Straight Angle™: September 2004
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
What do you think a lecturer's mode of teaching in a POst-Graduate course like MBA?....Last saturday we here in TAPMI had our annual Industry Interface day. It's theme was "Nurturing today's MBAs to meet India's needs tomorrow''. Around 20 CEO's and HR heads of corporates like Titan Industries, Wipro ,Widia India Limited, TVS Electronics, HP, Daimler Chrysler etc have come. They were divided into three panels and each were given around 1.5 hours for a discussion on the topic and come up with suggestions. Though all the three panels were quite good, I liked the problem identification model and the process of the third panel. They came up with the pecualiar problem with the current MBA Curriculum- the Case method of Study. Adopted and popularised by the Harvard Business School, Case method of pedagogy is perhaps the most widley used methodology in most top-notch institutions. But one of the obvious requirements of a MBA course and a manager is to predict the future with a reasonable accuracy and strategise for it. But the case method as rightly pointed out in the discussion is like "Driving the car looking at the rear-view mirror, whereas what's required is to drive looking at the front". Case method fails in this, as it is essentialy an incident of the past(sometimes as old as 25-30 years). When the entire world is changing at a break neck speed, the pedagogy has virtually unchanged for the last 4 -5 decades. Though the cases can act as a model for problem solving, they dont give you the necessary skills for predicting or for thinking forward. They just give you a situation and ask you to respond to it. The inherent and incorrect assumption being that the conditions hadnt changed from the happening of the incident till date. When you need to manage at the speed of light, you end up thinking at the speed of decade old truck.Also, many cases (infact most) are HBS cases, which deal only with american situations, whereas Indian situtation is completely different.
What the panel suggested was a model for Forward looking pedagogy. One suggestion was to have a Scenario building type of pedagogy, wherein you prepare students by making them look front- look into future and take decisions. How to make this happen is a very tricky question-certain issues involved here are (these are my own concerns)
These are just initial thoughts. It might take time to build, but once it is built, it would possibly change the way MBA is taught in B-Schools.
That apart, currently I have just (literally just) laid my hands on Clayton M. Christensen's Innovator's Dilemma. Iam yet to go through the book. I will for sure post some titbits about the book. The reviews it had got till now are making me quite excited about the book. Lemme see.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Women in Tamil Newspapers -I was browsing through the pages when I came across this article...This is very sad and demeaning indeed....I didn't expect Dinamalar to stoop to this level..as my last posts testify, I had grown reading it...But if Dinamalar can use this sort of derogatory language, it is very unfortunate and it had to be condemned in the strongest possible way....The mere allegation that one has done something wrong doesn't make her a criminal and this sort of character assassination is worst reporting and this don't go with the image I would get when I read certain newspaper....In my opinion it started with DinaThanthi....It started the verbiage of Azaghi....meaning Prostitute...after this that beautiful word has got a different connotation itself....I had always thought it is only Dhinathanthi that does this...if this cancer is spreading to other newspaper also, it has to be nipped in the bud...can someone file a suit against derogatory language being used in newspaper...can courts be invoked to stop this kind of language?I think this sort of sensational reporting is not restricted to Tamil newspaper only...even in English newspaper....for example...Times of India had long ago went into the category of Tabloid in my mind..what with their front page "beautifying" attempts...but the problem is that they seldom provide any news...it is mostly gossip...I have a single consolation in this...atleast The Hindu isnt that bad...I may have idealogical differences with The Hindu..but I can proudly and boldly say Hindu provides me with News...not gossip...My neighbour used to joke about Hindu....
"Other papers report that a person is dead- when his neighbours say so, The Hindu reports it when the Vetiyan(Sorry...I dont know the English equivalent of the word) says..."
Iam digressing off..but the fact remains that this is happening and we need to do something...what can be done?....
Will letters to the editor help in these cases...or will creating awareness among people will do this?...but how to create awareness?...then too we need a media...what can be done?....I think we need to involve Women Rights Group in this to make an impact......this would be one possible solution....but this has to start from the Local level and the best way of opposing is Boycotting...
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Ofcourse that meant my monday morning blues. Iam just out of my T-Group sensitivity training and to say the least it had been one of the most stressfull stuff I have ever been through. Just to give a single instance where I felt not really bad is the game that was based on the Prisoner's Dilemma and Nash Equilibrium. In this game there were three teams and they have to play a set of decisions based on a certain pay-off table. The logic or the aim of the game was for the team to win the game by acheiving the target that was set by the team at the onset. Now there are 3 rounds in this game and the first round the teams have to play in isolation ie there is no exchange of information. But at the start of second round, the teams can meet and discuss a suitable strategy so that they can play the game.The equilibrium in the first round is a negative payoff, because no team knows what the other team is going to decide and so their individual payoff makes it imperative to choose a negative payoff..otherwise the other teams would gain at the expense of this team. But in the second round, the teams can consult and decide on choosing a particular payoff, so that all teams gain. So, when our team representative went for discussion, we know what to speak and after the discussion, we decided to change our stand because that is the only way to "win" the game....U decide along with the other team on a particular score and then select a different score-so that the other teams get a negative score..actually this is the only way a team can "Win" the game. We decided to choose a different score and the other teams felt they were betrayed..this led to a huge hue and cry from them and today the same teams were to play a game on the basis of Comparative Advantage. Now the same teams which cried then made the same mistakes and also justified that the real world is not so...how hilarious...but that is how Human mind is- isnt it?...This course made me understand many facets of men and their thoughts...more about that in piecemeal way...
Sunday, September 19, 2004
There was a time (when I was in my school) when I used to do anything for the supplement that comes along with newspapers. Then I was living in Neyveli and there used to be a single shop near our home that sells newspapers. My father though an avid reader, surprisingly is not a newspaper reader. I have rarely seen him with a newspaper and as such we did not have the habit of getting the newspapers daily. But our neighbour (for 16 years) is a newspaper freak. I largely owe my knowledge of English and worldwide to him& The Hindu. He reads English newspaper (read The Hindu) and there was virtually no other English newspaper at that time….. (ofcourse Indian Express was there….but you know….Hindu is always considered THE newspaper) But then I cannot read the entire Hindu, so he recommended Tamil Newspaper. Then DinaMalar was the most famous Tamil Newspaper (DinaThanthi was also there….but did I tell Newspaper) and was known for giving supplements every week on specific days (it continues till now). As far as my knowledge goes, they are the ones who pioneered this concept in Tamilnadu. They used to give “Siruvarmalar” on Fridays and “Vaaramalar” on Sundays. “Vaaramalar” didn’t enthuse me but Siruvarmalar did enthuse me as a child. However my father reasoned it made sense to buy it for a single day- Friday instead of buying it everyday as only I read the book and there was none to read the newspaper. It was agreed that Dinamalar would be bought every Friday. But then the problem is that the daily newspaper vendor would not agree to have a Single day customer and hence he refused to put paper on the single day. Now it fell on me that if I need the paper then I should go and buy it. I agreed.
Now my school starts at 8.30 in the morning and the newspaper comes to the stand at 5.00 in the morning. In Neyveli as in every other major industrial town, the first shift at Neyveli Lignite Corporation starts and the previous night shift ends at 6.00. So, usually there will be heavy rush in the morning hours and the first thing to get sold in the shop would be newspapers. To get the paper I had to get up atleast at 5.45 , brush up (we are not supposed to even touch Saraswathi without brushing- that was then) and virtually run to the stall to get the issue. This would not be a daily routine but would be a one day story- just on Fridays. My mother would normally wake me up and rushes me to get the paper (I will be upset if I didn’t get the paper).
The worst part is that my neighbour would be waiting at his gate (I need to cross his house to get to my house) for the paper. I have this habit of using new things myself first. I wouldn’t mind others using but only after I have used it atleast once. I want newspaper in particular fresh and neat. Even now if I had read the newspaper, none would recognize it by looking at the newspaper. There wouldn’t be any sign that I have read it. I cannot give the fresh paper to my neighbour- so I devised an alternative….how about reading the newspaper in the stall itself and come after finishing it?...got to implement that too. This continued for sometime. By this time, the stall guy and I got close and he would have a paper reserved for me on Fridays alone. Now I can go at 6.00 and still get the paper, But the problem now is that because I got up at 6.00 and read Siruvarmalar for another 1 hour, I got late to the school.
The school starts at 8.30 and got to read the lessons daily. Had on many occasions read Siruvarmalar inside the school book. One particular instance even coiled the bed around me and read the magazine. The beds used to be rolled and put in another room – you go to that room, coil yourself into the bed and viola- no one can find you. That day there was a real halla-bolla in the house over missing son. Had only they known I was inside the bed!!!!!. After that I never got a chance to really try that again.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
For the past 8 shifts, the internal combustion engine of my body has been malfunctioning. The output efficiency has reduced drastically. The solid fuel intake has practically come to a halt and there is only liquid fuel intake. The exhaust system has been highly unpredictable in the beginning with erratic outputs at unjustifiable instances- all these when my external performance & maintenance check is going on- End Term Exams. There is 1 more test scheduled for tomorrow and the exhaust problem isn't showing any sign of abating. Yesterday it showed some signs of getting under control, but today morning it again went back to its initial state. The exhaust's viscosity index has got really low- near zero for the last three days and today it got a bit better. Just today went for external expert inspection and it seems he is ready with solution even before I tell him the problem. Hope it gets well soon. Otherwise, I will have to pay in terms of grades.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Today some interesting thing happened..Today is my usual monthly Fast(Prathosham..as it is called).So will complete the fast going to the temple and taking the Prasatham as the fast-break. So I was waiting to go to the temple, when one of our friends, (Tamilian and my very distant relative..by chance, as also our batch topper by Kms difference) asked whether he would come. Agreed to go together and so he went to get his scotterete.There is a bit upward slope in front of out Hostel Garage- so I thought I would get in the scotter once he crosses the slope coz I thought the vehicle wouldnt take two at once. But I had already storde the vehicle when I told this..I think he didnt hear what I told. He shoud have thought I have taken my seat in the pillion and hence he started with full speed- and Went...I shouted at him, clapped as hard as I can but to no avil. So, I started walking, all the way expecting a surprised guy coming back searching for me. With all these wishull thinking I reached the temple. Till then he hadnt come searching for me as I expected. But still I expected him to stand at the gate of the temple so we both would enter the temple together.But he wasnt there at the gate too. I was a bit surprised. I searched for his scotter and there it was at one end. Satisfied he is in the temple, I started the usual rounds- that we do whenever we come to the temple all the way praying. Then I thougt atleast he would wait for me in the entrance of the main deity. He wasnt there too.I lost all hope of finding him. Then he was there sitting at the prakaram. I thought he would open the dialogue asking what happened...why I didnt get onto the vehicle...He didnt ask...not only that, he behaved as if nothing had happened....I dont understand this behaviour. U ask a person where he is going, ask him to wait for U and then tells him to get with U in ur Scotter and for some reason(here the fault of not getting into the scotter might be mine too- I should have made it clear to him or atleast made sure he heard what I spoke) but still, when I see that the man supposed to be with me in the back is not there I would atleast come back and see what happened to him..I think that is the normal courtesy to show anyone whom I consider friend. This behaviour I dont understand. I didnt show there was something to be worried about.I just was as if nothing had happened and came back from the temple. What can be told about these people? There might be problems with me too. I might be expecting too much...but I think I can expect atleast an enquiry from a person whom I consider friend. More than his leaving me, his indifference is what hurts me most...I dont know whether I should change myself and stop expecting things from people..May be I should do it...But then wouldnt I become the enlightened one....Am I fit to be one as yet?
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Amma had called yesterday.She was telling how the Pavazhamalli has started flowering. I planted it, when we came to the new house. I am simply crazy (this is a bit heavy word, but still I am unable to find a better one) over that flower, its shape, it s color, fragrance...everything. Its pure unblemished white color with a saffronish steam is unique and the softness of its petals are incomparable. There are references in out epics too-it was called "Paarijatham" -remember the flower for which Dhrowpathi sends Bheema to Indraloaka...The flower has a peculiarity of flowering in the evening or Nightfall, when the moon raises. The fragrance it sprays in the cool breeze is irresistible. I have planted it in the front courtyard of our house and to just sit there in a folding chair (easy chair as it is called) in an evening enjoying the scent of the flower along with a Bharathi or Thiruvika would be next best thing to Heaven..That would enchant me beyond words...I have always dreamt of such an experience...but to my disappointment, the first 4 or 5 saplings never saw the light of the day. Frustrated, I planted the current one with a faint hope...But it survived...started budding growing.. it grew to around 5 -6 feet and then there was a heavy pest infestation...but by that time I have come outta my house for my engineering...but all these time it never flowered...There was no fragrance....not even a single flower...even when I was doing my engineering, I never failed to nurture it whenever I come home for vacations..Whenever I called home Pavazhamalli never forgot a mention...but always a negative one...it has not flowered...I lost hope but never the faith...
Yesterday when she called I could sense something different in her voice. There was a tinge of excitement in her voice. After the initial ju-ju talk, the first news she spoke was this. It has started flowering and flowers in bunches. I was pleasantly surprised...
But in retrospect, it seems I have always got what I yearn for only after my yearning has died down..I had rarely enjoyed the momentary bliss u get when U get what u want when u want it...It had mostly been an after thought achievement of a helpless person...I might be wrong..but this is what I feel...this would only be a momentary thought but then I have seen it happen time and again...when I detach myself from my desires, they just fall onto my lap. This has happened many times- be it the first job or the Scholarships or the Summers. I dont know what to infer from this....
Friday, September 10, 2004
What is the purpose of Gmail?.This question has become even more serious with more and more of my friends questioning my need to go for yet another new mail id which supposedly gives equal if not more space as Rediff gives(which incidentally I have) and which requires some one to introduce...I think this caveat of Introducing makes it what it is...Had Google opened the flood gates to all then there wouldnt have been this hype about the entire issue..So, is this just a publicity stunt by Google...What would be the implications of such a practice on the other products of Google? It has been a status symbol...This remainds me of the age old days when my father's generation used to wait for 2 years for a coveted scotter made by Bajaj..without any idea of when their prize will come..The current day capitalists who cant imagine that situation are seen TOngue-over Cheeks for the Google Mail ids....What does this signify?
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Feeling very happy today...Our INBM endterm got over...hadnt performed very well.There wasnt enough time to complete the paper.One stupid goof up was me forgetting the Michael's Competitive Advantage. I just couldnt recall a single info regarding the model.Missed two questions.lack of time...Lost my braclet...Got my Brand Assignment-Low grades- would be somewhere between C and C-...Poor indeed.Very happy day till this moment. Only thing that went good today was my lunch and a small nap afternoon. My morning dawned with late waking up...I thought I will wake up at 5.00 and read the WTO, GATT. etc... But slept thru the night till 7.30....Didnt give even a glance let alone read...then went for the Brand Class...the class got cancelled...then miscalculated time and went to the Exam too early...by around 1 year.... Doent know where will all these lead me to...But at the end of the day got really happy...Sin has got placed...Good news.She has to throw a party soon..
Are you ready to take the TOTFL (Test of Tamil as a Foreign Language)?
1) What do you do with a Gujili?
2) What is a Jujubi ?
a) Something sweet
b) An easy one
c) A tough one
d) An Alwaa
3) What is Alwaa?
a) Something you find in Tirunelveli
b) What a girlfriend gives when she marries someone else
c) A laddu
4) What is the respectful way to address a friend?
c) By name
5) Who is a 'Frooti' ?
a) A studious person
b) A sportsman
c) The professor
d) A soft drink
6) When someone says 'nambitten', what do they mean?
a) I don't believe you!
b) Sure, I believe you
c) Are you nuts??
d) I have to catch a bus
7) Who or what is Peter?
a) A tourist
b) Someone who talks only in English
c) Peter Jones
d) Your teacher
8) For which of the following events will you say 'Gumbaloda
a) When you go to Tirupati as a group
b) When the entire gang has been caught watching 'matter'-padam
c) When you do group studies
d) Meeting a Hindi actor
9) What is a 'rupture'?
10) When Someone refering to a woman as 'Seriyana Kattai' ?
a) she is genius
b) she is lean
c) she had looted all guys eyes...
d) she wears wooden chappals.
1 - a
2 - b
3 - b
4 - a
5 - a
6 - a
7 - b
8 - b
9 - c
10 - c
If you have scored more than 7 marks , Kalakitta maams...
-----Refer the following Dictionary Of Madras Tamilu to pass in this TOTFL Exam-----
Allwa - To cheat
Aatha - Mother
Abase - Loot adiththal
Alppam - A silly/cheap dude
Anna - The elder brother
Anni - Anna's figure
Appeettu - Unsuccessful
Asaththal - Kalakkal
Bajari - A not-so-friendly figure
Bandha - Pillim
Bekku - Fool
Body - Muscular Machi
Chithee - Aunty Figure
Dapsa/Doop - Lie
Desi Gujili - An Indian figure in US
Dhil - Courage
Dhool - Super
Dham - To smoke
Daavu - Site seeing
Dickielona - A friendly game played in Delhi (courtesy Movie: Gentleman)
Damaram - Deaf
Dori - Squint-eyed Figure item - Young/Attractive Lady/Women/Girl
Freeyaavidu - Forget it
Gaali - Appeettu
Gujili - Figure
Guru - Head of the gang
Gujaals - Having fun with Gujilis
Gaanapaattu - Rap song sung by Machis
Galeej - Dirty
Gilli, Goli - Traditional games played in Madras
Goltti - A dude from Andhra
Jakku - An exclamation on seeing a not-so-Takkar figure (see Jil below)
Jollu - Bird watching
Jilpaans - Gujaals
Jute - Escape when caught up by girlfriend's father.
Jujubi - Easy
Jil - An exclamation on seeing a Takkar figure
Jalsa - Same as Gujaals
Kaattaan - Uncivilized/ Rude Machi
Kenai - Idiot
Kikku / Mabbu - Intoxicated/under influence
Kalakkalls - To cause a flutter
Kanai pakri - Friend of ushar pakri
Kindal - To make Fun
Kaka adikarathu - Putting soaps to someone
K M L - Kedacha Mattum Labam
Kutti - Figure
Kudumba figure - Homeloving Gujli
Kudumba paatu - A song with which machis identify themselves
Kulls - A short machi
Laddu - Allva
Loot adiththal - to steal
Maams - One cool dude
Maanga - Fool
Machi - Maams
Mandai - A sharp guy
Mary - feminine of Peter
Mavu - refer O B.
Nachunu - Bull's eye
Nambitten - I don't believe you
Naattu Kattai - A well-built village figure
Naattan - Villager
Naamam - To cheat
Naina - Father (courtesy Telugu)
Kadalai - Machi talking to a Gujili or vice versa
OB - To waste time
Ottal - To make fun of some one
Ondrai anna - Worthless
Pattaani - Machi talking to Machi or Gujli talking to Gujli
Peter Party - Machi trying to show off by talking in hi-fi english
Pathni - A figure who goes around the block
Pakkri - A shrewd dude
Petta - Area
Pisaaththu - Cheap
Pillim - Show-off
Peela - To lie
Rambo - A manly figure
Sister - Often used by Machis while Approching Figures for the first time
Songi - Lazy
Saanthu pottu - Possibility of getting beaten by a stick (courtesy Movie: Thevar Magan)
Takkar figure - Semma figure
Thanni - Liquor
Thalaivar - Leader
Tin katrathu - Getting into trouble (courtesy Movie: Anjali)
Ushar pakri - Smart pakri
Vennai - Fruit
Weightaana figure - A very attractive/rich figure
Wrong kaatrathu - Acting indifferently
Here are the top nine comments made by NBC sports commentators so far during the Olympics that they would like to take back:
1. Weightlifting commentator: "This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning during her warm up and it was amazing."
2. Dressage commentator: "This is really a lovely horse and I speak from personal experience since I once mounted her mother."
3. Paul Hamm, Gymnast: "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father."
4. Boxing Analyst: "Sure there have been injuries, and even some deaths in boxing, but none of them really that serious."
5. Softball announcer: "If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again."
6. Basketball analyst: "He dribbles a lot and the opposition doesn't like it. In fact you can see it all over their faces."
7. At the rowing medal ceremony: "Ah, isn't that nice, the wife of the IOC president is hugging the cox of the British crew."
8. Soccer commentator: "Julian Dicks is everywhere. It's like they've got eleven Dicks on the field."
9. Tennis commentator: "One of the reasons Andy is playing so well is that, before the final round, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them... Oh my God, what have I just said?"
Sunday, September 05, 2004
After a long time(!!!) (exactly two days) I am comig to the blogdom. Though in real sense it doesnt make a great difference, I found it to be a long time as I was constantly remainded of me not blogging. I tried to get the posts across mail but then I didnt get time to sit down and write some thing. But that things apart, I have got some interesting things to share.
1. There was a speech by Mr. Sauvik Chakraverti on Liberal- Political Economy. It was a refreshing speech but I found it difficult to agree with some of his prescriptions...
I dont understand how these things can be done... Why dont you provide all the amenities in the villages itself and make the villages a town or a city?. Why should you encourage people to migrate to cities and strain the already virtual facilities in the cities?
When I googled for his name - know what came first?....Check this out... Would this be true?. How can a person of such a stature be like this?. Now Iam even more confused... Should I take this guy's speech seriously and think over it or should I just ignore him...But would it be correct to ignore a person just because he has done some thing which I cannot prove?. What if he hadnt done these things...then I will be loosing out something..Isnt it? What if I take him serious...What can I do...The best I can do is to change my Idealogy...What is the use of it?Nothing great.....so it is as good as ignoring....when given two equally useless choices....what difference would it make to pursue a choice of one's interest? Iam not a liberal- as he would call it...but I can agree with many of his arguments....but not all...
Friday, September 03, 2004
Finally we have got our International assignment Grades- We have got a "A"- whew this is great..... The Prof, even though not agreeing with our conclusion couldnt find any fault with our argument and he had specifically written this- "Though I couldnt agree with your conclusion, the arguments that support your decision is plausible and the grade is for the argument and not for the decision"That apart, I have also proposed to do a paper on "Self-Organising Groups" as a Joint paper along with a Faculty. Need to prepare for that and work on it.. Got some research material on the topic googled yet there are miles to go... This paper would be completely inspired by the book"Emergence"- Steven Johnson. I will be working on the basic model proposed by him and would be considering the assumptions he had made about the Human Groupings in a more realistic sense- if that is possible. Though I have a rough idea of what I want to do in this, I still havent boiled down to one particular dimension that I would concentrate on for the paper. I would have to consulte with Mr.Sankaran about this, coz he is the one who recommended me the book- so he might be in a position to throw more light or atleast he might be able to give a different prespective. I need it coz I am yet to complete the book.....This make me thing at this moment whether I am that sort of person who take quick decisions..may be even without thinking twice....may be Iam so....
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Today would be one of the most sickening days I can have. I have classes scheduled for the entire day till 6.20 PM starting from 9.00 AM. There has been no dearth for work and there has been no dearth of fun either...but that fun inivariably starts in the hostel after 12.oo midnight, when almost everyone would be back from institute....except those real funny guys who would love to toil away in the library or find refuge in the A/C of the computer centre..Then stars the real fun... songs...movies....bhakar... n wot not...
In the last three days alone, I have seen atleast 4 movies- Pulp Fiction(E), Vadaakkunookkunna Yendram(M), From Dusk till Dawn(E), and Phir Milenge(H)....the count continues...Will post bout this later...now feeling bored.....
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Finally we have submitted(Resubmitted) our Interanational Business Assignment. Somebody from MRF - if you come across this report, please acknowledge us for the Insights we have given in this report. This will make your life much simpler. Event Management Committee work is catchingsteam and I am getting royally steamed in the heat. But even then this is getting nice. Day before yesterday we went for the first EMC dinner. That was fine....these junie guys arent eating man. The entire bill came to just Rs.600. This after 6 have had dinner in one of the costliest hotels here, where a mere Tomato soup costs somewhere Rs.52. I dont know whether they stayed so becuase of some non-existent decency or is it that they really dont eat that much I dont know.. But if somebody is giving a treat that too not a formal one, then it had been a practice to shove his wallet off. But I dont have anything to complain. My wallet was spared...
Today we had another meeting with both the Brandscan Convenor regarding the events to be conducted and the related stuff. That went on for around 2 hours and then we had a meeting amongst us...another 11/2 hours...that eventually sealed off my hopes to make some calls... to my parents and my friends too.... god forbid I will call t'm tomorrow...
Jus been visits
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