Narcissistic Opinions: /peri pat eh tic/ noun

There were days longing for something I didn’t understand properly. I don’t think I do now as well. I don’t even know what I was searching for – something along the frame of utter senselessness of existing, of being someone or something.

Along the shores of Dar es Salaam, there is a strange ennui. I can feel it in my bones that it is different. Very different than that of Kathmandu. I didn’t know that ennui’s could be different. It all seemed the same. Suffering, that I can understand. It can come in various shape or fervor. I am used to it. I understand it even though I don’t need to. But I have vanities of my own. It is relative. When a group of convicts passed the work site of a Nazi concentration camp, they were envied upon by the Jews. Because they probably had toothbrush, a comfortable bed with mattresses and knew the whereabouts of their family and relatives. They knew who were dead and who were alive. Such is suffering. But ennui,  I do not understand.  It never ceases to amaze me, the weariness of which comes in different flavors and knowledge. This is a new revelation.

I was subject to some unsavory scrutiny by a stranger yesterday. He judged me based on my voice and the facial features. I don’t know why, but I didn’t like it then I normally should. Not that he adjudicated entirely wrong but he did it so improperly and with a vehemence. I should have been used to it now. But something violent stirred in me too. Perhaps alcohol on an empty stomach. I pacified the passion within me with some instant meditation – a bat was flying over our heads and I tried to catch a glimpse of its features while on flight. I put on a poker face and somewhat took in remarks with some sense of dignity. For most part I managed to ignore but I had to say something to make him think of his flawed ways. And when I was about to commence on this noble act, I suddenly felt that that I’d rather should not. I should give him more confidence my being passive. I should play the long game. I should make him suffer more. He was somewhat full of aversion towards my kind – which he also misjudged. And not trying to correct him would be his punishment. His continuous and mindless hatred, an uneasy soul and mind was my revenge.

A rich and mighty Persian once walked in his garden with one of his servants. The servant cried that he had just encountered Death, who had threatened him. He begged his master to give him his fastest horse so that he could make haste and flee to Teheran, which he could reach that same evening. The master consented and the servant galloped off on the horse. On returning to his house the master himself met Death, and questioned him, “Why did you terrify and threaten my servant?” “I did not threaten him; I only showed surprise in still finding him here when I planned to meet him tonight in Teheran, said Death

Freedom is a curse, decried Sartre. I look at the blue horizon where ocean blue meets the sky blue. I am free to do so – to think about my emotions deeply, to translate it into something I could feed off, to listen to it and not act on it, to remain in a perpetual gloom because of misinterpreting it or simply to stare into it without a thought. To interpret Sartre would be too easy to understand him. Because when we writes, everyone understands it differently. So that’s easy. I wouldn’t want to understand him in my own way. But he doesn’t provide an answer too. He’s a thug. He’s a messiah. Who cares. It’s one’s choice to do so, that he agrees too. I think I will stick with Carmona here: “ Once thrown into the world, man is responsible for everything he does…The most priceless possession a person has is his power of choice; it is also life’s greatest shackle”.

END. 

 

Jasto Manchey Tyestai Bike

Recently I bought an old Hero Honda model, tyo pani guess what, saat lot! Since then a lot of people have asked me,  ‘Why?’.

The bike was manufactured  20 -22 years back and I would like to think that I was not even born back then. I find it funny that I ride something that was there before I was born, although not in a top notch condition.  But I guess, it works fine for me just to get around. 

I love my bike.  I don’t know why but as of now, I don’t want to get the new one. In all honesty, I’d prefer to use it even later on. The money I have spent on maintenance and reconditioning has already exceed to my expectation. My friends tell me,  ‘yeti ma ta naya bike nai aucha k waiyat kharcha garira yo budo ko lagi’

I got the bike from one of my school mates. It was his dad’s bike just laying there in the garage, simply waiting to be used again by someone who was preferably from it’s generation. But I guess, to it’s disappointment, I am the one riding it around.

This is my first bike. I got it to learn motorcycling and get a licence.  But I think it can easily serve me beyond the purpose of getting licence. I feel, the bike knows me by now- the rough kicks in early morning is more than alarming for it to  get started and wheel me around, for my immature riding. However, sometimes it does strike  back,  ‘lau kha ta’. That’s pretty much when I get swollen legs for my kicks. 

To be fairly honest, I have had thoughts of getting the new bike whenever this old piece of crooked and cranky machine gets me into trouble. Sometimes riding through the crowded traffic of Kathmandu, the old man has trouble picking up top gear. Sometimes, it plainly ceases to kick start and begins to make a grumpy sound, coughing out huge black smokes. I know people look at me and think, ‘What the fuck’.  During many of  such embarrassing moments, I curse  and spit,  throwing  disgusting looks at it. But most times, I pity it. Old buddy needs time to rest, maybe retire. 

Sometimes I guess it also gets angry at me and it’s like, ‘Come on, you bony piece of shit, just give me a break. Get easy on me. Can’t you see I’ve done my time riding fast and smooth. I can’t do it anymore. You are stuck with me” . Sometimes, it just throws a lot of tantrums at me, reciprocating my own behavior.

I collected so many stories and humors  with this bike over these last six months of wheeling around: 

A workplace college once told me ‘tapaiko bike le ta petrol sungcha matra hola hai khadaina hola’

Another time, a few local boys and girls hooted and whistled me when they saw my slender figure ride the most slender bike. 

One time when I about to drop my brother off to his college, he said, ‘tero bike le malai dhan cha ta. Yedi ukalo ma orlinu paryo vane van hai’. He does insist on getting a new bike, and tells me time and again, ‘yesto bike chadis vane ta ko KT pachadi bascha yar’.

One of my friend told me that even traffic police would salute your bike for it’s age and let you pass by even without checking.

Surprisingly (maybe not), quite a few people  have offered to buy this bike at quite a fair price as soon as I give a thought of selling it,  I just feel the old man looking at me, all dejected and pleading through its headlights and old side lights, saying, ‘Let me stay with you. I can take no more of strangers ass’. And then I simply desert the idea of selling it. 

In all these times, among all these bumpy rides, hustles and bustles, guess what I find so much pride in ? The lightness and visibility as the old man coughs and pants around in the streets of Kathmandu. I know that I stand out as an old school dude, with my old school bike.  And I just know, most of them simply compliment, ‘Jasto manche testai bike’. 

 

On Avocados and Sweat

I tell myself not to turn into Josheph Conrad. If its not accommodating, then make a home out of it. Every time I concede to wistful lust of Africa, I reprimand myself being such a pussy. A pussy is warm and tender. I can’t be warm and tender now can I? I need to be strong, adventurous and arrogant like a dick. 

The country is immense and the people are kind but I still have not quite found a profound sickness that suits to my temperance. It’s the mojo that I have lost that I am grieving over. I am in need of a heart. A heart that can bear my sporadic self-professed darkness which I keep going back into where I find comfort and where I find it homelier than home thousands of miles away that’s cuddled between the dust and green hills which almost never bars the sight of snow capped mountains. Oh what a relish! I wish to see those mountains again. Not because it appears splendid or grandee but I need the feel of my old ways. To find my way into the mojo that I have seemingly lost.

I abhor my own body. Its crowded with sweat, flies, beef and avocado. I feel it wants to give way to the anguish that such climes bring forth but I hold myself tight and think, this too shall pass. How many of my brethren have been here, I wonder. A man from the Himalayas in Africa! That’s quite a sight in servitude and suffering. I tell to my most un-Serb of a Serbian, ‘Vlad, brother, I feel the sun but I don’t feel the warmth’. He replied back sheepishly, ‘You need to do weed man’. He he is wise. He lives in the jungles of Tanzania doing who-knows-what sort of research pertaining to trees. He gives me warmth for he is as outlandish as I am. I am pretty sure that he thinks first and then he feels the thought rather than opposite of what most people would do. That’s why he is wise. His mojo is intact. 

For the first time in my life, I got asked ‘Have you climbed Everest?’. It was quite a feeling. That of nostalgia and the feeling of being a Nepali residing outside the country I so much hate. It was quite interesting for me because never had I knew such a calamity of loving my country. A series of fleeting facebook memes about ‘Don’t you fucking dare ask a Nepali that’ passed through the neurons of my brain which usually filters down any feeling of love, desires and bad memes automatically.

But in sooth, I was quite happy that I was pressed with such a ridiculous enquiry. Aha! This is what an expat feels like in lands far far away. The feeling that my little brother always laments of but I always had failed to understand him. I usually end up shrugging his stupid feels but here I was empathizing with him. He has always been known to be an emotional bloke. He’s quite our baby. But so am I. I don’t dwell on bothering’s of real time situations. I once cried watching a movie trailer on Youtube.

So, here I was thinking over where I am physically standing in context of globe and I was quite amazed that now suddenly a paroxysm of fear and uncertainty held me to my guts. The fear of being really alone as a citizen from Himal and the uncertainty of if I can really accommodate myself into this strange land. I knew I can adapt but to find oneself homely is another thing. I live in an apartment and I pay a hefty sum for it but it still feels like living in a hotel. Living in a hotel is perhaps more accommodating than having to do all the things that I never quite ever did in my life, like cooking, doing laundry and dishes, checking the electricity meter, shopping for groceries and looking into weird sites for expats who want to be friends is beyond me. It sounds like a first world problem, but what am I to do if I have always lived like a vigilante till date in my own country. Lately made myself so homely at a restaurant (which my dear friend and brother owns) that the waiters would ask me where I was if I even missed a day. So now I here I am associating Everest (which I have actually never seen except in photos) with homeliness.

Its quite strange to even think of home at the moment. It never felt like home all my life. I don’t even miss Nepal. I don’t think I will ever. But this creepy new feeling that Nepal is fucking awesome never ceases to amaze me. I always complained and whined and cursed about everything. But now people ask me ‘How’s Nepal like?’ I can’t believe of the things I say to them. I am hyping up the bloody country. It’s certainly not because I am homesick or that I rather enjoy my life in Nepal than in Tanzania. For the first time, I am actually describing (not analyzing) Nepal and I am finding it hard to stomach that it’s actually a really good place to spend your life in. It’s hard to digest something that you truly believed to have sucked your whole life. And now suddenly that it doesn’t suck comes in with the epiphany that nothing in life is constant and in its entirety. Just like happiness and sadness. No one can be entirely happy or sad.

A dear Neapolitan, Stephano is at home in Tanzania. Not just his fluency in Swahili but his temperance is that of a citizen of this wonderful country. He probably just hates it here as he hates it in Italy. He knows who he is and knows what he doesn’t want. Well, he will be a first time father this July and will probably loose his mojo for a brief time but he will surely regain it back effortlessly. ‘I have been in your stage in life and have had my fill of it. It’s not that I don’t like parties and weed but there are more important things in life’ he admonished us like an older brother. He is used to sweats and avocados. He has his mojo intact. His mojo reminds me of my own strength and perseverance. How far I have come. How through the vicissitude of teenage angst and existential crisis, I managed to retain my hope for humanity and accept that beauty of human consciousness which glides in crescendos and diminuendos of the good and the bad. To accept both and move forward is truly a feat for any individual living in our times.  

It’s merely been a month here in Africa and I am lost in the wilderness of entitlements that expats living in Masaki probably dwell upon. The land is a far cry from rest of the country but I cannot avail from thinking that it is disengaged from rest of Africa. The only thing African about the peninsula is the climate. As I promenade through the much embracing blue beaches of the city or sojourn in touristic islands nearby, it makes me forget how much I am detached from Heart of Darkness that Conrad so magnificently yet preposterously went on about. Stephano warned that one can easily forget one is in Africa. By that he means that I shouldn’t forget that I am in another man’s territory where I am more than welcome but that I shouldn’t forget about my roots back home and live modestly. That is to say, smile more and show more gratitude. It is very good for one’s soul too.  I think its high time get back my mojo, drink a lot of water, consume a lot of avocados and accept the sweats.

Nausea

Wednesday 12:30

The Self-Taught Man came in to the café expecting me. I was scheming a public suicide in a short fiction I was working on. He came in through the sliding door, almost in rapture. His aquiline nose never ceases to fascinate me. Today the nose seemed slightly sad. He expected to die sooner because of his nose. ‘I inhale too much dust. I am surely getting an asthma in my early forties. Hear-Hear Kathmandu. Our love will kill us.’. He was convinced. I never doubted him. In fact, I never doubted him at all.

Friday, 3:00

It’s late afternoon and I am dizzy. Saala. I just had an Espresso. Double Shot. I smoke too much. The waiter waved a glossy pink slip. A thousand rupees. Eight hundred for Surya Lights. These cafes charge too much for cigarettes. I merely recalled my new habit, recording expenses in a mobile app. It’s futile. What would I do if I had an inkling of my expense pattern? Why, I know what I spend on? Last week, I had bought a little book on Chinese poetry. I thought it was cute. Today, I got myself a shirt from one of a footpath dealer because it was cheap. I didn’t need it. My mother always harangues on the virtues of making a pilgrimage to Pashupathinath. I made it along with her. I was broke by the time a fourth sadhu brandished his parched palm towards us. She screwed her eyes. I grinned nervously.

I pick myself up languidly. A guilt similar to post-jerking engulfs me whenever I am leaving cafes. It’s the same morbid lament. The deed is done. I have an urge to run away. It’s mildly disgusting now. The Self-Taught Man caught up with me as I was leaving the vicinity of the sin. The motorbike didn’t start. I check the dashboard. It’s empty. I slap my forehead. I go back the cafe. He is resolute. He is awake. I am tired. He’s about a song now. Cotton Eye Joe. He’s memorized the lyrics. I try to keep up, but I jumble up the words. I keep telling myself that he’s a freak.

Saturday 10:00

I get mail. Invitation to sit for an interview at an NGO. I look for their contact pages. I don’t recognize anyone. To get a real job is all about knowing people in Kathmandu. I will be skipping the interview then. I haven’t done anything substantial today. I feel sad. I think of Dali. Talent and hard work. I lack both.  At the age of six he wanted to be a cook. At seven he wanted to be Napoleon. In mid-twenties, I still haven’t figured out if I like mo:mo or mo:mocha more. I light a cigarette and smoke nervously. Should my mother wake up, she would reproach me not with fanged words but with monstrous faces. The bland breeze of the night calms me down.

Sunday 10:00

The June breeze is as lazy as me.

Monday 8:00

My little niece tells me that I am boring. She doesn’t know what sort of porn I watch incognito.

Tuesday 2:00

It’s deadline day. I merely finish the story on time. I send it to my editor. He promptly rejects it stating that it’s obscene. I reply that his self-righteousness is what’s obscene. He’s artless. Maybe that’s why he’s an editor instead of a writer. I am fuming. Some beautiful girls eyeball me. I bonhomie enough for one of them to blow me.

Wednesday 10:00

I apologize to the editor. ‘It was a paroxysm of rage and to tell you the truth I was a little bit drunk’ I entreat.  Damn it! A cliché. Nevertheless, he buys it. I wonder if he gets such responses a lot. He’s a nice lad. He offers me coffee and biscuits. His office is huge. The loft even has a window overseeing the city. It should be nice to be an editor. I promise to come up with a social critique of commercialization in medical sector by the end of the week. He consents. He’s such a sweet lad. I am good at chakari.

Friday 1:00

Having spent half my day, walking from one room to another, I questioned myself, in the dreariness of the afternoon, ‘Why does it even matter?’ In the sanctity of my house, I seemed to have collapsed under the influence of an ennui so dreadful that I only realized in the evening, the condition of my mental faculties.

At dusk, I observed a fly banging itself on the glass window. The fly flew voraciously towards the pane and having banged itself on the hard, polished surface; it repeated itself. ‘It is rather foolish of the fly’ I reckoned but thereafter soon grasping how I had been banging myself into an invisible window in the form of employment, I was aghast of the similarity between myself and this fly. We were the same. Well, at least, I got bored of the meaningless, incessant banging and got myself out my situation. At least I had the privilege of leaving my window pane on a whim. Then I realized that the poor fly will kill itself and in a paroxysm of sympathy, I drew the window, letting the poor creature fly off to wherever it fancied.

At bedtime, I list my inspirations.

Hemingway. Ganeshman. Kathmandu. Lalitpur. Bhaktapur. Girija. Oli. Prachanda. Nima Rumba. Underside. Cruentus. Tashi dai. Bhimsen Thapa. Maldini. Dostoevsky. Apple. Freud. Woody Allen. Camus. Tolstoy. Star Wars. Peanut Butter. Guevara. Napoleon. Corleone. Manjushree Thapa. We didn’t start the fire? I sigh. I am tired of all these influences. I am a mere scumbag.

Saturday 2:00

I am sleep deprived. I am in desperate need of a routined life. Well, I left my job which somewhat scheduled my time and now I can feel my entrails revolting against my mental faculties. This bohemian life of a story teller is rather repulsive. All I had to do was dispatch diplomatic mails. Here I am trying to get published and I can’t even write a decent paragraph. The office does want me back and I could use some dough. I am almost broke. The Self-Taught Man thinks it’s disgraceful to ask for money with one’s parents. I could use some filial reproaches. They are nuts in the most loveable way. The whole nation has gone nuts anyways. Well, history has it that the bewildered sati of Bhimsen Thapa cursed the country from the burning pyre. If one thinks about it, Kathmandu was probably cursed by a hundred thousand satis. I think I am cursed three times already. I am cursed for being a man. I am cursed for being a resident of Kathmandu. I am cursed for my mere birth in a so-called high caste. The whole of the country is excommunicating people like me for the sake of positive discrimination. The sins of the fathers do remain with us younglings. I should go back to sending mails.

Everyone told me that I shouldn’t quit my job until I had obtained another appointment. Friends. Cousins. Parents. Strangers. When one feels reduced and the learning curve is on all time low, how can one endure the tyranny of monotony, politics and unyielding gossips at offices? When I go to work, I don’t want to think that I am going to office. I want to feel that I am going to work. And how I worked when I did so. The slow gratification from working, I guess, that’s what life all about is, waking up each morning hoping to add to the foundations of yesterday’s work.

Nine Years as a Call Center Agent

It was back in the year 2009, I chanced to read a book which I would later be thankful for influencing my life in a way which that it helped me grow into an audacious and strong-willed person that I feel I am today. Chetan Bhagat’s One Night at the Call Center, a profound masterpiece would later encourage me to become a part of call center industry in Nepal and would also set a benchmark for my professional conduct.   

As a sixteen-year-old teenager, now free and directionless, thrust directly and unprepared from a decade of hostel life at Budhanilkantha School (BNKS), I was now seeking for job opportunities. In school, everyone was equal but now the financial disparity between me and most of my batch mates were real and wide. To survive in Kathmandu, I had to fight against all odds set before me and in the meantime, discover myself.

As fate would have it, I chanced to stumble upon a temporary job opening at a Call Center. I had but little clue that I would work and hone my professional skills as a call center agent for a long time to come. Another decade long journey ensued (in this field) and my journey so far has been exciting, adventurous and filled with of setbacks and comebacks. At this point of time in life, I am proud to say that I am now working as a Freelance Sales Consultant at my own home-based office, registered as NEXT WEB LLC. at United States of America. The memories that have been created through this long and arduous journey will stay with me forever.

Prior to landing my first job as a Junior Sales Executive at Uniweb Technologies, I had to go through weeks of extensive training at Kumaripati, Lalitpur. Based in Kathmandu, Uniweb Technologies was one of the most thriving Call Center at that time. A two week call center sales training would cost me twenty-five hundred rupees; but to my dismay, I had but mere seven rupees in coins in my pocket. I nervously borrowed five hundred rupees from a close friend of my brother and fifteen hundred rupees from an aunt. I was still short of five hundred rupees. But as luck would have it, the owner of Uniweb Technologies chanced to be a maternal uncle of a BNKS junior. He amicably waived the remaining fee.

I learned a valuable lesson that day: No matter how diligent and honest one may be, knowing people was important too, for chances to good luck grew.

During the entire course of this Sales Training I would walk for about three hours from Gongabu to Kumaripati and again walk back the same route in a day. For the next two weeks, I kept the momentum and never missed a class walking for almost six hours a day. I sat for my first job interview after the training with a company called Web Link Solutions. I was in desperate need of this job, for I had managed to pay back all my previously borrowed loans and was again back to clinking the same seven rupees in coins. I didn’t get the job. I was told by the company that I lacked good English language skills. It was probably for the first time in my life that I realized how miserable one feels when one doesn’t get what one needs in life so much. I grew dejected and thought that I will return to my village in Dolpa. I called my mother with the intention of telling her that I longed for home. She replied bravely and tenderly that she will pray for my next interview, if I ever landed one. I started preparing unambitiously and with scant hopes for any such interviews.

About a week later, to my surprise, the same company which had facilitated sales training called me up for an interview. I sat for four decisive hours for the interview along with twenty other potential Sales Agent candidates. I thought that the interview was average. I didn’t mention anything noteworthy. But again, I was lucky. I must add, apart from Chetan Bhagat’s book, I am very grateful in life to a certain movie, The Reader (2008) which I had watched the same week just before the interview. The interviewer, Santa Sir asked all of us in a group discussion session, to brief about the latest movie we had watched. Among all twenty candidates, I was the only individual to have even watched a movie that was released the same year let alone having watched the newest movie. Most of them merely babbled about renowned movies like The Terminator, Titanic and, Jurassic Park.

Being a student of BNKS, I was in habit of watching a movie every Friday and that somehow, uncannily conspired to land me a job in Kathmandu. The interviewer, Santa Sir would also become an important part of my life and career. I got the job. 

I worked at Uniweb for a year. The job started at 8 PM and would end at 5 AM. I gave all I had to this job. It required nine hours of continuous dialing and calling to people on the phone, pitching for sales and pretending to be an American based in U.S.A. We even had a pseudo American names for ourselves. In the first two weeks, I changed my pseudo name four times. I became David, Peter, Ronald, and then Dave, cracking two transfer sales in the first month alone. The first month, known as honeymoon period, is a lenient stretch of time on the contracts of Sales Agents. My Immediate Supervisor and Team Leader, Subash Tamang quickly became my role model. He was a seventeen-year-old Indian-Nepali with unparalleled confidence, attitude, and hunger for sales and numbers. He was my first role model, and I knew that I wanted to be like him and walk in his shoes. Consequentially, I broke the sales record of Uniweb by being in the top of sales chart every month for a year. By the end of fifth month, almost every agent from my batch had left the job and I was the oldest agent already.

I went on to join a startup Call Center called SPARKLEWEBS where I was offered the role of Senior Sales Executive and Supervisor. In addition, owing to my performance at Uniweb, I was also offered a partnership with the apartment-based company. The startup was initiated by Pranish dai, Roshan dai, Bindo dai and Dipesh dai. Pranish dai and Late Roshan dai were colleagues from Uniweb. Joining SPARKLEWEBS turned out to be a right decision for me. I worked enthusiastically and energetically. I learned a great deal of sales techniques. And the added responsibility of a Sales Supervisor helped me grow a lot professionally.

Thereafter, everything changed for good. If it wasn’t for dogged dedication, I doubt I would have made it this far. In the next three years, I worked in two different companies as Sales Supervisor and Sales Team Leader, respectively. By 2013, four years after having left BNKS as a young, anxietic, unprepared, and skeptical individual lacking the wherewithal to survive in Kathmandu, I started as a Freelance Web Consultant and by 2015, I would end up registering my own business in the U.S.A. Today, I am running my own show and I am so damn proud of it.

Most interesting & catchy conversation between Sales Agents and customers I have heard while working at Call Center Web Campaigns:

Conversation One:

Rabbie (Agent) : Sir Can you turn on your computer for me now?
Customer : Sure, what is it you would like to do me now
Rabbie ( Agent ) : Now, can you click on my computer
Customer: Buddy, I am in the USA, How do you expect me to click on your computer from here

Conversation Two:

Bob (Agent): Hello, I would like to talk to Mike ( Customer Name )
Lady on the other end of the line (Customer): Sorry Honey, Mike isn’t in today, I am his mother can I help you with anything?
Bob (Agent) : Hajur Namaste Aunty, Sancahi hunu huncha

Conversation Three:

Customer: I would like to have this advance feature and some other new features integrated in my website
Dave(Agent): Sure, that will cost you additional dollars
Customer: How much extra?
Dave (Agent): $200 at least
Customer: Woe! whay is that so expensive
Dave (Agent): Sir, website is like PAISA FEYKO TAMASHA DEKHO KIND OF STUFF, THE MORE YOU SPEND THE MORE YOU GET.

Lessons I have learned so far: 

  1. You will make a lot of friends.
  2. It can be a long-term career.
  3. You’ll have a lot of fun. That’s very important in work life.
  4. You’ll get chance to enrich your communication and manipulation skills.
  5. You’ll learn to cope up with the dynamics of work pressure and reaching targets.
  6. You sure will be accepting a lot of bullshits, but you’ll learn that, to succeed in life you need to listen more than you speak.

Some Photo Memories I collected along the way in this journey

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