and then a little more.
You are a contrast. An unmeasurable force. Unmeasurable, yes.
Then why do you end up weighing your worth on those dark, cold nights when your heart is riddled with despair.
Why do you spend these nights retrospecting all the things that make you less?  
Cause honey, if there's one thing that you're not, it is a definition.
Confined and limited by its own words.

P.C: Pinterest

Thursday, 2 June 2016

How I Turned Into A Snail-mail Child

Like most, I too have been in love with places I haven't been to and people I haven't met, which is why books and post-crossing fascinate me.

The whole world of snail-mailing opened up to me when I couldn't go home for Raksha Bandhan, and so had to mail the rakhis to my brothers. I had never been to a post-office before that day, although it was right next to the bus stop from where I've been catching buses for the past two years. I was under the pre-conceived notion that snail-mailing has turned extinct and nobody really goes to the post offices anymore. So, imagine my surprise when I enter the post office for the first time and find it full of people and stamps and glue and envelopes and packages and a sign that said "Speedpost Welcomes you" it was like I'd discovered a magical realm or something.
Also, it was cheap. Oh so so cheap.
Thus, started my obsession with snail-mailing.
Initially, I sent cards and letters to friends who I'd lost touch with. I sent letters back home. Scribbling pieces of advice for my younger sibling to treasure. (Yes, I'm filmy like that)
One fine day, thanks to Bookstagram I found myself exchanging addresses with my very first penpal.
Over the course of the past few months, I've made some real friends, exchanged some funny and wise anecdotes from our lives and teas!

I'm a sucker for teas and coffees and my penpals have spoilt me by sending some of the exotic ones.
Oh, the excitement of coming home to a letter that was written just for you, that travelled thousands of kilometers just so you could read it.The excitement of meeting new people from faraway lands, learning about their cultures, customs, ideologies. Talking about books, life, music, deepest secrets, regrets, disappointments, hopes. It's nothing if not beautiful.

Do you write letters? Do you wish to?

Sunday, 22 May 2016

The One with All the Bookmeets

If you've been around for quite some time, then you probably know that books have predominated my life, now more than ever. I've been Bookstagramming for a year, co-started an online book club and a book blog, swapped books with strangers over the internet, made some bookish best friends, basically, my life revolves around books, my Bookstagram, phone, and the internet.

Last week, I hit a milestone in my book journey, I met fellow Bookstagrammers from Hyderabad *in real life* and to call that day amazing would be an understatement. Here I am, laying out what we did the entire day so I can relive it at my will. I met, Paulami aka PGB, who is the coolest of the lot, Juta aka Rijuta, who reminds of those pretty & calm intellectual people, who go to fancy art exhibitions critiquing over art that would mostly make no sense to me, (I very politely called myself dumb, I know) and the love of my life, Tana aka Chetana with whom I've been corresponding for over a year now. She never ceases to surprise me, I've always got an unexpected book/art mail waiting for me at home, thanks to her. I've proposed to her and we're gonna marry, so back off already. Also, she happens to be my fav artist, more about her work later.

Four of us first met at a bookstore, and there were soooo many books around that we just couldn't, just couldn't find the one's we would want to buy. So instead we took goofy selfies and did some #booksoul tags,

Paulami in all her Potter glory

Tana and I reaching for Atlas of anatomy, and falling in love at first site over similar taste in books  *heart eye emoji* 
*background bolly music*

We then went to a fancy tea place that Paulami suggested. And that tea place is now going to be my second home, cause its so comfy and serves awesome chai. Bubble tea, you guys, bubble tea. Awesomest (is that a word?) shizz ever. We had animated anime discussions over fancy chai, lemon pound cake and some fries, and it did not for a second feel like we were meeting for the first time.
Picture Courtesy of the awesome, Paulami.
Feat. Handmade bookmarks by Chetana. You can buy her artwork here.

Another boomerang shot  by Paulami. She's such a good photographer, DAMN

White tea, anybody?
From here, we went on to meet another book club in a park nearby, an initiative of Lord broke, where I happened to meet some equally awesome bookish people, most of who haven't read Harry Potter, so my mission for the year is to induct them all to the fandom. We spoke about Agatha Christie, and these three ladies are the Queens of the Queen of mystery. They've read almost every other Agatha book, and their enthusiasm is so infectious, they brought life to the conversations and I'm going to read my second Agatha, thanks to them.

All the books everybody got for the club meet.Sooooo many boooks *happy sigh*
Finally, we ended our meet at Starbucks, with coffee. (I know, people start their day with coffee, we ended with it cause we're cool like that. Stop judging dude.) Through the animated discussions and overwhelming book recs, I felt so comfortable just being in their company, it was unreal. I'm usually very awk at first meets, I get nervous and I just don't talk. I keep my mouth shut and don't utter a single word. But with these gals, I felt a familiarity, maybe cause it was a bond created by books, idk, but the void in my life of not having people to talk to about books (in person, not over the internet) has now been filled. I can't wait to meet them again or the book club that I'm now a part of. It was a day of books and tea. Of new bonds and friendships.

As I sat there. on the grass in twilight absorbing the dynamic bookish conversations happening all around me, I realized, I was thankful for being a part of the book community. It was the start of a new family, forged by our immense love for books, and for people who read them. And finally, I found a place where I belong.

P.S: I know I've used the word awesome some 3 times in the post, if I'd used it  3 x 2483927359409 times, it would still not do justice to the people & the day and the chai!<3

Have you met any of your virtual friends in real life? Are you a part of any clubs? Share your experiences, I'd love to know!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Superhumans vs Villains

To be honest, I've only watched three superhero movies all my life, so my views might sound very amateur or might make no sense. Well, you've been warned.
After watching two superhero movies back to back with almost the same plot-line (Incase you're wondering, Batman vs Superman and Captain America: Civil War) I get why Sheldon Cooper roots for villains. Anyone in their right minds would. Are you tut-tutting over what I said? Okay, hear me out first.

From the very little exposure that I've got to the worlds where superhumans live, I've gathered that these enhanced, powerful men are just a bunch of adolescents high on adrenaline. Yes, physically their strength is incomprehensible and they do have some vvv cool moves, but they don't act like adults. I mean, use your minds, talk to each other and solve your differences, not everything needs to be fought over. Somebody teach them the art of listening/communicating, please.

Villains, on the other hand, are masterminds. I mean they plan everything so duckling brilliantly. They're aware of both, their own and their rival's weaknesses, not just the physical flaws, but the emotional one's as well. Okay, I'm not saying that people should use their emotional weaknesses against each other, but awareness is important, might come in handy sometime. Mental strength triumphs over physical strength any day. Although villains are evil and on the look for vengeance, I'm gonna root for them cause hello, they use brains, unlike these super god humans who fight first and talk later.
In short, villains have brains, superheroes, egos. Doesn't that make hero the villain and villain the hero?

In my opinion, the only reason these supermen win over villains is cause the society needs that triumph of good over bad. But if it were to happen in a real world, I think these superheroes would stand no chance, they would've killed each other before even realizing that the villain was behind the whole duckling plot.

P.S: I love'em ducklings :P

Whose side are you on? #TeamSuperhumans or #TeamVillains?

Sunday, 17 April 2016

First Giveaway

In light of my blog reaching 10k views, and my one year Bookstagram anniversary, (Here's how I embarked on this journey.), I'll be doing a series of not-so-great giveaways (but I really hope you like them) as my humble thank you to the loving blogosphere and book community. I've reached milestones that I never thought I could reach and met people I'll cherish with all my heart. Here's to posting more frequently on the blog and meeting new people from all over the world,
This month, we're reading African Literature at my Fav book club (I'm gonna be a wee bit biased here), Fictional Fortress and since I own two copies of "We Need New Names" by NoViolet Bulawayo, a literary masterpiece which was shortlisted for Man Booker Prize 2013, I thought of introducing this story of Darling into your lives. Hope this book moves and inspires you. Along with the book, I'll also be giving away a hand-made crocheted bookmark.

Book Blurb: (via Goodreads)
A remarkable literary debut -- shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize! The unflinching and powerful story of a young girl's journey out of Zimbabwe and to America.

Darling is only ten years old, and yet she must navigate a fragile and violent world. In Zimbabwe, Darling and her friends steal guavas, try to get the baby out of young Chipo's belly, and grasp at memories of Before. Before their homes were destroyed by paramilitary policemen, before the school closed, before the fathers left for dangerous jobs abroad.

But Darling has a chance to escape: she has an aunt in America. She travels to this new land in search of America's famous abundance only to find that her options as an immigrant are perilously few. NoViolet Bulawayo's debut calls to mind the great storytellers of displacement and arrival who have come before her-from Junot Diaz to Zadie Smith to J.M. Coetzee-while she tells a vivid, raw story all her own.

To add this book to your Goodreads shelf, click here.

Some rules before you enter:
1. Giveaway is for Indian Residents Only
2. There will be only ONE winner
3. Once the winner is picked he/she will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond, failure of which will result in picking another winner
4. By signing up, you agree to share your address (which is required to mail the prize)
5. Children under 18 years need Parental approval
6. Enter by filling the Rafflecopter, all entries are optional
7. I reserve the right to disqualify any entry as I see fit

May the odds ever be in your favor!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Do You Have A Robin?

If you're familiar with the show, "How I Met Your Mother," (If you're not, don't worry, keep reading, I won't spoil it for you) then you might be aware of Ted's love for Robin. This dialogue by Ted in the season9: episode 17 goes to explain it in the best possible way,

"Actually, there is a word for that. It's love, I'm in love with her, okay? If you're looking for the word that means caring about someone beyond all rationality and wanting them to have everything they want no matter how much it destroys you, it's love."
There's more to the dialogue, which I'll quote later in the post.

Realize it or not, we all have a Robin.
Someone we'd go to any lengths for.
Someone for who you'd kill yourself if that is what it takes to see them smile.
Someone who may not reciprocate this insane, unconditional love.

Which means, the relationship can turn in either of these two ways.
The first one, which if you ask the sceptical me, is a little fictional and the remaining of Ted's dialogue covers it very eloquently,
" ...And when you love someone you just, you...don't stop, ever. Even when people roll their eyes and call you crazy. Even then. Especially then. You just- you don't give up.If I could know, take the whole world's advice and-and move on and find someone else, that wouldn't be love. That would be some other disposable thing that is not worth fighting for. But I ... that is not what this is."

The second, which I think is what happens in real life, is that there comes a point when you've crossed your threshold of giving and giving, you reach the saturation point.
When you've had enough.
When you've had enough of pleasing someone who doesn't reciprocate it with the same intensity.
When this someone never really comes through for you even though you always, ALWAYS come through for them. No matter what.
And then you start hating your Robin
And you start hating the Ted in you- for being so deeply attached and affected by a person,
for letting all the doubts and insecurity eat you up.

So you stop.
You stop because you cannot do this anymore.
You stop because you're tired of letting yourself be the second priority,
You stop because you're hurt, your heart is demolished and your Robin can't even see it.
You stop because you're too tired to fight with the emotional turmoil that has been choking and drowning you.
And it's okay.
It's okay to give someone up if you're giving yourself a chance.
It's okay to be your own Robin.
So, go be your own Robin.

            For those who get the pun, PC: Pinterest

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Of bleak days and black coffee

There comes a point in our lives when we're just hopeless. About every single thing around us.
I happen to be in that phase right now what with finals in a few days and the so-called personal life crumbling around me like a pack of brittle biscuits.
Although I've drafted a couple of posts, they all reek of negativity and I'm afraid they will scar my pretty niche, so I'm gonna keep them to myself and update the blog once I figure out my shit.

Meanwhile, hope 2016 is turning out better for you than it is for me. Here, have some black coffee.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


If you weren't a little over there 
And if I weren't a little over here
We could have had our happily ever after, or at least, a chance at it
But you're still there. I'm still here
And there's a lifetime of distance between us
Maybe, in an ideal universe
Where we weren't so messed up
We could have been more than just you and me
We could have been more than the strangers
More than the friends
Maybe not
We'll never know
We'll never know

PC: Pinterest

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