Thursday, November 27, 2014

BLASPHEMY OF NOT BEING CREATIVE

Don’t remain Clark Kent always. Be Superman… if you can.

Our intended purpose on planet earth is to become what we can. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer refers to this idea directly in his book, I Can See Clearly Now.
   
“I was living what Maslow described as being a person who must be what he can be,” says Dr. Wayne Dyer in chapter 40 of the book. The stress in “can” isn’t mere an attempt to address our abilities. It is also an attempt to address living from a ‘no-limit’ perspective.

It is possible to live from the fullest extent of possibilities that we are given by nature of our being. We are endowed with limitless imagination, the power to conceive without involving our physicality, the ability to transcend every limit we encounter due to the earthliness that is with us throughout our life on the earth, and the capacity to love unconditionally. The moment we are ready to use at least one or all the gifts given above, we can create infinite results with endless joy and satisfaction.

Why should we be different in blogging?
Image Courtesy: pix77.com

For the past few weeks, we have been discussing the The Rule of Three Cs, three principles that enable bloggers to enhance productivity and establish their own space in the vastness of ‘blog-sphere’. As you may already know, this article is part of the Kindle version of The Indian Commentator, titled, Unclassified Intelligence (August-September 2014). For those, who have been diligent in pursuing the outcome of this article that I have shared in this space as a series, I am grateful. I have already shared two Rules of Cs.
1. Consistency and 
2.  Clarity.
You can read the third, from now on. Here you go…

3. Creativity.
Creativity comes from the courage to make mistakes. As a blogger, many readers have mentioned that my ways are creative and engaging. Including Unclassified Intelligence, the ideas I employed in order to make blogging more attractive are many. The most successful of them all? Well, no doubt, it is Unclassified Intelligence, the ebook avatar of my blog, The Indian Commentator. Early this January, I am also planning to release an omnibus print edition of all the wonderful articles that happened to appear in my blog during the year 2014 and before. Most of the articles will be from my 2014 blog posts.

My intention is to keep all those blog posts as a souvenir with me and anyone else who would want to collect them. It will be a truly great collector’s edition for anyone who loves blogs and the sense of freedom and spirit blogging inculcate in us. When I first considered the idea of a book from blog posts, I felt like what this quote below says.       

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”― Kurt Vonnegut 

It is this jumping off the cliff that bloggers have to do each time, provided they should not take their eyes off from Consistency and Clarity.
Image Courtesy: defensecontractormarketing.com

As an Indian, I have a special liking toward blogging. The concept of blogging—that is sharing a piece of information or a piece for entertainment on a screen for everyone to see and cherish—existed in India, even before the advent of the internet. Emperor Asoka’s stone tablets and the temple murals in South India are some of the remaining signs of those early blog posts. They are being read even today. It is not just about reading those ancient writings. It is also about the seriousness and respect with which we now see them. Those ancient “bloggers” did their work consistently, clearly and creatively. Most Indian emperors attempted to erect stone tablets and “stupas” in order to spread their ideas, messages, and decrees. Their subjects saw these stone tablets, just like your blog post have been seen and read by those many people, today. A blog post can be accessed by anyone unlike a Facebook, Linked in, or twitter page, just like those stone tablets or murals.

Being the first Indian blogger to have a kindle ebook edition, I positively feel that blogging in India would surely go a long way.

Thank you for reading.

New article in the next post!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

MEANINGFUL BLOGGING: Appearance Matters

Perhaps, you wondered why on earth I didn't elaborate on all those three Cs that I mentioned in the previous post. I can understand the reason for your anxiety. Whatever they tell you, your blog is an integral part of your persona, it is part of your being. I cannot overlook, at the same time facts such as many bloggers do not earn a single penny doing what they love doing. Therefore, in order to do what you do best (blogging) or to do it more effectively, I have formulated The Rule of Three Cs. If you haven’t read the previous post, I will make it easy for you by pasting the introduction here.

In order to attract more traffic to one’s blog three important rules will help. I would like to share these three important rules here, for any newbie or experienced blogger who is looking for a way to increase one’s page views. I call this golden rule, The Rule of Three Cs.

The Rule of Three Cs is explained below.
1. Consistency.
2. Clarity.
and
3. Creativity.

If you’d like to read the part called Consistency, please tap on the link, HERE.
Now, let’s move on to the second point—Clarity. 
Image Courtesy: Google

2. Clarity:

“Appearance blinds, whereas words reveal.”― Oscar Wilde

This is true about your blog too. In fact, clarity is the golden measure for luring your reader into your blog. Blog description should be concise, clear, and written in an economic language. Blog description could be the sub-title for your blog. If your blog is about cinema, you must say clearly that the art of motion pictures is your genre.

Like consistency, sometimes, clarity too can be burdensome. If you were too specific about your blog description, you could easily be consistent, but hardly can enjoy the limited space. For example, if you chose your blog to be only about “direction” in movies, you may not be able to talk about fashion, gossip, or the like. If you do, your consistency with the subject matter might come under question. This can be avoided by using a strategy I call “pan mapping”.

What is pan mapping?

Image Courtesy: Google
Pan mapping is the strategic placement or selection of title or subtitle for a blog so that more than one category can be covered as the subjected matter of the blog, as the title and subtitle is capable of reciprocating with variety of possibilities. For example, if you name your blog or write a description that goes along with movies in general, you have the option of reaching out to those readers who love movie gossips, special features on technical crew, actors, or film reviews. In other words, you are opening your possibilities wider by being clear in your title and subtitle or blog description. However, clarity may also hinder your progress into the uncharted territories of true blogging greatness. Are you asking how?

Suppose a reader finds you a little too predictable? What would be the first response of the person?

He or she might ask, “Is this all you have?” This might be an understatement of your real talent. But, can we blame those people? Aren’t we ourselves doing the same thing when we find something or someone a bit too predictable? In order to avoid this drab feeling one must learn to practice the third Rule of C. You may not be able to satisfy a person who loves books with your movie blog. There are miscellaneous and culture blogs that deal with most of these items, from movies to books, from fashion to politics. But it is a tough game for them to be consistent and clear.   

Will be continued.
An excerpt from, Unclassified Intelligence, Aug-Sept, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

TRAFFIC RULES: Blogging with Consistency

Hello there, if you liked my previous blog post titled “WHAT YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE THOUGHT OF MALALA YOUSAFZAI: The High Art of Blogging”, you would want to read more about what “The Rule of Three Cs” are, that I proposed in the post. The previous post was an excerpt from the August-September edition of Unclassified Intelligence. Because I do not intend to make this e-book moneymaking venture alone, I would like to share the rest of the article too… free.

For those who are serious about blogging and would like to get a tip or two on the concept of blogging, this article might be helpful.

Before venturing into reading the rest of the article, I would like to bring to your attention one more crucial concept that is necessary not just to blogging but also to life in general. If you are looking for success in any arena of life, the first and foremost requirement is “purpose”. In order to achieve purpose, one may require a firm conceptual grounding on the work at hand. I have attempted to clarify three major areas on which one can base their blogging efforts for excellence.
The Rule of Three Cs
In order to attract more traffic to one’s blog three important rules will help. I would like to share these three important rules here, for any newbie or experienced blogger who is looking for a way to increase one’s page views. I call this golden rule, The Rule of Three Cs.
Image Courtesy: Google

The Rule of Three Cs is explained below.
1.    1.   Consistency.
2.    2.   Clarity.
and
3.    3.   Creativity.

Each concept is described in detail, below.
1.      1. Consistency
The Rule of Three Cs might sound a bit too simple at first glance. However, I would request the reader to consider them each one by one and meditate upon them. In Vocabulary.com/dictionary, the word consistency is defined, “a harmonious uniformity or agreement among things or parts.” In the case of a blog, as I mentioned earlier, the content or the subject matter varies a great deal from blogger to blogger. This is not the problem. This is a boon in fact. The problem, though, is when the content of the same blog, by the same author varies a great deal. When there is no uniformity among different blog-posts published by the same blogger, variety turns into a curse. Safe to assume that any reader would soon lose one’s appetite for what may appear as a chaos of information.

Presenting contents in order is an art. The craft of blogging depends a great deal on this art. Variety can kill. But order or consistency can save a dying blog. Some might not agree. But that is not what we need to look at here. How could variety be harmful is explained below.

Consistency in the nature of subject matter can help the blogger also in pitching the blog with like-tempered people. Like-mindedness is a key area one can turn to for improved page views. For activating like-mindedness, the key is consistency. However, sometimes, consistency can be limiting. The blogger might find it difficult to branch out while being consistent in his blogging efforts. One must clearly understand what “consistency” means to a blogger. Consistency can be applied to more than one area. It could be the frequency of blog posts, and the nature of subject matter. These two are the most important areas that a blogger should keep in mind while applying the first Rule of C.

But if a blogger writes about films and goes on elaborating on the same topic, reviewing movies in each of the posts, readers might want to go somewhere else for an information of cooking or books. This is how it works. It is always better to write quality content in the area you are interested in, even at the risk of losing your reader for a piece of information on any other subject. Even if you write a good cooking article that sucked tremendously for the reader, you may be making the mistake of losing your reader permanently. The success of a blog is not just based on a random click. A blog is successful when a visitor says she would return. And returns for another look, in the coming days, depending upon the frequency of your posting.

However, if you are bored of posting only one type of material in your blog, you can experiment. But it depends on the following rule.

This will continue in the next post.
Also please take a look at Unclassified Intelligence, August-September, 2014 here

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

THE GREATEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED: Utilizing Wisdom from the Greatest Teacher

The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived is a systematic guide to using the wisdom of one of the world’s greatest teachers, Jesus of Nazareth. One third of the book is dedicated to what one can learn from the examples and instances Jesus set for his disciples to follow, including his irrefutable communication skills. A few chapters towards the end of the book discuss in detail on who Jesus really is. In my opinion, this part makes the long and sometimes tedious journey of reading this book worthwhile. It seems the editors didn’t see the significance of this last part and put it at the end. In my view, had this been in the starting of the book, The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived would have been a remarkable book about having faith in the possibilities of following the way showed by Jesus. It is faith that can ultimately guide knowledge, although knowledge and faith and complementary. (No pun intended)

Image Courtesy: Steven. K. Scott
The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived is written by a big American businessman named Steven K. Scott, who is also active as a Christian minister. His success story is at the very base of The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived. He transformed his life from utter failure in eight previous jobs into the Billion-Dollar business success he is. Steven K. Scott attributes all his success to the phenomenal wisdom he received from the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and reading the Book of Proverbs, written by King Solomon. Steven K. Scott is also the author of The Richest Man Who Ever Lived, The Greatest Words Ever Spoken, etc.    

By using Jesus’ example Steven K. Scott brings home the relevant message of overcoming a variety of roadblocks in our life. “He occasionally withdrew from the crowds to redirect his attention to more pressing matters,” (223) he writes about Jesus. According to Mr. Scott, Jesus never runs away from adversity. Boldness of Jesus is often seen in many occasions in The Bible. Jesus also had spiritually recharging prayer moments and “serenity spots” (to use a term by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer).

In his book on clear-sightedness, I Can See Clearly Now, Dr. Dyer narrates that during his sojourn as a university professor at St. John’s College, he was overwhelmed by pressing demands from his colleagues, students, and other staff members. This often consumed most of his available time at the college office. These hectic occasions seemed suffocating to Dr. Dyer. In order to overcome the spiritual fatigue that he felt on these “seemingly normal” college hours, he took refuge in the park adjacent to the office. There in the garden, sitting on a boulder, he contemplated himself in relation to the surrounding nature. “My serenity spot where I drank in the enchanting loveliness that was being offered to me seemed at the time a great way to put aside anxiety and let off a little steam,” declares Dr. Dyer.

Steven K. Scott’s reference of Jesus’ retiring to solitude is a strikingly similar picture to that of the life scrap exhibited by Dr. Wayne Dyer in I Can See Clearly Now. It also elucidates the importance of silence and contemplation.   
 
Image Courtesy: Google
By the act of using Jesus as an example, Steven K. Scott also briefs us on the significance of the ways Jesus elected in order to build his ministry, a movement that is alive and teaming with possibilities, even after two thousand years of its establishment.

In The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, Mr. Scott invites his readers to understand the difference between a purpose driven life and a mission accomplished life. According to Mr. Scott, Jesus lived a “mission-accomplished life”. However, unlike Dr. Dyer, Steven K. Scott prioritizes the physical accomplishment of a mission or purpose, in position or wealth rather than a spiritual one. In Dyer, “mission-accomplished life” is a direct result of undertaking affirmations and not the physicality of achievement as we see in Steven K. Scott. Although I cannot say which method is more effective and practical, I could surely see the ingenuity of both these men in their respective works.

Ruling out the possibility of religious preaching, Steven K. Scott declares, “I’m not talking about religion or a religious experience, I’m talking about a relationship—entering into a committed union with God through Jesus, God’s Son” (329-30). The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived promises lessons from the life of Jesus, the greatest man who ever lived. It also prescribes communication techniques that are useful in daily affairs and in uniquely urgent contexts to reap successful results. The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived contains effective communication strategies for couples that can ease out any of the difficult circumstances that occur in families.

Most of the focus of The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived is rendered upon communication strategies, planning and mapping our visions for future, goals and how one can easily find the Right Way by following the ‘strategies’ employed by Jesus, one of the greatest teachers ever lived. Seventeen chapters delineate the principles that Steven K. Scott finds useful in order to achieve extraordinary success on a material level. However, the final six chapters are dedicated entirely to suggest that there is something beyond the mere physical realm of existence and success.
Image Courtesy: Akiane Kramarik

“Chapter-16” is a direct address on the subject of who Jesus is and why would someone Believe in him. In the process, he uses examples from the great book written by C. S. Lewis, titled Mere Christianity. It is in this chapter that Mr. Scott attempts to justify the basis of all his arguments. Although he has been elucidating “secrets for unparalleled success from the life of Jesus”, not once does he mention the credibility of Jesus in the beginning of the book. One might find in the earlier chapters the promises Jesus made, and the missions he accomplishes, but never a solid argument for the fact that he is the Messiah, up until Chapter-16. In The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, Chapter-16 serves as a platform for the coming together of several historic arguments for and against the truth about Jesus’ claims. In Chapter-16, Steven K. Scott underscores that Jesus is who he claimed to be. Although the examples of success, he enumerates are almost always financial and physical, there are priceless pearls of wisdom—on communication soft skills, on Agape love (unconditional love with God at its centre) and positively clear analyses of what Believing means—that one can take home from The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

WHAT YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE THOUGHT OF MALALA YOUSAFZAI: The High Art of Blogging

The constant music of waves and the lull of the sea-wind make the best combo for a beautiful day. Suppose you really had a very enjoyable day on a beach. And you wish you may never forget the joy and peace you experienced.

Is there a way one can extent the moments of inexplicable joy and harmony on a daily basis? One of my friends said, yes; write it down. By writing about those moments in a diary or a personal journal, we are keeping those moments registered, first hand, in words that can be read again, so we could feel the excitement of those moments, living in our memory.

What if you could double that joy by sharing your experience with someone else? or if you could share your experience to more than one individual at a time. Isn’t this a good proposition?

Some of our experiences are longer than a tweet or deeper than a Facebook status emoticon. Blogging is different. It is the next step. Yes, indeed, this early bird in social media networking still works and has a space of its own in our culture. Blogging came to existence even before the first tweets were heard. Then, for some time the world forgot about what this tool is capable of.
 
When individuals wanted to communicate more and with longer vocabulary, blogs came up to popularity again. More than revolutionizing social media networking, blogs became the very seed for revolutions across the world. Malala Yousafzai, the girl who took bullets from Taliban, was a blogger.           

It is true, in my view, that Twitter, Facebook, and many similar portals revolutionized internet communication. Blogs did not belong in this region at all. Although some bloggers use Facebook, Linked in and other media outlets as their blogging platforms, these outlets are temporary fixes. You will find more on these below. Real blogs are still running well along with free blogging platforms such as blogger.com and wordpress.com. One of the fundamentals of blogging is to share and be shared. At the heart of this theme lies the same desire that drives millions of people travel around the world, dig deeper in their surroundings, meet people, play football, act in movies, or write books. It’s the archetype of the Holy Communion that is at work here, at a very subjective level. The desire is to be connected with the ‘Other’.

What is it that we feel under the graceful presence of this communication? What joy does it give us!

In our century, the social animal has an array of options to get in touch with others. However, the mode of this interaction and the involvement of the person in it depend on the medium. Blogging provides a very personal way of communicating to the world one’s deeply cherished thoughts, and emotionally moving anecdotes by keeping a distance that appears almost impersonal at the same time. This paradox makes blogging all the more impressive and full of hope. A blog could act as a daily, weekly, or monthly publishing outlet for the individual. Due to the vastness of the space available for updating data, in various websites that offer free blogging spaces what is personal can really achieve beyond what a personal tweet can’t. Often. A very good example comes to my mind. Author Paulo Coelho’s webpage is not much popular compared to his blog. Well, he owns the server that hosts his blog; however, millions visit the blog, every week, if not every day.

The category of information shared on blogs varies a great deal. Content is not the Ultimate Selling Point for blogs. What makes a blog visible in Google and other search engines is the number of relevant hits it has received. In order to attract more traffic to one’s blog three important rules will help. I would like to share these three important rules here, for any newbie or experienced blogger who is looking for a way to increase one’s page views. I call this golden rule, The Rule of Three Cs.
….
An Excerpt from UNCLASSIFIED INTELLIGENCE: August-September, 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

3 BEST LESSONS YOU SHOULDN’T MISS WHILE GROUP WORK

#Celebrateblogging: THE LESSONS-4

Image Courtesy: Google
Tap HERE for the previous post 
Once I mended my friction with that team member over some issue with previous communication between us, she gave me some valuable feedback on the chapter I wrote. I accepted them and made some alterations with the chapter. Those suggestions were crucial and reminded me of the great lesson that there is genius in every individual and that we must acknowledge them instead of ignoring their presence. Every living on non-living entity is placed there to direct us into the direction of Peak Consciousness. And all of them have a spirit compelling them each moment of their existence to follow the path of their interconnected destinies, serving and being served at the same time.

From that point onwards, I decided to consider various suggestions that came from others in the team on how to modify chapters. Although some suggestions still appeared subjective, I benefited immensely from their opinions on a different level. It’s very important, as a writer, to know what other people think when they read a story. These inputs will help us enormously to write better for a specific category of people.

I realized one more thing: the number of page views received for the first chapter that I wrote without posting it to the Facebook group, unlike what others did, was way more than the ones I received for the later chapters I wrote in the same series.

I posted two more chapters. The page views I received for the two of those chapters combined wasn’t even close to what I had received for the first chapter.

This meant that my suggestion to post the chapters we write directly to our blogs did work tremendously in improvising blog-statistics. However, it remains an unacknowledged reality still among my team members at Kalakar Colony.

Image Courtesy: wikimedia.org
None of them could accept the thought that posting directly to our blogs, instead of wearing ourselves off in a secret Facebook Group discussion, could bring us all fascinating results. No one accepted the suggestion to utilize the flexibility of blogging to edit and rewrite. Until the end of the #CelebrateBlogging contest, in which everyone is a winner, Kalakar Colony edited and reworked their chapters in their Facebook Group and kept their blog ‘neat’ and ‘quiet’ losing out on those hundreds of page views they could have amassed otherwise. The lesson in this experience? We must listen hard when there is too much noise.   

Even though at times, I felt I might not be able to feel comfortable with several decisions my team members made I held on to the image of a student in my mind. I was a student of life. Learning and educating my consciousness on the nuances and ramifications of human behavior.

I learned my lessons in this short-term crash course in ‘group effort’, for sure. In addition, I was able to guide my own team while in the time of a severe dispute between the Point of Contact and one of the team members. This I consider as one of the tests I had to go through if I needed a passing grade to be promoted to the next level of personal growth.

The dispute was about how one of the team members felt she was mistreated by the Point of Contact. The team member shared her annoyance with the team’s Point of Contact. However, their communications at one point lost the transparency they should have kept being the participants of a ‘team effort’. One of them excluded the other from a group mail sent to the whole team. I sensed a very violent outcome for such a behavior.

Something must be done to mend things, I thought. That was the right time for me to interfere to let the team members know that there was yet another way things could be settled—the way of friendship, of honor, of love. Although some members still felt uncomfortable with this new way of looking at life’s conflicts, our team, Kalakar Colony wounded up the contest in peace and relative harmony.

Image Courtesy: Google
By the way, the Facebook Group still functions and I would surely post the link to this article on the status bar there, as I have been doing for the previous part of this series. There is one feeling that all of us team members experienced while in the contest and perhaps, even now—fulfillment. Every one of us is born with the ability to create. But to create a specific and meaningful work is immensely fulfilling and truly Divine. That is where the reward for the Kalakar (artist) comes from.  

Each of us in group Kalakar Colony, feel especially thankful to Blogadda.com for providing this opportunity to strive toward an artistic goal, together, with all these wonderful, gifted and unique individuals. Although in this matter I haven’t communicated with any of my team members, I am sure they all feel the same.       

#CelebrateBlogging was a group effort. When one considers the success of this group work, one must shift one’s glance at the individuals who worked together in this project. The ultimate gain apparently, doesn’t seem to be for the group. It seems, the group work ultimately caused benefit to the individuals who took part in this contest. In my case, it helped me learn some invaluable lessons in my life.

Firstly, it was the communication problem. I learnt that when we exchange emails, try not to be too economic. Share every aspect of one’s comments and suggestions eliminating the maximum possibilities for any future conflict and hurt. Always illustrate your point with examples. Never consider that the person you are communicating with for the first time (and that too through email) will understand your casual talk. Short statements are always prone to being misunderstood as curt or arrogant statements. Never reply with a short statement in Simple Present Tense or in a fragment, with a person you write for the first time. Especially, if the language of your communication is second-language to the other person.

When I look back at the “error” that occurred while exchanging one of the group mails, I realize, I would have done it without causing future friction. In one of the group mails, we discussed a title for the team. One of the team member’s suggestions was about to be accepted when I felt that it wasn’t a very impressive title for a group. So I interfered and said that the title suggested sounds a bit amateurish.

Image Courtesy: Google
Little did I know that this comment would spark an inner fury within the team and also in the mind of the other person involved. Later, when I came to know about the hurt the person felt in relation to my comment, I immediately apologized and sincerely tried to mend things up. However, had I avoided using short statements and casual talk I would have prevented this personal conflict. The reason why we use casual talk when we meet someone new is in the hope that it would make the other person feel comfortable instantly. This might appear very helpful and reliable in one-on-ones. However, in mails and other forms of written communication, short sentences and lack of explanations can cause unprecedented damage.

My second realization was never to undermine anyone around us. There is a reason why we are among the specific people and things that are around us right now. This mystery could be explained in two possible ways. Either some Higher Power places us among them or these living and non-living entities and human beings are surrounding us because they were ordained to do so. In both cases, one definite purpose stands out. The reason and meaning in the coming together of those living and non-living entities around us, the reason for being surrounded by the people who are around us now, is simply this—they are there to help us achieve what I call Peak Consciousness.

I also learnt through this experience that my growth as a writer lies beyond my ego. I overcame the prodding of my ego to be the one and only decision maker in my writing life. I went beyond my usual editing process, in which I go through the three of my familiar editors. Throughout #Celebrateblogging, in the process of opening myself up to new possibilities, I learnt lessons I would never have learnt otherwise. The suggestions helped me to improvise the story, to present it, as ‘they want it’. In addition, it helped me to practice the invaluable lesson of creative tolerance by being open to suggestions of relatively unfamiliar people.  
Image Courtesy: Google

The name we gave our mystery story was “The Circle of Deceit”. Contrary to what the name indicates, the game of blogs did not betray us. There were lessons, but of an intimately personal kind that I learnt.   

Thirdly, I learnt that everything we do in order to restore peace and harmony among others would become a spiritual act. When I interfered into the personal conflict between two of my team members, I was actually undertaking a spiritual task, dependent on my limited understanding of how to use love, respect, and honor to bring about great change.
__This Concludes Here__

Thank you for taking this course through my personal life.


Chapter-1                                  Chapter-2                                                          Chapter-3
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