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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

This is a very personal letter I'm writing to each one of you----to wish all my wonderful and very dear Spark friends a very,very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!The Internet is erratic here---so though I wanted to send Spark Goodies to each one of you---thanks to bad connectivity could manage only a few!!!Will try to send these on New Year--if not---then after the 14th.Jan.2011---for that's when I reach back home.
All of you have given me great Support and Happiness in this past one year---I consider myself very lucky and blessed to have Friends like each one of you----Thank You Folks---and may each one of you and your Families and Homes be blessed with
Good Health,Happiness,Harmony,Prosperity and Peace always.May each one of you attain desired Success in each of your ventures and Fulfill ALL your Dreams!!!
Take Care my very,very valued and Dear Friends------God Bless!!!
Lots of love and Best wishes,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOVEY63 1/2/2011 11:42AM

    Lots of love and best wishes to you too!

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ZANNACHAN 12/27/2010 2:30PM

    Thanks for the Christmas wishes! I hope you are having a wonderful time on your visit and that you have a safe trip back home.

May you have a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Years!

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FITNESSFREAK10 12/27/2010 3:10AM

    emoticonThanks and same to you.

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*MADHU* 12/27/2010 12:44AM

    Merry Christmas and Healthy, Happy Prosperous New Year to you too! Stay safe, warm and have a happy journey back home :)

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ATMANI 12/26/2010 3:47PM

    Thank you and wish you the same.

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MILLISMA 12/26/2010 2:43PM


What beautiful comments! We are thankful for your support and friendship also. Look forward to logging on and reading about your traditions and memories. Take care my friend.

hugs.....Mary Anne

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MESSENE 12/26/2010 12:31PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonBest wishes!!! emoticon

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DRASADAF 12/26/2010 11:32AM

    thx Komalji...wish u the same.......

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GRACIE1232 12/25/2010 3:52PM

  Good thoughts and wishes to you too.

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Pictures of Brun Paao

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

This is a Picture of a Brun Bread(Paao) beloved of Mumbaites and perhaps available only in Mumbai,India.These were primarily sold in Irani Bakeries---established by the Irani Community and the prime location for a cup of piping hot Chai and Brun Maskaa or a Bun Maskaa.This Bun too is something unique to Mumbai.Very soft,sweetish with Candied Peel in it,it is sliced into 2 horizontally,spread liberally with Fresh Butter(Maskaa) and then eaten with Chai.Traditionally both Brun and Bun are dipped into the hot Tea and then eaten---sopping wet with the sweet,thick ,milky Tea---again an Irani speciality.The Irani Cafes serve the best Chai in the World!!These Cafes have helped many a Batchelor to start his day fortified by the excellent Brew!!
Not just that,these serve wonderful Egg and Meat Dishes----and the quality of these is excellent too!!
Their Signature Dishes include the Egg Akuri--or Spicy Scrambled Eggs,Omelletes,yummy Custards and Puddings.The "Kheema Paao" or Spicy Mincemeat Curry with Bread too is a very popular Dish with the regulars.Their Biryani too is fabulous---spiced to perfection with the perfect balance of Meat,potatoes and Rice.They also make and sell melting Chicken and Meat Patties---tender,spicy Meat encased in Puff Pastry and baked a golden hue---eating these hot from the Oven is Heaven!!Mumbai's most famous Irani Cafes are Brittania at Ballard Estate,Kayani's at Dhobi Talao and Leopold's,Mondegar and Olympia at Colaba Causeway.Unfortunately many others have given way to the Cafe Coffee Day or Barrista's---which though excellent--can't compare with the old worldly charm of these!!!Sometimes I yearn for the Marble topped Tables and Spindle legged Chairs---trademark of these old Cafes!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAIN454 12/16/2010 6:08PM

    This does look really good...and your description...adding the butter to it...woww...makes my mouth water...need to find me an irani cafe over here..didnt even know they were experts in chai :)

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ZANNACHAN 12/2/2010 12:59PM

    Yum. That looks and sounds delicious.

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ATMANI 12/1/2010 6:00PM

    yum yum...

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MILLISMA 12/1/2010 5:12PM

    I wish I could smell it through the screen. Looks soooo good!

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BOVEY63 12/1/2010 12:34PM

    Looks and sounds so delicious!!

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SAASHA17 12/1/2010 11:35AM

    give me Irani chai and Samosa in hyd anyday or the road side noodles in my hometown of Visakhapatnam. No coffee day or barista for me.

The best part of sitting in a Irani Cafe is smelling that day's freshly made food and the super yum Chai....Gosh I need to make a trip...

There is a bakery in Hyderabad my Maama would take me for snacks...best biscuits ever....Sooo good..Looking at the bun, I remembered all my childhood haunts:)

thanks Komal

PS: maybe u cud parcel some and bring to LA and then Fedex it to me emoticon

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ALICIA214 12/1/2010 11:32AM



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Oven Fresh Brun-Maskaa and Chai!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I have always loved Bread---any type---and thanks to this don't think will stay hungry anywhere in the World---I can literally consume it by the Loaves!!The best part is that I do not need any accompaniments with Bread---it's own unique aroma and flavour are so mouthwatering---that I'm craving it even as I write!!My mother was a true Bombayite----to the manner born---and inordinately proud of all things "Bombaiyya"!!!Reminisces of her childhood featured a few things very prominently---the Biryani at Coronation,The Falooda at Badshah's and also at Jai Hind's---and most important---Oven Fresh Brun Paao with Maska---freshly baked and warm ,slathered with thick layers of "Polson" Butter or "Maskaa" as it was known as---with hot steaming Chai---first thing each early morning!!In my very early memories I recall eating these things faintly---but my first actual taste of these was in 1960---when we were in Bombay for Sudhir's oldest sister---Kunda's marriage.
My Grandfather,Aazoba, lived at Charni Road Junction in Bombay and just across the street on the corner was Railway Bakery---still don't know why it was called that---but this Bakery sold and still sells, truly awesome Bread!!!Those days the day began very early---about 5---5.30 a.m. and the domestic help would dash across the Road to buy the day's quota of "Brun Paao" and "Laadi Paao" or a sheet of sets of small Bread Loaves as well as packets of cold fresh creamy yellow Butter carrying the Brand name"Polson" before the morning rush for these started!!I don't know where the term "Brun" comes from---but I've not found it's equivalent anywhere in the World.This Bread is baked in three sizes---small,medium and large---and has a very hard Brown crust---with a soft texture inside.You need a very sharp knife to slice it into two halves---horizontally.Both these halves are then slathered with Fresh Creamy Butter---Polson Butter---and again sandwiched together.Finally these are sliced lengthwise into 3-5 thick Sandwiches.
It was in May 1960 that I first tasted this Bread----and became a slave to it!!Those hot crispy Sandwiches dripping with melted "Polson"Butter dribbling down the chin and cups of hot milky "Children's Tea' became my favourite wake up call!!! Breakfast would follow much later---something tasty,substantial and traditional--but this very first meal of the day----was like Manna from Heaven!!!This was a treat that I looked forward to everyday on each of our subsequent visits---a must on my Agenda!!!Later I became a permanent resident of Bombay after my marriage, my addiction continued and in fact grew!!! Next door to our old Home in South Bombay there was a "Paao Wallah" or Bread Supplier who got all his stuff from another famous Bakery in the area---"American Express Bakery" and because all of us adored our daily Bread---the Paao Wallah would ensure a regular,fresh Supply of our Quota!!One really had to be an early Bird to catch these---they disappeared as fast as they appeared fresh from the Oven!!!There used to be a mad rush to procure these as these were available till barely 7 a.m. each morning!!! Today we no longer get "Polson Butter"---it has been replaced with various other Brands which cannot match it but "Brun" Paao is still going strong!!
After shifting to our present location we started getting our Bread from the famous "City Bakery" delivered fresh early each morning----and that still continues till today!!!I buy the small Brun----just enough for me and spread it with a thin layer of Butter---teamed with St.Dalfour Diabetic Jam on Mondays or Egg White Omelettes on other days with a small Mug of Sugarless hot Chai----makes my Day start with a positive kick!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PARM01 2/6/2011 5:45PM

  Wow Wow Wow!!!!!!

I am reading your blogs one day at a time --- love them and
the walk along memory lane is the icing on the cake--Midway between St.Xavier's College and Marine Lines station, there used to be (?is) an Irani shop just behind the mosque where I
indulged in the Brun pao with chai. I have yet to taste any tea that even comes close to tantalizing the taste buds --

I suspect that "Brun" may be the colloquial version of Brown--what do you think?

Thank you again for my daily dose of purani Bombai!!!!!

emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/7/2011 12:42:37 PM

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MILLISMA 11/30/2010 6:18PM

    Well, now I'm hungry. I've always loved bread and hadn't made it for years but I did while the kids were here for Thanksgiving. What a joyous smell while it bakes! Thanks for sharing your story!

Hugs....Mary Anne

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BOVEY63 11/30/2010 4:05PM

    I love bread too! Reading your blog brought back memories of my grandmother's bread. She was 100% Italian and made the best homemade bread I have ever tasted (along with so many other foods).

Thanks for bringing these memories back to me today.

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COMFANFAN 11/30/2010 12:20PM

    Sounds yummy. Chai, I know. Love it.

For those of us who've never had brun-maskaa, any pictures - or urls to pictures?

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ZANNACHAN 11/30/2010 11:14AM

    Ah man now I'm craving some and I've never had Brun... I love love love bread though, especially freshly baked yum yum yum. Bread with butter--the best! I remember going to restaurants when I was a kid that baked their own bread and my "meal" would really be soup and bread because I'd be so full on bread that I'd take most of my entree home for later! And I love chai--my Indian friend introduced me to it and it's my favorite kind of tea. Love love love it. Need to make my own--I know how now, at least, I just have to find all the spices.

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RAIN454 11/30/2010 10:58AM

    Love the "like Manna from Heaven" analogy!! :) The bread sounds really good...like always, my mouth is watering as I read line to line.
When I visited India, we would eat Bimbo bread and whatever jam was stocked that month...lol...where was MY brun-maskaa gosh dang it!! lol...
Take care and have a good week!

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NICE125 11/30/2010 10:10AM

  Achcha, maska lagao rahe ho, now I know where that term came from!!!LOL! buttering up!
Thanks for the insight! emoticon

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SAASHA17 11/30/2010 10:01AM

    hey I have had some bun in Bombay, could be this. Every time Dad was joining on the ship, he would have to go to bombay for the paperwork and we would go with him:)

I love the green sandwiches at nariman point, then the green beans with Mayo and bread...yum....hehehe and I vaguely eating some kind of buttered bun...otherwise now I know where to go when I visit..


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ATMANI 11/30/2010 8:14AM


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GRAMPIAN 11/30/2010 6:18AM


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Kolhapuri Brothers

Friday, November 26, 2010

I grew up in Chandigarh---then a part of erstwhile Punjab State---later after the trifurcation into 2 new States----Punjab,Haryana and Himachal Pradesh,it became a Union Territory. Very early memories of my childhood are linked to all my uncles---the oldest Gopal Kaka or "Anna" as his brothers called him,lived in Mumbai,the youngest Sharu Kaka too lived in Mumbai with Atya and studied in the Sir JJ College of Architecture and Shyam Kaka in Kolhapur.Daddy's step sister was called "Mothi Tai" or oldest sister and Atya was "Tai" older sister---both given deferential respect by all their younger Siblings.
The four brothers were called"Anna " Gopal Kaka the oldest,then my father called "Nana", then Shyam Kaka called "Dada" by my aunt Kusum Atya and Sharu Kaka because they were the youngest---this was their way of showing respect to their older Siblings.All these siblings were extremely close knit and very close to each other.My Uncles and my father were actually grown up kids---our homes resounded with laughter---resulting from the Pranks they too took part in as well!!If those people who saw only their strait laced "Public" faces at work could've seen each one of these at home---they'd have thought that all these brothers were Schizophrenics!!All the brothers loved Food with a Passion---and being blessed with hearty appetites as well---ate with gusto!! All of us have inherited their huge appetites---that's why some of us are having problems controlling our intakes!!
I was barely 3 months old when my parents took me to Chandigarh---and I recollect very faintly my first visit to Kolhapur.Being used to modern Plumbing the ancient system at Kolhapur came as a culture shock to me---then 2 years old---nothing would induce me to visit the Loo---which was primitive to say the least!!!I remember both Shyam Kaka and Sharu Kaka bribing me with Ice Cream to get me to use it---which worked albeit reluctantly---with long and loud lamentations!!Daily there used to be new incentives---but this relieved poor Mummy immensely!!Both my Uncles would take me around Town---showing me off as "Nana's Daughter" and talking to me in broken Hindi---since that was the only language I spoke then!!!They'd also needle me to make me mad---my stamping my feet,swearing in Hindi and generally being a nuiscance amused them terribly---this was their favourite entertainment!!!So I grew up with the misconception that they were the same age as me!!!
Shyam Kaka was the adventurous type.An expert in Car Mechanics,Cars were his passion.His association with the erstwhile Royal Famly fuelled his passion for Cars and he was a regular visitor to the Royal Garages---familiarising himself with the finer Features of all those Rolls Royces and Mercedes' they owned----he acquired the title of being an Expert in that field!!He owned an "Adler" and was very fond of it---in this car he and his friends travelled the length and breadth of India---braving bad roads and the elements!!!To us he was(still is) a hero----for given the dangerous condition and primitive resources of that period---it was nothing less than high adventure to take to the Roads in all types of Weather!!
Sharu Kaka left to study in Oxford in 1956--following in Daddy's footsteps---and settled in Britain.He married an English lady and Photographs of him with Aunt Mavis started making their way to India viia the Mail Box-----his two children---Amanda and Nigel---joined the Family Photos as they were added to the Family. We saw them for the first time in person as late as 1972---when they made their first trip to India!!!Shyam Kaka stayed put in Kolhapur---and it was with him that I interacted the most !!Visiting Kolhapur in my childhood used to be great fun----my Grandmother Akka had got rid of the Family Cow and Buffalo---and instead arranged for two Milkmen to walk their Cow and Buffalo to our doorstep-----she'd get Fresh Milk on the doorstep----the milking taking place there and then!!!There were different sized Vessels for the Milk--depending on demand and need----and would be used accordingly each early morning and evening----warm frothing fresh Milk---absolutely rich,pure,creamy !!!How we loved drinking it just like that---warm from the udders!!!Even today the taste still lingers in my memory!!
Shyam Kaka was the only one to retain his hair in later years---the other three faced the problems of partial balding and thinning hair.Those days these people didn't like dying their hair---so in the hot Summer afternoons we used to be kept occupied combing our fingers through their hair---picking out and plucking stray single White hair----leaving the Black hair intact.Now this was a tedious job---and the primary thought behind it was to keep us out of mischief and at the same time ensure a peaceful post Lunch Siesta for themselves----so they'd offer to pay us a quarter for each White hair plucked!!Now we were not eager--despite the bait---to do this for very long.Hence we evolved a system----find and pluck a single White hair and show it to the concerned party---then just give a gentle tug at the Roots of different Black hair shafts---and keep showing the single plucked White hair after each tug.By now these people would drifting off to sleep and would just nod their heads---and nod off!!In the evening we'd turn Shylocks---- force them to pay their dues---and then blow up the money we'd earned on trifles!!Funny thing though----neither of the three men caught on till we told them long after those days were over!!And then of course everyone laughed long and loud at the memory!!
Today so many Memories crowd my mind---it will take some time to untangle and unravel them---but all of these are happy memories----each precious and jealously stored in the inner recesses of my mind----Life was much simpler and less complicated when we were growing up in the 1960s--70s!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ATMANI 11/26/2010 6:04PM

    YOu have a way of bringing your memories to life! I enjoy reading them. Thanks for sharing.

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MILLISMA 11/26/2010 3:56PM


I love your shared memories and hope you journal them for your family. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Hugs....Mary Anne

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ZANNACHAN 11/26/2010 11:03AM

    You have such wonderful memories. You must have been really lucky in life, and how wonderful that you can bring those memories to life for us!

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SAASHA17 11/26/2010 10:51AM

    ll I can say is emoticon

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EACHDAYAGIFT 11/26/2010 10:21AM

    Smart plus mischievous equals profitable schemes! That hair plucking con was so funny. It probably didn't save you any time or effort, just was satisfying to be able to put one over on the grown ups!

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TWOTIMESS 11/26/2010 4:43AM

    Oh wow! I loved your blog! I could almost see the house and fields and the uncles. What glorious childhood memories you have!

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An Era Ended!!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

This 30th.October an Era ended---our Shyam Kaka/Mama passed away at the age of 88----a rich Life well lived truly deserving the peaceful end!!Shyam Kaka was my father's younger brother---immediately next in number---and they were very close.But then--he was very close to all his Siblings---Sudhir's mother--Atya--was the oldest and he was extremely close to her too!!He had the distinction of being the most popular sibling amongst a batch of six siblings---in great demand in all the various homes!!!
An extremely handsome and well built but lean man he had very regular and healthy habits---did not drink,smoke or chew Tobacco and followed a regular daily routine---perhaps that was his secret of living a healthy and alert Life till the very end.The only one among the 4 brothers to stay back in Kolhapur, he made a successful Career of establishing and running one of Kolhapur's most famous Hotels in partnership with his two childhood friends----a must visit Landmark in the old Principality----renowned for it's homely ambience and great Kolhapuri Food.
He was a frequent visitor to Mumbai for various reasons connected to his line of work and would stay with us in the old house.Coming to Bombay was in his hands---returning to Kolhapur was in Sudhir--Milind's hands!!!They would try childish and juvenile schemes like hiding his Bags,his shoes and other stuff to force him to stay longer-----and when he didn't---dissuade him from leaving each day by saying "Tomorrow"---needless to say he'd have to leave the house stealthily---like a thief--when these two were at Court!!!All of us felt he belonged to our age group and treated him accordingly---including all our children----much to the dismay of his siblings---who felt he deserved a modicum of respect!!!
Shyam Kaka was a sworn batchelor till he fell head over heels in love with my beautiful Shashi Kaki---a quiet lady with masses of long black hair and beautiful etched features!!!Due to his late marriage,his children were much younger than the rest of us.All of us older cousins used to tease those poor babes mercilessly----and run wild each time we visited in the Summer Vacations.Till date I have only happy memories of my all visits---our aunt,Shashi Kaki would indulge all our whims---sweetly and patiently!!!I don't recall her ever getting annoyed with us----and I know how bad we could be---in fact were!!In the later years Sudhir and I along with our daughters were regular visitors to Kolhapur during the Summer Vacations---and our Cousins--Sangeeta,Sanju and Manu---would baby sit Lotta and Sayali with great love and affection---becoming their fast friends in the process!!Both our girls still feel the bonding and have very fond memories of those days!!Today their children are nearer our Grandchildren in age---and I tend to think of those nieces and nephews of ours in the same vein---with indulgent grandmotherly fondness!!!
Each year both Sudhir and I would wait impatiently for the road journey to end---eager to reach Kolhapur---looking forward to spending the evening on the Lawns of Hotel Opal with our beloved Uncle being the cherished "Pot of Gold" at that desired Destination!!!He'd be waiting equally impatiently for us to arrive and the conversation would pick up smoothly from where we left it the earlier visit---seamlessly fitting into the groove!!The last time I met Shyam Kaka was this Summer----he was lucky to have no no Health Problems at all----except the weakness of his limbs due to increasing age.H stubbornly maintained his set routine---making no allowances to advancing age except stopping his visits to Mumbai---his faculties were all intact and his memory was awesome---recalling even the minute details of Kolhapur History,Family History and Childhood Anecdotes---all of which he loved to recount with his dry humour keeping us in splits!!He was proud of our being an eccentric and wacky Family---according to him it was a mark of our individuality!!
Now the spark is gone from my Hometown---the incentive to return has run down.While I give thanks to The Almighty for taking him peacefully in his sleep---something has altered inside me.We are not really grieving for him---but he has left a nagging ache in our hearts-----he and Kolhapur were synonymous with each other---and he will be sorely missed--each time we go back!!!My last link with my Childhood is gone forever!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNACHAN 11/26/2010 10:59AM

    I'm sorry to hear about your loss. He sounds like a remarkable man who lived a full life, one full of love and family.

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SAASHA17 11/25/2010 2:32PM

    I am sorry about shyam kaka. But he lives in all those memories and he must have been awesome from what i am reading in your blog:)

Take care

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EACHDAYAGIFT 11/25/2010 11:25AM

    What a loss. People like that are a rare gift. I love the image of the tricks and schemes carried out by grown men to keep him around another day! Lloyd's Uncle Ed, who I believe is also 88, is like that. He makes everyone feel younger and happier and everyone loves him. Always positive and upbeat and kind. I hope you are finding that the funny memories help the grief, as I am finding with my departed friend, Judy. I would love to read any stories about him and reminiscences you would like to share.
emoticon emoticon

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DRASADAF 11/25/2010 4:43AM

    i m sorry to hear about him....may his soul rest in peace...

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