Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm on my way ( I don't know where I'm going)...*

Disclaimer: Wordy post ahead........

Lately I seem to be reading a lot of "why do you blog" posts over the interwebz (I think it's only because I see what I want to see? I do see a whole host of other lovely posts, but these stick on in my mind because they resonate with some inner disquiet I guess.). It's no secret to regular readers that I have been facing a degree of ennui over this blog, it's lived out its course as an inspiration journal of pretty images. Yes, I still find them pretty and inspiring and they brighten my day, but I've been possessed with a need to open up more, let the sunlight in, expose my flaws (a perfect home is all so pretty in pictures, but it doesn't have the depth that lived-in clutter has, does it?), get to know you better, cement some friendships that have come my way...Engage, you know? and I have struggled with just how much of myself to put out there. The truth is, despite living this parallel life on the internet, I am, by nature, a kinda-reserved person (I make lasting friendships in real life, but I'm very selective with them. I can count the people closest to me on one hand.) So the dilemma always is: how much to open up? How much is enough and how much is too much? (I realize I've written something similar in a few posts earlier.... If you think I'm beginning to sound like a stuck record, I apologize!) So anyway, I've been working on a blog overhaul and I was designing an updated "about me" page and I kept getting writer's block because I had so much to say, but couldn't fit it into a chirpy, pithy "stick-around-for-a-while" type paragraph.  (some of you have to have been there! right?) It's hard to condense even one tiny facet of your personality into a tag line, you know? Tag lines just don't cut it sometimes, there has to be a story behind it, each one of us has them, why we read what we read, why we write what we write.......The most fascinating part of this blogging journey for me has been the people I have come in contact with. I've had the privilege to have known some of you through the stories you have chosen to share with me, and then there are those who remain a mystery... I love to imagine some of the stories by what you choose to say and what you choose to leave out......

So I'm here today to share one such story about myself, my effort to reach out...I'm going to leave out specifics, because they don't really matter. What matters is the essence, the journey, and the lessons it holds (if any). Ever since my trip to India, my mind has been dwelling on stories of my childhood, trying to reconnect with the girl I was before I became a teenager, a woman. This trip, I had the opportunity to sift through tangible evidence of those memories (see photograph). I was an avid journal writer and a bit of a  pack rat. I held on to old ticket stubs and coins and stamps. (oh, and my collection of Binaca animals (anyone else remember them? )Well, I discovered a lot of  my junk stuff on this trip, and strangely enough, the memories it held were just as vivid as if they happened moments ago.

Junk treasures that I hauled back. Picture, courtesy my scanner! *Title inspired by.

This is my story (aka what won't really be going down on my "about me" page ;) -->

The Gagan you have come to know through this blog is not me in entirety, it is a facet of who I am. This Gagan is a product of her upbringing, daughter to and sister of the women who occupied my peripheral vision during childhood. Growing up, My World  was focused on watching lizard tails fall off, following lines of ants around the garden, digging pools for kittens to play in in  the backyard, discovering how sweet and milky an ear of wheat could taste and walking around with the shell of an old camera (inherited from my grandfather, the lens was long-lost and it was just a rusty box, a skeleton of it's former Agfa glory) pretending to capture the clouds. And while I injected my dollies (and on occasion my mom's cactii) with healing serums(!!), they (my mom and sister) would be involved in the frentic pursuit of the next artistic venture, painting, embroidery, knitting, paper flowers, baking, cooking, stitching, batik, tie and dye, screen printing, collages, dancing, music, ikebana, crochet: there was nothing they left unexplored. And I absorbed it all, if only by osmosis. I learnt an appreciation for crafts from them and it shaped one facet of my personality. However, it all remained in my peripheral vision. 

I had other interests and I followed the logical course into my career.... One summer afternoon in eighth grade, in the last class before dismissal, and 20 minutes into Mrs Khurana's lecture, I discovered my calling. *Click*. It all fell into place. Over the next decade and a half (or more--I'm not going to date myself here! LOL!), I followed my dream with relentless dedication. And it took a lot of dedication to stay true because it was the difficult path. But, somewhere along the way, I was changing. Life happened and the dream lost it's luster. A highly politicized environment might have been to blame. It might have been the birth of my child and the accompanying physiological changes. It may have been a culmination of a lot of things, but somewhere along the way I fell out of love with what had once driven my every waking thought. It wasn't easy owning up to this though (especially to myself)--it took me years to reconcile with the fact. Because I had built my identity around it, Who I was was inextricably linked to What I did. (it wasn't easy, the break-up wasn't pretty and my husband was witness to the worst I had to offer. He stuck by me through it all and I love him all the more for it, now). I "took a break" and devoted myself to raising my child. Fast forward a couple of years and as my toddler went off to his first day of preschool, I approached my old demons...did I really want to go back to a career that I had spent years building, but had lost the passion for? The answer was no. I did however still love certain basic aspects of it and I wanted to continue to "study" it without getting my hands dirty again. So I chose to work on the fringes, working on delivering the content rather than generating it. It was oddly satisfying and I was content. Then came another upheaval followed by a few other major and minor tremors. I was back to the drawing board, directionless, curtailed by physical and administrative constraints. And I needed to reinvent myself yet again. That's when I found this blog. What started out as a diversion to keep myself from going stir-crazy as I waited for those restrictions to lift, slowly reconnected me with my childhood self, the girl who would willingly apprentice with her sister or mother as they followed their passions.

I guess I did absorb some of it after all.


Moral of the story: (because there has to be one! (or not! LOL!) ). It's never too late to be who you want to be(or to go back to being who you want to be). And you may not want to be who you thought you wanted to be. And it's okay to change your mind (several times over if need be). It's okay to be comfortable with who you are at the moment, even if you're just waiting for the flood to ebb.  If you want to stay that way forever, excellent. If you you want to change, excellent. If you want to revert back, excellent. It's all good. (It took me a long time to realize this.) Just do what you're doing today with your heart in it, so that you don't look back on this day as a wasted opportunity, with regret. 

Let's face it, we each have only this one life to live. Might as well enjoy it, no? What do you think--did anything up there make sense???? I'd love to hear more of your stories....

Sharing a link....

I'm just working on some stuff and getting a few things out of the way--I'll catch up with you later this afternoon,.......till then, I just wanted to share a link with you . If there is only one post you read today, let this one be it. Enjoy.


Came across this via.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tray of treasures

Hello luvs! How are you? Sorry for the no-show yesterday--I had full intentions of blogging, but things just kept turning up. In the end I was mentally exhausted, couldn't really put any intelligible thoughts to paper (blogger? we need to come up with an updated lexicon, some of the phrases we express ourselves with may soon be obsolete, don't you think?). Have you ever had one of those days where your brain is buzzing with ideas and you try to do too many things at one time? *Fzzzt* yeah, that's what happened! :) Not that I'm complaining. I live for days like that, where you're using every ounce of that grey matter. Left brain/right brain who cares how you get there. As long as you do. :)

So back to my pet peeve, the weather. I think I'm growing gills, I seem to be living under (rain) water all the time. Seriously, will this rain ever stop? Bas, aur nahin!(translated: enough, already!) All I wanted to do today was get outside and take a walk, maybe come back with a few "found" treasures, let the sun (in my imagination) and the breeze (30 kmph, really?) soothe my worries away........sigh. Not happening. So I comforted myself by cooking up a storm (ha. ha.) and prettifying my environs (and making a few other changes to my blog layout). I've recently updated my tumblr account and I intend to add all those zillions of pictures-that-tempt to it, loads of eye candy with little to no text (where I post when I have NO desire to talk!). :D I've also recently paid some attention to my almost-defunct flickr account, which had turned into a toxic wasteland of pictures that didn't quite make the cut. I've weeded out a lot of the duplicates,/crappy shots but sometimes I suffer from an acute inability to make a decision. Should it go or should it stay? (Good thing I don't work in any field where snap judgments are required, LOL!). I think it looks good now, but I'd like your opinion too. You can find my flickr photostream here and my tumblr inspiration folder here. Or look into the right sidebar for the links---------->

A little sample of what you might find on flickr:

 My tray of treasures on Flickr

And a little sample of what you might find on tumblr:

  Original source: Etsy (Isn't it the most gorgeous necklace ever!) Available here.

In other news, I'd like to give a shout out to fellow blogger Priya, of the blog Once Upon a Tea Time--she has come up with the ingenious (and very commendable!) idea of offering free advertising to fair trade organizations that support artisans. What a wonderful way to promote (and preserve) indigenous crafts! If you belong to or represent a company that engages in fair practices, please contact Priya. If you're a craft/handmade aficionado, please do your bit and help spread the word! Read her post on it here for more information.

That's all for now folks, hope you have a good rest of the day/evening. I leave you with the genius of Indian Ocean: music to rock the rain in! (I love the dug-duggi right in the end.) Oh, and just because I can't resist, here's another. Enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hello Monday!

Good morning gentle reader! How are you? How was your weekend? We had rain all weekend long (I thought of adding a label "where I whine about the weather" to this post, but better sense prevailed! :D ). Anyway, as the saying goes "when life gives you lemons......" so that's what we did. We went and saw a movie! If you're into animated movies (or have kids/are young at heart), Rio was lovely! I must tell you the story of my pet bird someday(he was allowed to roam free--the awaragard (vagabond) that he was, he would fly all over and come back at night to be tucked into his cage.) So this movie really resonated with me (who am I kidding.  I love animated movies. Pssst...embarrassing confession: I cried during "Up".) 

Okay, confession over.

Coffee table flowers. by Of Peacocks and paisleys
Of Peacocks and Paisleys. Photo taken by me last fall.

I also made a few changes to the blog over the weekend:  the little pictures in the sidebar to your right link back to past home tours, artist and designer profiles and also to some of the DIYs I have covered on P&P. I used to feel overwhelmed with all the text on the sidebar and I feel this is more visually appealing. I'm also planning to add a few more graphics that link back to other popular labels. What do you think? Like it or revert back to the way things were? Any other suggestions for navigation features that you would like to see here? I aim to serve. :D I'm getting bored with the way things are and I wanted to do this dramatic Ta-Dah revelation, but somewhere along the way I got impatient lost steam and this is what I'm dishing out. An overhaul, but piecemeal. *shrugs*. There's more coming you way, consider yourself warned! :D

I hope you have a wonderful start to the new week.........

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Friday Folks!!

 Picture: Polly Wreford via.

I'm signing off for the weekend now, hope you have a fabulous Easter, replete with bunnies (chocolate and/or otherwise) and egg hunts, baskets full of goodies and loved ones to enjoy it all with. Oh and sunshine, while you're out and about!

I hope to see you here on Monday....have a great weekend!

Resources used in this post: masking tape from. Thanks Katrina!

Longing for........

.........warm summer nights, balmy breeze and fireflies, the heady scent of night-blooming jasmine (chameli) and fairy lights...This week we had another bout of rain and stormy weather (we were put under a tornado watch, thankfully the storms passed by without much damage)...and while I don't really like the rain too much, there is a bright side to it--"April showers bring May flowers". So while we wait out the yucky weather, I'm looking to the future, and it looks fine!

So let's start dreaming and planning for warmer weather shall we?

The picture above reminds me of the quintessential summer fetes....white tents, good music and loads of crafts to browse through!

Perhaps a DIY appeals to you? Egg carton lights, anyone?

And it doesn't get any prettier (or simpler!) than this:

 And of course, what would summer be without this.....

Yeah! Bring it on, I'm so ready for it.....

All images courtesy Pinterest.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Where do you stash it all away?

Hello hello! First up, an update: Weight off my mind (finished all the forms, waiting for one last letter to arrive, and hopefully it'll catch the post tomorrow). Whew. Thank you for all your sweet comments--you make my day, you know!  So I'm back and chipper, and I thought I'd catch up with y'all! There's this post I've been meaning to write for donkey's ages and it involves a load of BLING! (coz' a girl can't ever have enough, right?) So where do you hang it all up? I find that if I leave it in drawers or boxes, it gets into a whole tangled mess that I can't be bothered to deal with. Out of sight, out of mind.  I was scouting around the web and I found some lovely ideas out there....

Fill an emptied out Yankee candle jar with eye candy? Yes! Read the complete how-to here.

An old picture frame, some plywood, and burlap, a ton of creativity and voila: Functional art! For more pictures and the complete how-to, skip on over to the Songbird blog.

Or perhaps you remember Justina's method? Cushion for earrings, rolled up 'zine for bangles, pretty teacup for rings.....I love it all!
Credit: Compai. For the home tour, click here.

While I'm on the topic, I thought I'd share how I do it as well! I'd bought these two mug racks (less than two bucks, y'all!) on one of my many thrifting expeditions last year. Since they were disparate colors and the wood wasn't really in such great shape, I had spray painted them black and then used a bit of sandpaper to add a little distressing to the edges. It's really not visible in these pictures, but a bit of the wood tone shows through and (I think!) it looks very pretty.


The nicest part is that I have access to my jewelry--I love bangles! and they add a huge splash of color against the black furniture (don't ask! My home office table was black to begin with and all add-ons over the years just seemed to be black! ) It's (still!) very much a work in progress and hopefully over the years it will evolve into it's own element....This room is pretty much my sanctuary. (Disclaimer: it's not always in the best shape, as it can get very messy with piles of paper (and loads of unfolded laundry, LOL!) )

At the moment the accessories add all the color..... (see these posts on where I blog from: 1, 2 and 3. )

 An eyeload of my bling!!

Where do you stash it all away? --I'd love to know!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's back--the revenge of the red tape, part two.

In case you're looking for me, I'm mindin' my own business, filling out forms (mentally tearing them into teeny tiny shreds and feeding them to the sharks/vultures/what-have-yous.) G.R.O.A.N.

I'm drowning under piles of paperwork, bound and gagged with red tape. I'll only be surfacing for food and water (and some air, occasionally). I'll see you soon (?).


Monday, April 18, 2011

Hello Monday!

How are you my loves? I've had a nice weekend. After what threatened to be a brooding, overcast weekend, we had the pleasure of waking up to a sunlit was lovely to walk in the sunlight and take in the many full-in-bloom trees that appeared to have materialized overnight! It never fails to amaze me, how the trees just seem to disappear, meld into non-entities when they're shorn of their leaves. They're there, just not's a  long winter. Sometimes while driving down a familiar street on my many errands, I find myself suddenly distracted, "was that tree there?" (don't worry, I drive safe, and slow, so no crazy accidents or anything!). So yeah, I had a nice weekend, one that allowed me to breathe in the wonder of changing seasons, appreciate this lovely planet we live on.

I also had time to go through some lovely home tours on Apartment Therapy, something I haven't been able to do in a while. This picture made me really happy...

Check out the rest of this house call (hope they do the whole house tour soon!) here.

I just loved the unapologetic  (and stylish!) blend of grown-up and kid spaces in this home tour. I loved how lived-in the whole space was. And that's the whole point isn't it? What is the use of a perfectly styled, high-gloss mansion that looks like a hotel lobby? A home should be a home, where soccer balls and muddy feet and pails-of-water-to-fill-water-guns can run free (okay, I'll admit it does drive me a little batty, but that's what I have folks.....gotta love it, muddy pawprints and all!). Anyway, do check out this home tour, it's a loft and I love what they've done with it.

And since I am being very generous with the links today, let me provide you with yet another home tour, in sunny California no less! When we retire, I want that life....footloose and fancy free!! :D

I do hope you'll check out these awesome homes--they spoke to me on different levels, each one unique, each with a charm of its own. What did you like about them?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Have a great weekend.....

Happy Friday friends, get loads of R&R this weekend, rejuvenate, and we'll meet here Monday! How does that sound? Sound good? Excellent, it's a date then!

Credit, linked via.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reader love!

So I got a lovely e-mail from one of my readers, Sarmistha, a couple of days back. She wrote:
"I follow your blog with great interest .Tin cans are in abundance in my house. I often paint them in bright colors and store anything from spoons to eye and lip color pencils. The list is endless. yesterday I was so inspired by your paper clay project  that I rushed to the nearest Michaels to grab a packet  and get started. I have attached a couple of pictures. They are not nearly as good as yours , But I felt an urge to share them with you."
Sarmistha, that was the sweetest thing to do! I'm flattered, and so touched that you would actually take out the time to do this. You've given me yet another reason to keep blogging! Thank you SO much for sharing your take on the paper-clay can!

 How cute is that peacock? Love his designer tail!

She even took it one step further and made it three dimensional! (I'm so doing that the next time around!) Is that adorable or what?

Oh and I have to add, my pencil holder does make me happy, every day! Are you inspired by Sarmistha's work? Thank you so much for sharing Sarmistha! You made my day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


So I just stumbled across this awesome picture on pinterest and I had to share it with you. I hope my many chai-enthusiast readers are letting out a collective sigh right now! :)

So I've had a  busy day today, a mixed bag of sorts. I...
..tried a new recipe. It came out great!
....felt very proud (of someone close to me.)
...worried needlessly and ensnared others into my worries. (Yeah, I believe in spreading the good stuff around.)
......put my foot in my mouth. (Why, Gagan, why?)
....procrastinated. Again. (Did you like the picture?) :D some awesome blogs.
....gave a hug.
...lost my temper.
...stubbed my toe. ouch!
....took a walk. (and contemplated plucking a few flowers) (I didn't. pick flowers that is). a hug.....
...waited for the mail. Got tons of junk mail, not what I was waiting for. Sigh.

.........Listened to some awesome music: 1, 2, 3..............How was your day?

Oh, and happy Baisakhi folks.....

Post inspired by.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Betsy's Picture(sque) Wall

Hello lovelies! How is this fine Tuesday morning treating you? I'm happy because I got sunshine today (the real deal, not this kind)...I'm so influenced by the weather, it's not even funny. Maybe we should move to Florida or something---lifetime supply of sun n' sand! So anyhoo, after a looo-oo-oong hiatus I've decided to revive the old favorites on this blog.....I miss doing posts on entryways and home tours, and I'm hard at work trying to bring them back to life... so I thought we'd start on the right note!

Today we're off to visit Betsy (mom, fellow decor-addict, and DIYer extraordinaire!) at her gorgeous home in Lake Oswego, Oregon. I'm a big fan of Betsy's blog, aptly named Making Pretty, where she always has some fantastic DIY or thrift-store-find makeover brewing. So when I saw how beautifully she'd done up her entry, I just had to blog about it. Like many real people homes, there is no devoted foyer space or hall, yet she's managed to create a gorgeous, welcoming entryway. And I love that, because it's never about the big bucks for me, it's about a vision, some ingenuity and's what makes a home, home. Welcome to Betsy's.

I love that wall color! Her entry is mostly comprised of thrift store finds (the dresser, the foot stool, the rug, most of the art, the little silver foo dog, the bamboo tray), and most of the pieces have had some "work" done on them--the foo dog was spray painted silver, the dresser had new drawer pulls installed. She's got such a fun anecdote about the Georges Rouault print you see in the picture above---when she came across it while thrifting, she kept wondering why it seemed so familiar. The answer came to her several years later, while going through some old family pictures--it had hung in her mom's living room while she was growing up!! (I can SO relate to this story, I've always been drawn to objects similar to those in my mom's home. :D) The mirror is from her parents' home as well! :D

The red coral hook from a clearance sale at Anthropologie holds her mailbox key, there's a small dish to hold change, the dresser offers ample storage (they have three kids and kids need storage!)--form and function--I love it!

And even though this is totally unrelated to entryways, I have to introduce you to a few of her (many, and ongoing) DIYs....

Oh the awesomeness of this pink chair (a goodwill find) upholstered in a Dawat rice sack!!

A design*sponge-inspired jewelry bust (made from scratch, y'all!). This lady's resourceful, above all else! Do check out her lovely blog for more inspiring ideas...

Thanks for sharing, Betsy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hello Monday!

Read a lovely story of fortitude and survival (and of making happiness out of whatever you can eke out) here.

 Credit: New York Times

And don't forget to click on the slideshow to see the gorgeous home, painstakingly restored....It's a heartwarming story and the icing on the cake had to be this quote: 
"Happiness is not a big house. It's being in each other's way. That's what brings memories."
Definitely the attitude to start this week with! Howz Monday at your end?

Linked via.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fridays are for...

....dreaming of pretty things. Just wanted to share some gorgeous pictures from the spring/summer collection at Niki Jones. Kashmiri paper-mâché boxes and Jaipuri inlay work mirrors, totally droolworthy kantha stoles and bedding....she's certainly got the best picks! If you like what you see, you can always head out to the online store for the entire collection........


I'm just dreaming of snuggling into that bed with a good book.....and maybe a nice sunday brunch on the weekend. These past few weeks have been a bit unsettling for me, there's lots going on in the background, lots that has kept me away from blogging regularly. Though I still cannot promise a very regular blogging schedule, I do have lots of exciting posts in various stages of progress...hopefully a few will go live next week! So bear with me, I'm a little distracted, but I'm still around....

All pictures and products from Niki Jones. First spotted here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Paper boats and clay tigers.....

Sometimes I wonder if I ever really grew up. In a world of mature grownups who want to collect the latest in crystal, I long for the simple joys of my childhood. Woh kagaz ki kashti, mitti ka khilona* (paper boats and toys of clay.). So the latest object to catch my fancy is this fleeting glimpse of a toy tiger, crafted by hand, probably from clay or paper-mâché.

Originally from. First spotted here.

Needless to say I was obsessed, I had to have it. Now the India trip's already done and I probably won't be able to get my hands on it anytime soon, so what recourse did I really have? The only option was to try to recreate it. It helps again that this is a prime example of folk art and perfection isn't of import. So here it is folks, my work in progress, as it dries on a shelf. (LOL, it looks more like an inquisitive kitty-cat at this stage, doesn't it?) I'm going to let it dry thoroughly, smooth over the cracks, add some more dimension to the face (his ears and nose need some reconstructive surgery, LOL!)  and paint it a bright orange. And stripes. :D 

I promise I'll share the finished tigger tiger with you once he's done. I can't wait to play with him decorate with him.

*Poetic license!

PS: If those words brought it all rushing back, here's a passable version of the song. (I'd like to add here, that tho' I do love to reminisce, I also love to look toward the future. So do indulge in nostalgia, for it's important to be connected with your roots, but don't let it drag you down into a big mopey mess. Because you won't be doing justice to life by living in the past.) {Gyan over}

PPS: If, upon reading this you think I have all the time in the world, you couldn't be farther from the truth. This is me indulging in pure escapism. Hi, I'm Gagan and I'm a life-long procrastinator.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hot N Cold

Spring is being such a tease! Hot one day, cold the next..........bah! Me? I can't wait to flaunt my loot---picked up this lovely block-printed scarf this trip. Bonus: it has khadi-work accents--- very subtle hints of dull gold, I know this scarf is going to be a favorite this summer!

Pictures taken by me.

What are you longing to wear this spring/summer?

Title for the post.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A post worth reading...

I don't usually talk about my role as a mom--this is a design blog, and many visitors here may have little or no desire to read a "mommy blog" (there are several excellent ones out there and I am about to provide you a link to a post that really reached out and grabbed me this morning. ) However, at times it is really difficult to rein in the many thoughts I have when I stumble across an article or a post---there's that eruption of internal dialogue and the desire to discuss it with loved ones (YOU)....I'm taking a bit of a departure from the norm today because I feel that at some level, this post touches all of us, because we were all kids once, and no matter which "stage" of life you're at..happily unmarried, happily married, kids/no kids/thinking of kids/avoiding kids at all costs, empty nesters, grandparents, this is one topic that touches all of us. Mostly though, as I sit here typing this, with the incessant prattle of my six year old coming from the next room, I am overwhelmed by my need to protect that innocence. So if you haven't read this post today, please make sure you make the time to do so.

And spread the word.

A friday in april........ full of the promise of spring. There are pretty buds waiting to burst forth on the first sign of warmer weather. April, don't be such a tease, just thaw a little and let the show begin, please? 

How goes your day my loves? I have several errands lined up. I'm  also dreaming of making a treat or two today (time permitting). There's sunlight in the windows(thank you!!) and all is well with the world. I wonder how this friday is treating you? Here's a gorgeous picture to put a smile on your face....

Image: ElleDecor

Sigh. I'd love to curl up with a book here! Speaking of reading, the latest issue of Matchbook magazine is out---I'm really loving this magazine, it's full of inspiration and the articles are really well-written (less "frothy" (!!)). I'm curious--what do you think of online magazines? Love em? Hate em? Why?

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