Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

No voices from Mumbai attack of 26-29 November 2008

Video link

These voices never change but the lives of people do change with each such incident.

Mumbai, 26th November, 2008

Mumbai, 26th November, 2008

And this was Mumbai long long ago

Internet Scammers now send SMS too!

I have developed a familiarity with the spam mails directed to me. Every morning I know what to expect in my spam folder. The subject lines always look familiar. No surprises there!
I thought getting an average of only 40 spam mails a day (with one odd one a week sneaking into Inbox) was not bad at all. Years ago, I learnt not to reply back to these mails with “Hey! Stop spamming me!” kind of mails. The best thing to do is not to respond back. I thought I took utmost care in keeping my email id safe and Inbox clean. After a bad experience initially, now I even choose online services (even for my blog) more judiciously.

I am even more careful about not giving out my mobile number, thanks to telecaller! I do not give out my mobile phone number anywhere, definitely not at some website. I do not even leave my number in the feedback ledgers of shopping stores. I know even those numbers are later sold out, just email ids are sold out by most online ‘job consultancy’ firms. It is a fact. I delight fully registered at the NDNCR (National Do Not Call Registry) when it was first launched.

Still, recently I had to rethink the reach capability of online scamsters when I got the following SMS on my mobile:

For those who reach this page googling to know if they have won the $$$:
Sorry, but it's a scam. It always is.

Sad thing is I know people who would actually reply back to such messages.
Related post:
Information Overload: Email and Spam

Lux Soap ad featuring Prema Narayan

continued from vintage Lux ad featuring Leela Chitnis

Not only top actresses featured in LuX soap advertisements but even actresses like Prema Narayan, who, although beautiful, had a relatively brief bollywood career that mostly included dance items and tiny 'blink and you miss' - 'you don't wanna blink it's Prema' kind of roles  .

Lux Soap ad from 1970s featuring Prema Narayan

Prema narayan in lux ad

The many loves of Prema Narayan!

Favorite film: Amanush
Holiday fun: painting landscapes in

                     water colours
Greatest desire: an absolutley free day
Her beauty soap: LUX - naturally!
"LUX keeps my complexion soft and pretty"
says Prema Narayan."I trust LUX because it's
really pure and mild."
Pure,mild LUX-beauty soap of the film stars


Acknowledgment: Found the ads at Karen' album on advertisements.


You can watch Prema Narayan go toe to toe with Kajal Kiran in a fist fight from 1983 filck Karate.
It's hilarious!

vintage Lux Soap Ad featuring Leela Chitnis

continued from Lux ad featuring Zeenat Aman

Your skin will be
fresh and smooth
Leela Chitnis promises
you a lovlier skin!
Lux Toilet Soap

Lux soap ad from 1941 featuring Leela Chitnis (right: in V.Shantaram's 1937 film Vahan)

Leela Chitnis, a big time film actress in 1939, was born in a Marathi-speaking household in Karwar, Karnataka and was one of Indian cinema's first educated ladies. In 1941, Leela Chitnis (b. 1912) became the first ever Indian actress to promote Lux soap.

Lux was first launched in India in 1929 and since then almost all the top Indian actresses of their era have represented the Lux brand.

Not only top actresses but even actresses like Prema Narayan did Lux ad... (Condt..)


and info. (and pic) about Leela Chitnis here 

Zeenat Aman in vintage Lux ads

I was browsing around and came across a blog called  Everything Bollywood by Karen. The blog gives access to some wonderful Picasa albums having old magazine scans, covers, film poster, even lobby cards and stuff. One can spend hours at the place. It is quite a collection!
In one of the albums themed around old celebrity advertisements, along with some previously unseen material, I found some of the stuff originally uploaded by me (like Zeenat Aman in Taj Mahal Tea ad and more), some by Soumyadip and some by  Meghna G ( for some reason her exhaustive flickr albums on Indian print ads are not available anymore).

The following ads of Zeenat Aman are from the album on advertisments.

Lux ad featuring Zeenat Aman from 1970s

Zeenat Aman has it.
The complexion you wish
you were born with.
"Being a star is tough on a girl's complexion.
That's why I use fragrant Lux Supreme.
Its rich, creamy lather with the gentle touch of
beauty cream gives me a smooth young
complexion. Keeps me soft to touch. And 
that's important. isn't it?"
LUX Supreme

Zeenat Aman in Lux soap ad from 1980s.

"Some romances just go on..."
"Like my love for music.
Or my steady affair with books.
Or my passion for acting.Or even my relationship with lovely Lux"
Pure,mild Lux-beauty soap of the film stars.


Related post
Check out the index to my series on old Indian print ads here

Wine, Mullah and Poet

Zauq! Jo medresse ke bigre hue hain mulla
Un ko maikhaane mein le aao sanwar jaayenge

(Zauq! Bring the mulla misled by a medressa
To the tavern, it will correct his ways.)

-    Zauq

Lutf-e-mai tujh se kya kahoon, zahid
Hai kambakht tu ne pee hi nahin.

(How do I describe, o priest, wine’s joy to you?
A drop has never passed your misbegotten lips.)

Zahid sharaab peene de masjid mein baith kar
Ya wo  jagah bata de jahan par Khuda na ho.

(Priest, let me sit and drink inside the mosque
Or tell me that place where God can’t be found.)

- Hazrat Daagh Dehlivi

Har chabd ho mushahada-e-haq ki guftagu
Banti nahin hai badah-o-saaghan kahe baghair.

(Let us discourse, each moment, of truth divine
How do we talk without the strength of wine?)

Kahan maikhana ka darwaza Ghalib aur kahan waaez
Par itna jaante hain, kal wo jaata tha ke ham nikle.

(Where is the tavern door, Ghalib, and where he priest!
But this I know: yesterday he entered as I was leaving.)

- Ghalib

Sharaab-e-kuhan phir pila saaqiya
Yahi jam gardish mein laa saaqiya.

(Pour me that familiar wine again, saqi!
Fill the world with the same wine, saqi!)

Umeed-e hoor ne sab kuch sikha rakha hai waaez ko
Yeh hazrat dekhne main seedhe hain, saade hain, bhole bhaale hain.

(The hope of houris has taught him all he wants to know
The priest merely looks simple, humble, plain, innocent.)

-    Iqbal

Pahunchi yahan bhi Shaikh was Brahman ki guftagu
Ab maikada bhi sair ke qaabil nahin raha.

(The quarrel of Shaikh, Brahmin has reached here
Even the tavern is no longer worth a visit!)

- Anonymous


Above verses (including translation) selected from an article Would anyone dare issue a fatwa against Iqbal? by M J Akbar (Times of India dated 23/11/2008). He wrote the article because:

A Lucknow based maulana passed a fatwa against Harvansh Rai Bachchan’s seven decade old famous work titled Madhushala. This maulana fealt that these verses “eulogized alcohol and drunkenness in society".

Sample this from Madhushala:

dharm-grandh sab jala chuki hai jiske antar kee jwaala
mandir masjid girje sab ko tod chuka jo matwaala
pandit momin paadriyon ke fandon ko jo kaat chuka
kar sakti hai aaj usee ka swaagat meri madhushaala

Some people went to this maulana, read out some verses from Madhushala ('The House of Wine') and asked 'Howzzthat?'. It's a fatwa.

Harivansh Rai Bachchan's famous 135 "quatrains": verses of four lines ("Ruba'i) was inspired by Omar Khayyam's famous Rubayiat.

Sample this from Rubayiat:

Why, ungrateful man, repine,
When this cup is bright with wine?
All my life I've sought in vain,
Knowledge and content to gain;
All that Nature could unfold
Have I in her page unrolled;
All of glorious and grand
I have sought to understand.
'Twas in youth my early thought,
Riper years no wisdom brought,
Life is ebbing, sure though slow,
And I feel I nothing know.

- From: Charles F. Horne, ed., The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, (New York: Parke, Austin, & Lipscomb, 1917), Vol. VIII: Medieval Persia, p. 15 (Translated by E. H. Whinfield).

Saddam Bomb fireworks

No WMD: Burnt cover of a firework box having Saddam Hussein iconography (notice the tigers)

I gave up the habit years ago. Habit of picking stuff off the road. But this Diwali, I couldn't help myself. The great Indian cultural cauldron throws a Saddam at you on Diwali, delightfully, you lap it up.


India's Saddam Hussein village : "In the playground we have Saddam Hussein running after Saddam Hussein, behind Saddam Hussein who is ahead of Saddam Hussein but too far from Saddam Hussein... it can all get a little confusing"
An old BBC story (dated January 2007) about a village in Bihar where every other Sunni Muslim kid is named Saddam Hussein.


In early August 1990, pre- Gulf War days, former Indian Prime Minister I.K.Gujral,External Affairs Minister in the then V.P. Singh Government, during his transit stay in Amman , bear hugged (some say even kissed the two cheeks of) Saddam Hussein while on a visit to Iraq.


Iraq was the only  member of OIC (Organisation of The Islamic Conference) that never supported the OIC resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir against India. OIC still loves making these resolutions religiously.


Saddam was captured by U.S. forces on December 13, 2003 and  executed on December 30, 2006.


About the photograph:
Terkheda in Osmanabad (no relation to bad Osama) district.of Indian state of Maharashtra is famous for it's firework industry. No wonder with the kind of marketing skills they have!
Picked up the cover a day before Diwali on a road in Talegaon, Pune. Brought it back with me, threw it back on the road and then photographed.

Remembering Voltron

Voltron was the first Japanese anime series that I started following religiously. It's the early 90s. The series had these space vans sort of things driven by young boys who would combine their rides together, in time of when fighting a mega villain that deep recess of dark space has to offer, to form the mighty (colorful) Voltron , the defender of the Universe. Voltron had many weapons to take care of its foes, but weapon of its choice, a sort of super laser sword that it could summon by striking its giant robotic hands together over head. It was the ultimate weapon that could cut through any known (unknown) metals in the universe.

Very few folks in India would remember this great series, excluding may be those who had loving uncles living in HK (Hongkong), who brought back video cassette of Dragonball Z , The Transformers and other similar stuff for their geeky nephew.

No, I never had an HKwalla uncle. What I did have, or rather what my TV had, was: a really good antenna. I followed Voltron, and many other wonderful series, by catching the signals that came from across the border - signals from good old PTV. While Doordarshan was in decline, PTV, with its superior infrastructure (its signal was always crisp and clearer than Doordarshan) was just starting out. However, both were later cleared out with the coming of cable television. But in the beginning, perhaps thanks to its cosy relation with America, PTV was the one stop for the best syndicated content in the pre-cable television days.

Here's the intro video of Voltron, 2nd season made in 1990s (the one that was broadcast from PTV):

Video link 


And here's the youtube video that reminded me of Voltron and led to this post:

Video link
It's the making of a painting by an artist named Robert Burden
It actually looks like a Voltron drawn on a Persian/Kashmiri Kaleen/rug.
Wonderful Music is by a band named The Blackstone Heist and is an adaptation of their song "Tomorrow Waits For No One". Do check out other version of this song at the Myspace page of The Blackstone Heist .It's an equally great track titled Tomorrow Jam.

Covering Complete Tintin Adventures

Collage of covers of The Complete Adventures of Tintin

The cover pages of all The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé, real name Georges Remi. The images are in chronological order of their release. Cover Tintin and the Lake of Sharks had been left out, as it wasn't drawn by Hergé. The last image is of the back cover of a version of Tintin and Alph-Art - The twenty-fourth adventure of Tintin which was left unfinished at the time of Herge's death

The complete list:

1. Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (1929–1930)
The first adventure appeared in 1929 in a children's supplement to a Belgian daily newspaper, Le Vingtième Siècle. Hergé was just twenty-three. In this adventure, Tintin and Snowy travel to communist Russia and get chased around by its infamous secret police.

2. Tintin in the Congo (1930–1931)
The infamous second by Hergé.The one not for the kids. Tintin  is in Congo and a henchman of Al Capone, who has diamond interest in Congo,  tries to kill him off.
Not only is this publication racist, an attempt at glorifying colonialism, but it is also not funny - unless of course if you think blowing up a rhinoceros with dynamite is funny.

These two first adventures of Tintin aren't much read, least availabe and are quite different from what made Tintin famous. Tintin,  as he is recognized around the world, first evolved in:

3. Tintin in America (1931–1932)
 Hergé, with his sketchy knowledge of America set up Tintin against Al Capone. Also, in this one Tintin takes up the cause of American Indians. It was the first time that he took up the side of an underdog.

4. Cigars of the Pharaoh (1932–1934)
Tintin travels to Egypt to look for the tomb of Pharaoh Kih-Oskh and we are introduced to his arch-enemy Rastapopoulos and to the bumbling duo:Thomson and Thompson. By the end of the adventure, Tintin also pays his first visit to India, travels as far as the Himalayas, fights off a slimy fakir who darts out Rajaijah juice - poison of madness. Tintin makes friend with Maharaja of Gaipajama. A gai and a pajama, what a word! Also, Snowy manages to upset a holy cow and almost gets lynched. 

5. The Blue Lotus (1934–1935)
Tintin again acts as the spokesman for the underdog. Only this time, the underdog is China. From India, Tintin travels to Shanghai, China, to take on the assassins of the opium consortium run by Rastapopoulos  with the support of a Japanese secret agent. Also, in this one Tintin makes a friend for life - Chang Chong-Chen. Character of Chang was actually based by Hergé on a friend of his named Zhang Chongren. This friendship later led Tintin in Tibet - perhaps the most loved adventure of Tintin.

6. The Broken Ear (1935–1937)
 Tintin travels to the fictional South America republic of San Theodoros to recover a stolen artifact/idol (fetish is a unfunny word for children's comic!) and finds himself in the middle of a revolution, unwittingly supporting a coup by one General Alcaza. Corruption, Bribery, capitalist bad western businessman, it was a familiar world.

7. The Black Island (1937–1938)
This one reads like a thriller set in Europe.Tintin uncovers the secrets of a ruined castle on the the Black Island off the coast of northern Scotland. Dr. J.W. Müller needs to be stopped.

8. King Ottokar's Sceptre (1938–1939)
The plan is simple: If the king does not carry King Ottokar's sceptre in the royal procession he will lose his throne, and the sceptre goes missing. Tintin saves the kingdom of Syldavia from the ferocious plans of a man with a sinister name - Müsstler. Anti-Nazi, and Anti-Blackshirt adventure featuring Tintin.We are also introduced to Bianca Castafiore ( who reappears in The Castafiore Emerald ) and Colonel Boris (who reappears as Jorgen in Destination Moon and in its sequel Explorers on the Moon.)

9. The Crab with the Golden Claws (1940–1941)
Herge had to give up writing Land of Black Gold because of the heightened political atmosphere surrounding World War II. Instead he wrote a new adventure about an Arab who uses tins of crab meat to smuggle opium. Tintin to the rescue. In this adventure we are introduced to whiskey loving Captain Haddock for the first time ever. What an ectoplasmic character! He partnered Tintin in a number of later adventure and played an important part in Tintin in Tibet.

10. The Shooting Star (1941–1942)
A star is on its way to Earth. Philippulus the crazy Prophet declares: "The end of the world is at hand!" Sadly, the star misses it mark and only manages to leave behind a precious meteorite in the cold Arctic waters. A race begins. A banking cartel would stoop to any level to get it. Tintin and friends must get to it first.

11. The Secret of the Unicorn (1942–1943)
We get to know about Captain Haddock's ancestry. A story of a ship named Unicorn, and a lost treasure in the caribbean sea . It's the story of:

12. Red Rackham's Treasure (1943–1944)
Tintin and company sets off to find the long-lost treasure of Red Rackham the pirate. Professor Calculus makes his first appearance.And we get to see a Shark shaped sub-marine. Cool!

The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure are being made in a film by Steven Spielberg. It would probably release in 2010. Great!

13. The Seven Crystal Balls (1943–1948)
Ah! The Ball of fire!
Tintin investigates the case of a missing mummy (Tutankhamun kind of story) and hysteric explorers . Tintin follows the clues to Peru for a new adventure...

14. Prisoners of the Sun (1946–1949)
Professor Calculus needs rescuing. Tintin comes across a undiscovered Inca tribe and  Christopher Columbus's famous solar eclipse trick

15. Land of Black Gold (1948–1950)
The oriental framed look and the colorful beard of Thomson and Thompson flowing in the air, bubbles blowing in the air.  I love this cover, my personal favorite.
The story is set in Middle East and naturally involves oil. German Dr. Muller of The Black Island returns as tanned Professor Smith blowing up oil pipelines to disrupt oil supply to Europe and contaminating other oil supplies with special tablets called "Formula 14". These tablets  increase the driving power of the contaminated oil causing car engines to explode. Tintin is called in to investigate. This adventure also introduced to us Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab and his bratty son Abdullah (complete name in Arab tradition Mohammed Ben Kalish Ezab et Abdallah). They later return in the adventure titled The Red Sea Sharks, so does Müller.
The funniest thing in this adventure involved the detectives duo of Thomson and Thompson. They somehow manage to "Formula 14" pills that causes them to sprout color changing immensely toe touching beards. Their condition gets better by the end of this adventure, but again returns in the later adventure Explorers on the Moon.

16. Destination Moon (1950–1953)
A spying thriller set to the space race. Professor Calculus is trying to send a rocket to moon. Tintin investigates espionnage. By the end of the adventure, events are set in motion that lead Tintin, Snowy, Haddock, Calculus,  Thomson and Thompson on to the ultimate adventure - a journey to the Moon.

17. Explorers on the Moon (1950–1954)
 Thanks to Thomson and Thompson, Tintin, Snowy, Haddock, Calculus and his assistant for the project Frank Wolff end up on a rocket to Moon. This was the ultimate adventure. In space, Thomson and Thompson suffer a relapse of ill-effect of ingesting "Formula 14", Haddock enjoys his whiskey in space and does a space walk around an asteroid. Tintin detects a spy on Moon and an old enemy. They count their oxygen. The adventure ends with a great sacrifice by a fall guy.

18. The Calculus Affair (1954–1956)
 They decide not to have an adventure. But.
Professor Calculus is working on a new device, an ultrasonic device. The device can be developed into a great weapon of mass description. Hence the danger to his life. Tintin must save his friend and his wonderful invention. Another thriller! 

19. The Red Sea Sharks (1958)
Old enemy Rastapopoulos returns as Marquis di Gorgonzola, a media baron, a airline owner, and a arms dealer who uses the pilgrimage to Mecca to capture and enslave African Muslim travellers. Tintin's old friend from Land of Black Gold, Emir Ben Kalish Ezab threatens to expose this for personal reasons, Rastapopoulos engineers his overthrow in favor of the Emir's enemy Sheikh Bab El Ehr. Tintin's other enemy Doctor Müller, returns as Mull Pash. Tintin must stop this evil slave trade!

20. Tintin in Tibet (1960)
Hergé's favourite of the Tintin series ( his previous favorite being The Secret of the Unicorn). His White Album. High in emotional content, the adventure starts with a mystical experience and ends with a mystical experience. Tintin has a telepathic vision that his Chinese friend Chang Chong-Chen (from The Blue Lotus) is in serious trouble having just survived an airplane crash in the Himalayas. Tintin plans a rescue. High up in the white mountains, Yeti makes a lasting impression.  

21. The Castafiore Emerald (1963)
The only cover in which Tintin is looking at you. This was a strange one.
Bianca Castafiore's pay's a visit and her most prized emerald goes missing. There are Gypsies in town and so, natural suspects. Eveyone tries to find it. It is found. Lost. And found again. nothing actually happens in this adventure.

22. Flight 714 (1968)
The plot involved a hijacked private jet, a millionaire named Laszlo, an old enymy - Rastapopoulos, a secret Swiss bank account and a mysterious Pacific island. In the end, in an  Erich von Dänikenian twist all the bad guys get extradited out of this planet.

23. Tintin and the Picaros (1976)

Tintin and friends travel to the (fictional) South American country of San Theodoros where Bianca Castafiore, her maid Irma, pianist Igor Wagner, and Thomson and Thompson  have been imprisoned for allegedly attempting to overthrow the military dictatorship of General Tapioca, who has again deposed Tintin's old friend, General Alcazar (newly married to a dominant woman). Tintin, Haddock, and Calculus join Alcazar and his band of guerrillas, known as the Picaros, in the jungles near an Indian village and try to set the record straight. But there is a problem. Tapioca keeps parachuting crates of whiskey into the area and Alcazar's men end up getting too drunk to be able to carry out a coup. Calculus invents some tablets which put people off alcohol, hence paving the way for a revolution. It's the final complete adventure drawn by Herge and memorable one.

24. Tintin and Alph-Art (1986, 2004)
Published posthumously. The twenty-fourth adventure of tintin, "Tintin and Alph-Art", was left unfinished at the time of Herge's death on the 3rd of march, 1983. Herge was aged 75. Remember, he was 23 when he started the Adventures of Tintin. It's a long time.
Since then, several artists have tried their hand at finishing this ultimate adventure of Tintin. Presented in the image at the top of this write up is the version drawn by Yves Rodier, a Canadian artist, in an English translation by Richard Wainman.
You can read this version of  Tintin and Alph-Art here


* Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (1972)
 It's cover is missing in the image above as this one was not drawn and written by Herge. Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (originally known as Tintin et le Lac aux Requins) is a Tintin animated film, directed by Raymond LeBlanc (1972). It was created by the Belgian comics creator Greg (Michel Regnier), a friend of Hergé.  Hergé did supervise this creation. It was later adapted into a comic book in which the illustrations were drawn to look like still images from the film, hence a certain different glossy look and feel.


Kaun Gali Gayo Shyam by Parveen Sultana

video link here

I was looking at images from my old post on Basohli Paintings while listening to some songs. Looking at then, I heard Kaun Gali Gayo Shyam sung by Begum Parveen Sultana form the Meena Kumari starrer classic Kamal Amrohi's Pakeezah (1972).

It felt nice, so created this little video.

The music is by Naushad, Kamal Amrohi roped him in to give background score for the film after the death of Ghulam Mohammed - the original song composer for this almost doomed film.

Kaun Gali Gayo Shyam is a popular semi-classical song from thumri genre of Indian music. A thumri is usually a love song involving Radha and Krishna. A thumri is generally performed by a female singer and a female Kathak dancer. Interestingly, both Basohli Paintings and thumri deal with Shringara rasa or the rasa of love.
Read more about thumri at an article from DeccanHerald.

Obama's Hanuman pocket Charm

Guess the charms finally worked. Time magazine informed us that American President elect Barack Obama during the election campaign carried in his pocket:
  • A U.S. soldier’s bracelet (currently deployed in Iraq)
  • A gambler’s “lucky chit”
  • A “Madonna and Child” charm
  • “A tiny monkey god”
  • And three or four other unidentified items, among which seems to be a slug, an angel coin, yet another Virgin Mary charm, and some other coin-y detritus.
At another campaign event, he reached into his pocket and out came some more charms:  an eagle given to him by a Native American woman, a lucky poker chip given to him by another voter who met him on the campaign trail, something resembling a guitar key chain and many other such.

“A tiny monkey god” was reported in India, quite obviously, as Hanuman. 'Obviously' because these papers had already widely reported Indian well wishers Hanuman Idol gift to Obama (no, I don't think they were trying to convert him to be a Bajrang Dali).

The thing is: in India we don't have a “A tiny monkey god” with four tiny arms. Four armed Hanuman would be an oddity in India. Multiple armed Gods and Goddesses are certainly common in India - Vishu, Brahma, Durga and so on - but, many armed Hanuman is not common, is almost unheard, in India.

Four armed Hanuman belongs to Thailand and is found their version of Ramayan (known as Ramakien). Four armed Hanuman pendants are also common in Thailand and quite popular with the tourists.


Photo credit : Time

“A tiny monkey god” isn't the only thing that one can see in this photograph. I heard that some Indian news channels are hiring people to read those palms of the would be American President and predict the future of US (and by default of the world) under his tenure.

Jayanto re-tooning in Gardhab Das

Found this in my wallet while doing the annual Diwali cleaning. The cartoon was published in Hindustan Times on March 9, 2008. Jayanto Banerjee has been drawing cartoons for the last two decades. He has a corner in one of the middle pages of Hindustan Times titled Tooning In and sometimes his illustrations also appear in the paper.

I stuffed this particular page into my wallet because it reminded me of Jayanto's most famous creation - Gardhab Das from  Target Magazine.

A donkey and a politician, resemblance is obvious. At first first, I thought, 'Gardhab Das himself', but on closer examination realized that Gardhab Das had longer more donkey-like ears. Still it felt good seeing Jayanto sketch up something that looked like Gardhab.
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