Sunday, October 7, 2012

Glimpses

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 32; the thirty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is 'An Untold Story'

I don’t have an exact recollection of the weather that night.
I think it was warm and sultry. May be accompanied by a light drizzle? I am not too sure.
My father and I were on our way back home after visiting some relatives. He was driving and I was in the passenger seat in front.
After cruising his way through the hustle and bustle of Eldam’s Road in Chennai, he brought the car to a halt behind a long queue of Hondas and Fords and Hyundais waiting for the signal to turn red.
We were indulged in a serious discussion. Again my memory fails me with respect to the topic. Most likely it should have been the traffic conditions, probably the most discussed topic in all the junctions of the city.
Hearing a loud rap on the window I turned. The sight that met my eye has remained indelibly etched in my memory for many years until now. It was a beggar woman, her appearance quintessential; Shabby, dishevelled and clothed in an eclectic mix of rags.  She must have been in her twenties.
She held something close to the glass of the window. When I realized what it was, my heart skipped a beat.
An infant; definitely less than four or five days old!
The foetal fatigue had not worn out completely and her eyes were still closed. They had not begun to take in the horrifying truths of her world.
For now, her only requirement was milk which the mother seemed to be providing. Totally oblivious to the squalor into which she had born, she was sleeping like any other baby. Peacefully.
The signal turned green and we had to move on.

That weekend I went to the Marina beach with my cousins.
Chennai’s beaches are very unique. You get to see a lot of children. Some rolling on the sand throwing huge tantrums; they want their fathers buy the pink-colored sugar candy or the cone of ice-cream. Some holding their parents hands tightly and screaming delightfully as the waves rushed in to kiss their tender feet. Some laughing loudly in mirth as the carousel moved fast, round and round. Some trying to smile despite their fear they felt, as the horses galloped along the shore, carrying them on their backs.

Some earning their bread; or their family’s!
Children selling sundal (a snack made out of boiled chickpeas or groundnuts) or assisting their parents in the chat stalls by acting as waiters are a common sight.
Of late, a newer breed has developed. Those selling cotton buds – the ones used to clean ears. Cotton wrapped around two ends of colorful plastic sticks are neatly placed into zip-lock covers and sold. They sometimes also have safety pin bunches or hairpins.
As my cousins and I sat on the sand chitchatting one group of kids came towards us, each of them holding a plastic tray full of such zip-lock covers.
To the “public” at the beach, these kids are just another menace disturbing their peace while they are trying to have a good family time.
One after the other they kept coming to us asking us to buy the buds.  They would thrust the trays in front of our faces and keep uttering “Its only three for five rupees Akka(sister)”
Among the children, most of the  ten or eleven years of age, was a tiny child who left me flabbergasted and frustrated. She should not have been more than three. With her small stature she was carrying her green plastic tray with some difficulty. Her walking had not steadied yet. She was still transitioning from baby steps to proper walking.
I don’t even know if she had any idea of the concept of money or of buying and selling. She was probably just imitating the act of her older brothers and sisters. Her eyes screamed of pristine innocence.
It was an extremely heart wrenching sight.

What I have quoted here are just two examples.
Every few steps we take would give us many such glimpses into the harsh cruelties and sinister realities of our world. Each one of them would have an untold story to share, the details of which I dare not pursue.
Scenes that can leave us sleepless for nights and hence we tend to avoid; or push to some corner in the mind where it would remain buried under other personal priorities leaving no space for them to surface and prick at our hearts.
One important change required in society is the development of some empathy towards such unfortunate children. Society should STOP looking at them as something undesirable existing in the surroundings analogous to pollution and noise.
Every child born on earth deserves good food, nutrition and education. There are many organizations working towards it. As citizens of the country, it’s everyone’s responsibility to join hands and assist in providing these children with better lives.
HELP! Whenever you can, however you can! It could be money, it could be volunteering, it could be clothes, books anything!

And whenever possible give them something that would cost you nothing. A little warmth and a big smile! 

It was warm!
Very very warm;
After nine long months in my cocoon,
I was suddenly pushed out into the cold;
Cruel Wicked Cold!
My hands, my legs, and my face – Are still tiny;
Laughter, Play and Glee!
I need these too.
For I too, 
Have only one childhood!

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: C.Suresh, Participation Count: 5

107 comments:

  1. This is really saddening... i feel terrible for kids who are forced into begging, and for the destitute elderly... yes, we all must do what we can to help the less fortunate... sadly, most of us have become so apathetic, that we walk past and forget...

    well captured, jaish...

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  2. I'm so proud of you Jayashree for having blogged about this issue. We have become very insensitive with the passage of time. And the more poverty spreads its tentacles, the greater will be the number of such persons who'll come to "disturb" our "nice time".

    People forget that no one likes to do what these children do. They do it because they have no other options.

    You are so right Jayashree when you say that their childhood too is as precious as anyone else's for their's too comes only once.

    You've Written this with such sensitivity that it's bound to move the reader. Hope it does move those many hearts whose love and warmth these children need.

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    1. Hi Anupam

      Thanks for the generous words of praise. I too hope the same.

      As you rightly pointed out, no one does all this out of choice. Its usually out of helplessness.

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  3. The poem at the end was beautiful!

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  5. Jaish, that was heart breaking... no other words to say
    the way you have put in gave lump in my throat...
    I experienced one such situation with a 1 year kid in an orphanage, his mother was insane and left unattended in road and died immediately after giving birth and that miniatures was admitted in an orphanage by a police man...
    his face stuck in my heart till now...

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    1. Atleast some policeman had the heart to admit him in an orphanage instead of leaving him at the mercy of the street! Thanks for the comment Satish.

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  6. The story is great and the poem really nice:)
    A wonderful combination!
    All the best Jaish:)

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  7. Wonderful extrapolation of the topic .. I congratulate you for using this opportunity to exhort everyone to do their bit .. Well done Jaish and all the best for the contest !!

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  8. I am speechless Jaish ! esp the poem was very touching .

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  9. Great write up of the situation of beggars prevailing in each of the metro's. I had read a report as to how the kids are forced into this begging profession and some of them are maimed to garner public sympathy and get more alms. Nice poem to top it up. All the best Jaishree for BAT 32

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    1. This seems to be prevalent only in some countries like India. I sometimes dont have answers as to why some children need to suffer like this. Thanks for stepping in Engram.

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  10. GOD.
    although it is a beautiful write up.. but the situations that make someone beg to live is always sad ..

    Bikram's

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    1. Yes Bikram, extremely sad situations they are. And if somebody is forced to do it, its a crime. Hope one day we are able to eliminate it from the face of our country.

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  11. The feeling of helplessness it generates.

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  12. Its quite saddening to have such experiences.
    The poem was very beautiful and emotional.

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    1. If one has the time to stop observe and think, our cities are brimming with experiences like these Vinay! Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Beautiful and poignant Jaish... I always wish every child gets to live his/her childhood no matter what!

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    1. I agree Me. Unfortunately it does not happen many a time and its sooooo sad!

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  14. Oh my, Jaish, the last lines in purple are really thought provoking.
    "For I too, have only one childhood"
    Very nicely written Jaish :)
    Keep it up :)

    Regards,

    Jay
    http://road-to-sanitarium.blogspot.in/

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  15. Sad and true...very touching Jaish...you have captured everything so well..the scene unfolds in front of my eyes as I read it...we cant break the cycle, but any small act we do could make a difference in their lives...beautifully written..

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    1. Thanks FIF. Yes, small acts can go a long way.

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  16. The poem is like an icing on the cake of a sensitive issue you raised.... nicely written Jaish ...

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    1. Thanks Amit. Yet to read your Blogaton entry. WIll do so soon.

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  17. Very moving Jaish! It is rare for me to have tears in my eyes after reading an essay!

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    1. That comment made my day Suresh, Thank you. I wrote this post from my heart. Both these incidents happened to me and have deeply impacted me.

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  18. The sad reality which stares at us every day! As a people we have failed to meet the aspirations of people at all levels, by not having addressed even the basics of life especially to children who deserve better:( A poignant depiction, Jaishree!

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    1. Thank you Rahul. Thats the best way of putting it.

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  19. It is very saddening to see a childhood being ravaged,we feel bad about it,some of us don't know what to do about it,while some actually make a difference,but we move on & get entangled in our own affairs,while the child becomes an adult superfast.

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    1. I agree Indu. And children keep coming one after another yet, we have failed to tackle the basic issue. Our money minded looting society has fallen to unimaginable depths.

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  20. speechless post jaish - amazingly narrated and the poem was so touchy

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  21. Very sad reality that makes your heart bleed every time you see someone like that. I remember being in a bus with my mom and this lady at the traffic signal kept trying to adjust a 'weight' on her hand and other begging stuff and rags she had in the other. The apparent disregard with which she handled the 'weight' made me feel that it couldn't be a baby. But my Mom was convinced it was. And it indeed was. Hardly a couple of days. Shudder :( Kudos to you for having highlighted this post, lately nowadays I see that we seem to have more and more topics worth highlighting - education, poverty, corruption, crime (regular ones and those of a sexual nature), road rage, teaching and the list goes on. I wonder if somehow collectively our voices are reaching the intended audience or not!
    PS: I am sure you meant waiting for the signal to turn green :)

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    1. I just noticed the green part this morning and I was curious about who would point it out first. Not sure if I can edit and correct it now since it's part of a contest : D

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    2. I could not help think how that woman managed to mother a baby in the midst all of her penury.May be she was a victim of sexual exploitation on the street? She cant manage her own self leave alone the baby? And yeah Deepa, I was thinking a lot of your series story as I wrote this.

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  22. Sad but true! We tend to overlook these issues in the society, that are so deeply routed, sometimes you are appaled, I cant help not help the old bones in rags, But we all know, its a an issue , bigger thanit looks like, and will probably take forever to go, maybe never?
    Fist time on your blog and will be back for more :)

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    1. Thanks Poonam and do keep coming :)

      I sincerely hope that it goes someday.

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  23. I got goosebumps jaish. Ver powerful write up. Somehow we are becoming insensitive isn't it. I hope before we degrade more, reality checks -posts like these are needed.
    well done

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  24. Jayshree...Congrats on writing this poignant post!This is sharp and scathing; it gives the reader something to think about and that's great...
    Very well written as usual...

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  25. Indeed we tend to look upon the poor, especially the children in the same way as pollution and noise, as you have pointed out. They are at the lowest end of the new caste system based on affluence and hence shunned and treated with contempt. You are right, these images refuse to leave out minds and conscience.

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    1. Hi Zephyr

      Thanks for stepping in and the comment. The indifference is more disturbing than their plight!

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  26. I am good enough to comment on such poignant post... The message iss very touchy as well as inspiring...

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  27. You reminded me of the same scene that I witnessed just a few months after delivering my first child. The beggar woman, weeping slightly, and carrying a baby in her arms; half naked and sound asleep. I was at the back of my husband's scooter, which drove off before I could react. I was upset for many days at what I felt the life of that sweet infant must be. Just by a quirk of fate!

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    1. I agree Roshni. By just a quirk of fate these infants get thrown into horrible lives!

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  28. Very well written Jaish. The sensitivity we often lack is oozing out of this post. How often we turn back and see what life has to offer to lesser fortunate?

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    1. We dont actually have to turn back Jas . They keep coming in front of our eyes . In the rat races everyone is in they just get ignored . Thanks for stepping in .

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  29. I am happy that you took this issue to blog about... It is really sad, our insensitivity that is. We deliberately choose to overlook the harsh reality that surrounds us in order to live in our comfortable bubble oblivious to the world outside...

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    1. Thanks for the comment Rajrupa. You have summarized well in a nutshell.

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  30. Hi Jaish, Congratulations on a beautiful post. It left me numb. It is an everyday sight and yet we bypass it without even a thought.

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    1. I am glad it made you think on those lines ilakshee. Thanks for the comment.

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  31. You are winning a prize for sure for this touching post :)

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    1. Thank you Mahesh. I just took the opportunity to vent out some thoughts that have been running in my head for quite some time. If it makes people think and may be act that would be the best prize I can get.

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  32. your website is good, but always try to improve it or innovate and it’ll be even better.Take it as a Suggestion.

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    1. Thanks a lot WDD for the suggestion :)

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  33. Poignant and touching..thought provoking issue..

    All the best for BAT

    I am here
    http://odizzey.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/an-untold-story/

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  34. I feel numb after reading this...Will come back and comment..till then, I appreciate you really for writing something so moving!

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    1. Thank you Divya. If I am not wrong you work with children rt? So you would be able to relate very well I guess.

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  35. That poem of yours says a lot. Beautifully written.
    All the best for the contest.

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  36. Such a sad story and you have raised some very valid points. Powerful writing, Jaish.

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    1. Thank you Rachna. If a lovely writer like you are finding it powerful then I guess i succeeded in conveying what I wanted to. Thanks again for stepping in.

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    2. Poignant writeup, jaishree. Valid points.

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  37. Indeed, no child should be denied his childhood. Agree wholeheartedly!

    www.anucreations.blogspot.com
    www.facebook.com/VolatileSpirits

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  38. Just desire to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post isj ust excellent and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the rewarding work.

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    1. Thank you so much for stepping in and I am no expert on anything :) I just wrote what I thought of about this whole thing :) Thanks again.

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  39. Loved the way you brought the issue forward :)
    ATB for BAT!

    please do read my entry: http://ponderingtwo.blogspot.in/2012/10/love-torn.html

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    1. Thanks a lot Rohan. Will definitely read your post.

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  40. I commend you for writing on such a sensitive topic, Jaish. Yes, we all see them everyday in almost every nook and corner but we don't do much other than feeling pity for them, instead of helping them in some way or another. I respect the fact that you not only gave two touching instances (out of million other instances) but also tried to provide a solution for this apathy, which I admire the most. We need to give importance to your last paragraph and do something about it, instead of ignoring them or feeling pity for them.

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    1. Thanks Akshay. Yes, if all us do something in our capacity it will go a long way.

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  41. The idea was put forward through simple words,still it had a powerful effect on the readers.
    Loved the poem :)

    Do visit mine http://www.stylisharjun.blogspot.in/2012/10/an-untold-story.html

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  42. Thanks for posting this issue. We all need to act in our own way to eradicate the misery of children and even adults!

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    1. Thanks Aativas. I agree, a united action is the need of the hour.

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  43. very saddening, painful and shows how incencitive we have become
    ATB for BAT :)

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  44. First of all, I wish to compliment you for your writing, it is very nicely penned and conveyed. Simple yet thought provoking! You have very nicely utilized the theme of 'An Untold Story' to highlight a basic norm prevalent in our society. The poem in the end just reflected how "innocent and naive" childhood is to one and all..
    All the best to you for BAT 32. :)

    You have a follower.. :)

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    1. Thank you so much Megha. Glad that you liked the post.

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  45. Combining story and poem!! Very nice!!!

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  46. "Marina" - a place houses several hundred kids! Miga alaghana pathipu :) Keep writing. Good Luck :)

    Someone is Special

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  47. some incidents remain ingrained in our mind for ever because of their humane nature.
    nice work done reminding people living in comfort about those who are not.

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    1. Everyone needs to be aware of it I suppose...That there are less fortunate amongst us who deserve a better life! Thank you for stepping in

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  48. You have a writer's heart and soul..! Both episodes are touching and heart breaking but the first one is extra ordinarily written :D

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  49. It’s an unchanged situation that needs certain attention... as we develop we need to envelope them also. But only few act on their thoughts.

    the narrative was moving.

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    1. Yes Jeevan. Very few stop to think leave alone act.Thanks for the comment.

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  50. You are becoming my favorite BAT writer??? Looks like.

    I liked the post a lot. The ending with the poem was nice too.

    There are many of us who do feel bad about this... but we just don't know what to do. Many a times, even if we ask them if they'd like to study, their parents etc are not willing. I have heard stories about people running begging business. They feed beggars and make them beg.

    I think I hate them (if it's true). Slowly, out of helplessness, I started becoming ignorant. Can't say insensitive. But I do feel bad, very bad. The only thing that worked for me was to take birth in a decent family. Else, there's no difference between them and me.

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  51. Hi kshitij
    Thanks a ton for those encouraging words of praise . You seem to have clearly grasped what I was trying to convey :) thanks for stepping in

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  52. Very inspiring post. The poem at the end was amazing.:-)

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  53. It's really pathetic to see such instances around us. You have portrayed it well, but the real question is still on us..what are we doing to eradicate such evils from our society?

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    1. True Diwakar. We are doing almost nothing other than crib about it! Thanks for stepping in.

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  54. Hello there, I found your site by way of Google at the same time as looking for a related topic, your site got here up, it seems to be great. I’ve bookmarked to my favourites|added to bookmarks.

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