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Not to Worry!!!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

To my dear friend Nita,Ann and others. These blogs were just a trip down memory lane---not so sweet but not too bad either!!!
I have been TOTALLY cleared by the Doctors for the next six months---just Sudhir's getting jittery makes me go off---I don't see his reasons for worrying so much---specially when it ain't needed!!!That's when he thinks I'm too insensitive to his side of the story----I'm not---I was the sick one after all---and I'm supposed to sympathise with his jitters!!!His attitude gets my goat---and I vent off this way!!!
Sorry if I scared you guys---thanks for all the love and concern!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ATMANI 2/6/2010 9:25PM

    emoticon

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ZANNACHAN 2/6/2010 11:42AM

    I'm glad that you're all right! Sudhir's just worried because you scared him--it's understandable. *Hugs*

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LISANANCY 2/6/2010 9:06AM

    Just so you are back, that's what counts emoticon

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Cancer----2006

Friday, February 05, 2010

God always gives me the warning of the future ailments---each time I ignore His message----till it actually hits me those many years later!!!
In 1975 I had a an infection in my Lymph Glands---in the neck on the right side.The Doctors suggested a biopsy--- during which the Surgeon removed quite a few infected large lumps----and these were sent to Tata Memorial hospital for Histology Tests.I had just lost my father 3-4 months earlier and this was a shock to all of us and the result was fearfully awaited.As expected the result showed no Carcinoma---Atya(my Ma-in-Law) celebrated by distributing 5 kg.s of Pedhas(solidified Milk Sweets) in the Temples as thanksgiving offerings to all the Dieties----a big disaster had been averted!!!
After this I typically forgot all about it---I was busy being a so-so Mother but a very good wife till November 2006-----31 years later.In November 2006 we saw the advertisement for Diabetic Care Mediclaim---they were giving this Insurance to existing Diabetics---hitherto not available in India.Sudhir immediately contacted them and we were met by their Representative at our home one evening---within a week.The only requirement was being tested by the Doctors on their panel for the Insurance to be granted.
They scheduled an appointment with their GP and I went to visit her.While taking my ECG she noticed a lump in my right Breast and advised a Mammography---which confirmed the diagnosis of Cancer. My nephew Dr.Mandar Nadkarni was attached to the Tata memorial Hospital and we went to see him.He suggested an immediate operation and performed a Lumpectomy---I had Invasive Duct Carcinoma---- removing 17 lymph nodes in my right armpit and a chunk from my Right Breast. The examination showed 10 infected nodes,2 on the verge of infection and the rest were okay.The verdict was Toxic Chemotherapy---8 cycles three weeks apart.The first cycle took place on 26th.December 2006 and the last on 23rd.May 2007-----after which I underwent 25 cycles of Radiation and the 6 cycles of heavy Radiation----all at Tata's.
I have to thank Mandar for handling Sudhir----Mandar didn't beat about the bush nor did he dramatise it----he just presented it the way it was---nothing less nothing more---very precise!!!
The whole process was terribly painful---but my stiff upper lip got me through.I have a switch in my brain---when I decide that I HAVE to pass this period without blinking---the switch switches itself off---and The Almighty puts His Hand on my head---I just sail through it all after that!!!My daughters----specially Sayali---- were aghast that I'd ignored something so vital---a regular Mammography and Pap Smear Test----my grand-daughter in tears because I had to put with all those "Chemicals" in my body----the rest of my family---Mother,sisters,sisters-in-law----
--were all in a state of shock and disbelief----I looked so strong and SOLID!!!
I enjoyed every minute of my days during that period----I was on a high Protein Diet---and on Steroids as well---so I ate everything specially Alphonso Mangoes to my heart's content!!!I danced at my nephew---Nikhil's Wedding---all with my wig on----I looked like those old Indian heroines of yester years in those Mythological films---no eyebrows just a thin pencilled line--- and no lashes!!!I had no taste in my mouth---I could drink the sour Lemon Juice by itself without blinking---but I ate a bit of everthing at both the Wedding Feast and the Reception.My only regret during that period? That I could not perform the religious rites at his wedding---he wanted us to officiate----but the Doctors said a firm"No". Then in late April I discarded the wig---too hot and itchy---couldn't scratch my scalp at all!For 10 days after my Chemo I'd be out of circulation---the remaining 20 days I'd live it up---people stared at my bald Pate wherever I went---I pretended I was Persis Khambatta in "Star TreK"!!!
I realised how lucky I had been---I at least had lived my life till this age----there were Children and tiny Babies who were suffering----without complaint!!!During this period I saw Children and Babies at the Hospital being so cheerful---despite all their discomfort their faces were always smiling and so cheerful----it was a lesson in courage to see them!!!Some were to have Radiation at 9 or 10A.M. every morning---for this they had to be fed at least at 5.30 or 6 a.m. in the early morning---I never saw anyone of them complain---- they were cheerfully resigned to their fate of the moment!!! I felt they taught me a lesson--one I really needed to learn---a very precious one----Life is for living!!!Facing it with Courage and Fortitude---that's the best way to face the World!!!

  
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LISANANCY 2/5/2010 3:59PM

    Your brave spirit is an inspiration to us all. We learn courage from your struggle. I am glad you are better. The world is better because you are in it. emoticon

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SRITHI97 2/5/2010 2:43PM

    Really Amazing, i cant explain the feeling i am having right now after reading your blog. truly amazing. Hat's off to you. Really I don't have any Words. Three cheers for your positive attitude. you are truly an inspiration. emoticon emoticon

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RAJASHREE108 2/5/2010 2:18PM

    Thank you for such an inspiring blog. You have a wonderful courageous attitude. emoticon

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SAASHA17 2/5/2010 12:06PM

    Komal,

As i said it before and will always say---U are an amazing woman.. A true Rock!! Proud of u....U amaze me every single time I get to know u....

Take care
love
Manasa

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EACHDAYAGIFT 2/5/2010 11:58AM

    Komal,you've been through so much. My friend Judy was featured in Marlo Thomas's book , "The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume Two". Her contribution of the words she lives by: When faced with painful circumstances, you have a choice. You can become bitter or better. She chose Better, and has gone on to inspire, teach and comfort countless other abuse survivors in her life. I think you have done the same. Chosen to let adversity make you a better person.

I am a little concerned. You blogged the other day about a doctor appointment, then have been relating things about your health from the past. Did you get good or bad news at the doctor? I'm sure all of your spark friends are concerned for you and would also want to know.
emoticon
Ann

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ZANNACHAN 2/5/2010 11:20AM

    "Facing it with Courage and Fortitude---that's the best way to face the World!!!" Definitely! Though easier said than done, sometimes--good for you, to have not just survived cancer but to have faced it with your chin up and with a smile.

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ATMANI 2/5/2010 9:43AM

    "Facing it with Courage and Fortitude---that's the best way to face the World!!!" -- Very well said, Komal.

Indeed we never know how the Almighty works -- switching off the 'brain switch' and 'learning precious lessons through children.'

Wow Komal, you have summarized your ordeal in a beautiful and positive way. Hats off to you.



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NATTIEGAL82 2/5/2010 7:26AM

    Wow Komal..i have no words...! just WOW! God bless

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GUIDERWKM 2/5/2010 6:51AM

    What an amazng story - tears dripping onto the keyboard as I type. God bless to you and your family!

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SONPARI1 2/5/2010 5:12AM

    You really are a brave woman Komal, it takes a lot of courage to be someone like you. You inspire me..

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Angina

Thursday, February 04, 2010

My first brush with Angina came when I was just 24 years old-----one fine day I just fainted----out of the blue---and the ECG revealed that I had an Angina problem----I was supposed to take things easy!!!
Now picture this---if a person who weighed 52 kgs. bloats to 70 Kgs in a space of three years---the extra weight is bound to make a difference.The archaic ECG machines of the time were not very accurate either---but the diagnosis was Angina---and that was that.Then began a period which lasted for three months----I was badly scared and didn't want to die-----my daughters were just babies!!!Earlier I'd merrily play "Tabla" (Indian Percussion Instrument)while spanking them on their bums-----now I'd kiss them"Good Night" and cuddle and coddle them all the time-----each day wondering whether I'd be there the next morning or not to see them again!!!
Our Family Doctor was also a Heart Specialist---he put me on a strict diet----boiled Food, Skimmed Milk,plenty of Salads----the tasteless cycle began-----it was terribly difficult for me to stick to this Diet---I lived to EAT!!!Sudhir was pretty supportive and Atya( my Ma-in-Law) arranged for a 24 hour domestic help named Tulsi Bai who'd live with us and do the cooking as well.This lady was an expert in making fabulous "Koshimbirs"(Salads) and so I went on a diet.I also had a part time domestic help named Bhagirathi who had been with us for 3 years.She was one of my staunch supporters-----she couldn't stand anyone talking ill of me.
Now Tulsi Bai was in the habit of complaining long and loud about everything and anything all the time.She had worked with her previous employers for 30 years and because their son had taken them to the USA permanently to stay with him she'd had to take up this job.This loss of familiar surroundings had put her nose out of joint.I ignored her because I felt I needed her---she was a fabulous Cook---she looked after my children well---so ignoring her complaints was the best thing to do----very practical!!!!
One day I was a bit under the weather---I used to be constantly starved and hungry---whatever I ate would go God alone knows in which corner----this made me peevish and irritable!!That afternoon I had taken my medication and was just drifting off under it's influence when I heard Bhagirathi's raised voice----I literally dragged myself out of bed to go see why she was shouting so hysterically. It seems Tulsi Bai had asked a question which Bhagirathi found objectionable----the Question was"if this woman dies---where am I supposed to run for help with this child (Sayali) hanging around my neck?"This incensed Bhagirathi"you're talking about my Tai like that????How dare you????"I reached just in time to prevent a free for all.
This literally opened my eyes----I told Tulsi Bai to sit out in the Balcony while I quietened poor Bhagirathi who by then was bawling away loudly----made some Tea for all of us and sat both the women down.I then firmly but coollly told Tulsi Bai that I was not the reason why her earlier employers went away and that hereafter I wouldn't take anymore of her complaining because I was firing her---there and then.She could sit in the balcony till Sudhir came home and after he'd had his dinner we'd drop her to her son's home in Girgaum.Till then she was free to do whatever she wanted---except doing any work in MY home---that was that!!!
Bhagirathi volunteered to work for me for 12 hours---and I willingly accepted----she was a good honest person who loved my kids and me---better than Tulsi Bai anyday!!!
Anyway I cooked the Dinner that day and at night we dropped Tulsi Bai to her son's place---she was contrite but both Sudhir and I were firm about not keeping her on.We came back home and I opened my medicine chest----removed all my pills with the exception of a bottle of Sorbitrate-----and flushed the entire lot down the Toilet.Sudhir was aghast----but I had made up my mind."I promise you I won't die as long as you need me" I said"but no more talk of my not being well or whatever---that chapter's closed!!!"
After this dramatic statement I marched to the 'Fridge---took out a bowlful of Okra Bhaji swimming in Oil,mixed in some Steamed Rice and sat and gorged-----I still remember that feeling of satisfaction---then with a beatific smile I went to bed---without kissing my daughters---I was alive again!!!
The next day I took charge of my Life again--eating as I pleased,lifting and moving heavy things,playing Tabla on my daughters bums for their mis demeanors---it was as if this period hadn't existed.The Angina turned out to be Ischemia---but it hit me32 years later---till then I'd lived a hearty,healthy life----and forgotten completely about this!!!

  
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NATTIEGAL82 2/5/2010 4:13AM

    Lol---this is such a cute story...i love the tabla bit...!!! Muaah

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ANGEL0507 2/5/2010 1:54AM

    he he he!!! this story shows how strong and inspiring lady u r !!! emoticon

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SAASHA17 2/4/2010 12:32PM

    hahaha..Komal...i love the way u took everything and turn it around for ur satisfaction and I am glad god blessed u thru all those crazy moments in ur life and here u are- an amazing, fantastic woman....

Love ya
Manasa emoticon

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ZANNACHAN 2/4/2010 12:07PM

    I'm glad that it was just a false alarm! And a heart healthy diet doesn't have to be a tasteless one, or one that you are feeling constantly hungry--no wonder you were feeling irritable etc.! I'm glad that it worked out for the best in the long run.

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I----me-----myself!!!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Today was my date with the Tata Memorial Hospital and Dr.Rajan Badwe-----Sudhir as usual was fraught with tension----he always fears the worst!!!Sudhir is basically a worrier and because I used to be so healthy and strong----he's never really had to worry over me much.First Dengue then Cancer and finally a severe Heart Atack and Angioplasty---he's been sorely tested---moreso since my Cancer in 2006 December---literally no respite for him!!!Me---I never worry about such things---remember the song"Que Sara Sara,Whatever will be will be, the Future's not ours to see, Que Sara Sara"------if one has no power to change an iota of one's Destiny---why fret over it???
I am basically a drifter.Life for me is tied up in the present moment----I make loads of plans -----but working towards a fixed goal is not possible---I'm just not focused enough!!!This doesn't mean that I'm lazy---I hate to leave any job undone and like to relax only after everything's been taken care of------I just lack the initiative to begin a new project on my own.If somene gives me a responsibilty I'll do it---and I'll do a good job of it too!!!
Basically I am a dreamy person---I love dreaming---even day dreaming.All the years I spent studying my Teachers kept telling my parents---"She's good but she could reach the top with a little hard work!!!"Later when I studied for my B.A. and later M.A. degrees I did well---only because I adored the subject---History!!!
I am very impatient except when I'm doing something that needs patience----then I'm totally cool!!!This paradox comes into focus when I'm cooking something traditional , knitting, doing some embroidery or just making a Rangoli(Sand Painting)----I'll patiently spend hours doing it---I can't stand any half measures---everything has to be precise,neat and just so!!!
I'll be the first to admit it----I'm a First class NAGGER!!!I just can't stop nagging---till the job gets done.I don't like this aspect of my nature---but it's really a reflex action---it begins before I can even blink!!!
My worst trait however is not reliquishing responsibility---I cannot delegate work!!!I will either just sit by and ignore the whole process till someone asks me a simple question----then I begin poking my nose in so deep that I don't leave any leeway for those poor beings who misguidedly asked for my advice!!!
I have gradually taught myself to keep a distance from my daughters------I alone know how hard and difficult that was---but thankfully I managed it---they live their own lives---and I live my own.Today I have taught myself to give people space---I have learnt not to interfere till asked---and then too only as much as necessary!!I was a worrier too---Life has taught me that worrying will only make me sicker---so my faith in The Almighty has deepened----His will be done---all I pray for is the strength to bear whatever He dishes out with a stiff Upper Lip!!
Today I spend most of my time at home---cossetted and coddled by my husband----I am lucky to have so much love and devotion------but it's pretty boring under the Microscope---ALL the time!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGEL0507 2/4/2010 2:49AM

    so sweet!! emoticon thats the fist thing that came to my mind after reading this one....how can anyone not luv u.... u command it!!! and for sure deserve it!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/4/2010 2:51:13 AM

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SAASHA17 2/3/2010 11:46AM

    :)

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RAIN454 2/3/2010 11:19AM

    HI!! I love this blog...you have yet to amaze me, Komal. You're optimism and sense of being is truly inspirational. We all say that we should live in the present and destiny is destiny so why fret over anything that happens, but you are actually living by it and for that I commend you. I had to laugh at the "keeping distance from daughters"....me and my 2 sisters would LOVE if you could talk to my mom!! :)
emoticon
Your friend,
Rainey

Comment edited on: 2/3/2010 11:24:12 AM

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ZANNACHAN 2/3/2010 10:57AM

    I hope your doctor's visit went well and that everything's fine!

Sometimes I think there is a fine balance between worrying enough that you are proactive in taking care of yourself or the ones you care about and worrying too much about things you can't control.

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Amma

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Almighty has always been gracious to me by blessing me with some such relationships that cannot be defined---the bonds are so firm and very deep!!!One of these bonds is the one with Amma---my Ayah (Nanny).
We first met when I was two months old and she was nearing thirty----in mid-November 1953.
She was a "Pahaadan" or Hill Woman----she hailed from a village called "Sabaattu" in the county of "Mahasu" in "Chhota Shimla" District of the erstwhile Punjab State. She came highly recommended---carrying Letters of Recommendation from ICS(Indian Civil Service) Cadre----these being the 'Elite' those days---and my parents snapped her up!!!
According to her I was an angel---maybe then I was because from what I've heard I did just three things---ate,slept and played for the first six months of my Life!!!My mother was a total novice -----I was her first baby----therefore it was Amma who walked her through bringing up a baby----from which Gripe Water to use to when to start the Solid Feed----she was conversant with all the Stages and the brands available!!!She became my constant companion---one who felt I could do no wrong---and therefore always shielding me from Mummy's wrath!!!
I was growing up into a very headstrong,stubborn and hot headed child---and with the exception of two people---Amma and Aazoba(my maternal Grandpa) every body saw this.
Mummy and I were at loggerheads constantly---she couldn't understand how to discipline me and I grew more and more defiant by the day!!!Amma was the only one who could get to me----reasoning with me---she had tons of Patience and managed to tone me down a bit----till things changed with the advent of my sister Mikki when I was four.
My mother had very difficult preganancies----she needed bed rest for all the nine months----so Aazoba insisted on us coming to Bombay(as Mumbai was then) till the baby was born.This left Amma at a loose end for almost 9 months---Mummy was going to continue paying her but she'd be lost in Bombay!!!!She asked my parents permission to take up a temporary job ----replacing a cousin of hers who was very sick with Typhoid---till we came back and her cousin too recovered.My parents agreed---this meant that she too was occupied----and so everthing was decided.Then Amma blundered!!!She took me along to finalise the deal----and I raised Hell!!No way was MY Amma going to look after any other child----she belonged to only ME and therefore MINE was the will that would prevail!!! That was that----Amma spent all those months in Sabaattu----farming!!!
My sister Mekhala (Mikki)was born in 1957----she was a Blue Baby at birth and needed specialised care.Amma became her constant companion much to my annoyance and rage.I felt ignored and cast aside by Amma more than my parents-----and my defiance grew!!!One day Amma sat me down and gathered me close.She asked me if we should give Mikki away---I didn't like her so there was no need to keep her.I replied my parents wouldn't let her.She then said that they were agreeable and if I agreed they'd do just that!!!This forced me to think----was Mikki THAT bad????I loved her sweet smile and the way she gurgled.I also loved the way her eyes shone when she saw me----if she went away----she wouldn't be MY sister anymore---would she???
I realised I loved and accepted Mikki as a part of my life---though I pretended I tolerated her just because Amma had put in a good word for her!!!!Jealousy of a sibling is a bad Emotion---but my uneducated Amma managed to create a relationship between the two of us---today we're there for each other but don't live in each other's pockets!!!
Three years later in 1960 Ritu joined us----till then I was used to sharing Amma----and to a certain had become independent of her too.She treated all three of us like Princesses----she even ironed our Undies!!My parents trusted her implicitly---and she in turn became a surrogate parent for us.She was also a baby sitter for the children of their friends----she'd look after all of us for 4-5 days when these Folks went out of town to attend the Musical "Mehfils"(Concerts) of musical Geniuses like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan,Ravi Shankar,Ustad Akbar Ali Khan and Bhimsen Joshi.
She was an innocent, loving,simple soul---deeply religious and very superstitious!!She'd take us to the Ram Lilas (something like Christmas Pantomimes)during the Dussehra Days and insist on us bowing and touching the feet of the actors playing Ram ,Laxman,Sita AND Hanuman!!!"Aashirwaad lelo baawa"or "Take their blessings child"was her constant refrain.As we grew older I began to notice a stink around these actors---that was when I began saying a firm "No" because they stank strongly of "Beedies" and stale cheap Liquor they indulged in!!!There was this film called "Sampoorna Ramayan"(Complete Ramayana) which was screened at the Kiran Theatre in Sector 22.All the kids and their Ayahs went to see it.What a pandemonium there was when Ram,Sita and Laxman appeared on the screen!!!!Their appearance was stilled and one by one we were led in a line by our respective Ayahs to pay homage to the Dieties----Amma had even carried Garlands and Coconuts as offerings!!!!She was a great believer in rituals and was fixed on these.She'd offer cold sweet Jaggery Water to the passers by on the roads on "Nirjali Ekadashi" every June----the heat used to be terrible with tempratures well over 45 degrees Celsius---while she fasted and spent the entire day((24 hours)totally without Food or Water!!!As she grew older,her religious activities increased----her Food began being cooked separately on a "Shuddh Choolah" or pure stove and her utensils----including Ladles and Spoons were stored separately!!!
Days passed by and we grew up----she began feeling redundant---we didn't need her as much any more!!!Besides her father was very sick in Sabaattu and there was no one to care for him.She asked my mother for her advice----Mummy said she'd be sorry to see her go---but if she felt that was what she wanted to do---she was free to take her decision.So finally when I was thirteen she left to take care of her father and we didn't see her for two years though she'd write to me via the letter writer in her village---we had a regular Hindi correspondence.
Her father passed away soon after and she again took up the job of an Ayah----that was the best thing she knew.Each year she'd take a vacation and spend half of it with us.We three looked forward to it----she told us the Legends of God and Goddesses and tried to mould us into better human beings----along with our parents she too deserves a mention as one of our guiding spirits.Her biggest regret was that my parents had no son----only three daughters!!! She'd give generously to evry mendicant who came beggin at the door---"Dua karnaa ki Sa'ab aur Bibiji ko jaldi Beta ho"------"Pray that my employers are blessed with a son soon!!!"
She came down to bless Sudhir after our wedding and presented Rs.101/ to him as "Shagun"-----he kept the Re.1 and returned the Rs.100.She promptly distributed the amount to the poor to ward off the "Evil" eye---he was her son-in-law after all!!!.She also came when Lotta was born----she was very happy!!!I think of her daily----there so many small things today which are an intrinsic part of me--- these were taught to me by her.However I do know that her blessings are always with me!!!
Thank you Amma!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAIN454 2/3/2010 11:27AM

    Oh, I loved this one too!! Wow, Komal you have a way with words!! Manasa is correct...tears well up in my eyes too!! :)
P.S. we have a loving aunt who always would tell my parents during her visits "so sorry that God did not bless you with any sons- "only" 3 daughters...so it made me giggle when I read your story"
P.P.S. Ironically, I was actually talking to my sister this morning about how we loved GRIPE water!! the little bottle with the baby on it...hehe...memories are the best, right?!

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SAASHA17 2/2/2010 11:44AM

    Thats so sweet...I always have tears in my eyes when i read ur blog Komal..Such gems are hard to find and you are lucky you spent so much time with her....

Manasa

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ZANNACHAN 2/2/2010 11:36AM

    She sounds like a lovely woman--your parents were lucky to find her! I'm glad that you stayed in touch and that she was able to visit periodically.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 2/2/2010 11:25AM

    Reading Your description of "Little Komal" brought to mind the heroine of my favorite childhood book, "The Secret Garden", by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Now I want to get it out and read it again!

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ATMANI 2/2/2010 8:08AM

    Reading about Amma brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing...

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