Issue 06

Home Vol. III Issue 06

Editorial

Just an hour remains for the significant date of 1st April to pass by and we for a moment were rather worried about missing another deadline, but thankfully circumstances and fate did not make a fool of us and some how we scraped in to finish within the deadline.

As the world continues to pass by through its myriad kaleidoscopic timeline, we decided to tarry a little to ponder about the so called “Fools” and we could not help but remember the phrase – Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.  How lucky we were to have some of the greatest fools like Galileo, Columbus, Vasco Da Gama, Yuri Gagarin who ‘rushed’ in where angels did indeed fear to tread.  And how ironical it is that the little knowledge that we have managed to aquire for our benefit about this vast mysterious universe is because of some far sighted fools who went against the tide so that their fellow beings could sail in comfortable waters.

Maybe the state that we are in , socially, eco biologically and every other “- ally” of the preceding two, needs some bold fools to deliver us all from the impending doom.  Not that we don’t have any , but we need some more, to dare, to experiment, to be different. Yes, we need some more “Fools” to make a big difference.  Hence in our April First Issue, we have tried to maintain and uphold the theme of – Being Bold and Duty Fool. We have an interview of musician Akashdeep Gogoi who tries to be different  with his latest offering Xurr ; Col Jay Mishra relates to us about his African Safari carried in two parts, the first being published this issue; we also have a feature on an  innovative presentation called Local Kungfu which has been widely acclaimed , Laveena speaks about the power of youth, Mishi about parasailing while Priyanka delivers about the power of Social Media, a technological boon of this century plus we have Shahwar narrating about his childhood daredevil acts Sankhya’s fiction on a bold theme and of course our regular features.

Hope the next fortnight we achieve in bringing out the daredevil side of you through our e zine and make it amemorable experience for you.

Once again celebrating the sweet innocent foolishness in us, Happy April Fools day.

 

Manipadma

Executive Editor

 

Tinam Bora

Copy Editor

Xuur: Melody unchained- Akash Deep Gogoi

Multi talented musician Akashdeep Gogoi and his band Dhairya was the second runnersup in the MTV Rock on contest cum reality talent show, but Akashdeep Gogoi and his band could have been the winner if the NE media coverage of the band would have been active- That is what a section of the audience felt when they ran short of votes in the finale of the contest. But a true talent can never be pulled down or overshadowed and Akashdeep Gogoi shone through to perform in many other important platforms. We bring before you a brief conversation that we had with the upcoming musician where he has speaks about his dreams, trials and tribulations and his latest release, a ballad Xurr

 

@What is idea behind ‘Xuur”?

‘Xurr’ means melody ….My first aquaintence with xurr happened when I was a kid of about 3 or 4 years. I clearly remember sitting on my mother’s lap during the evening hours watching the setting sun and the red sky,back then we used to stay in the hills of Krishna Nagar near Holy child school Guwahati.Therefore everything was visible to me from that hill.Sittting on the front verandah on my mom’s lap she would sing songs to me like AMARE MOINA …..BARIRE BOGORI BUTOLI KHABO,
MAA AAMI SADIYA LE JAAM E,DEUTA BEGOTE AAHIBI,EI MATITITE MOROMOTE..and various others. This is how I came to know about songs,melody and music.Thats why I have written ……

Neela akash jetiya senduriya  hoi,

Monole ahe Loralir hei kotha.

Tumi Guwa hei geet abeli porote,

Gun gunabo khuje mone Janaa…..

And Nostalgia follows……….Thanks Mom !

I had never ever  thought that I could write songs in Assamese not even in my dreams. I always asked help from my friends who were more into writing but somehow I never felt ok with their kind of writing not ignoring the fact that some of them were too good but they were just not right for my kind of music. I love simplicity…and therefore my lyrics are simple, as a matter of fact it is simple because I don’t know enough of the poetic  language in Assamese,Though my Late father was a poet and a writer I did not inherit any of his writing talents.

Through this song I have tried to relate my entire journry as a musician…my memories ,my present, my past ,my love and my passion all lies in ‘XURR’
@You have been part of a reality show. Has that helped you as a catalyst in your career so far?

To some extent ,I would say yes….because I made a lot of friends and I am working toghether with atleast some of them,But I expected a lot more.

People have a laid back attitude towards musicians(instrumentalists) in comparison to singers. During the final stages of the contest I approached a lot of media people in Assam to give me some kind of publicity or coverage but I could get none.

It was really embarassing for me when I remembered about Zee Sa re ga ma pa winner 2005 and Sutasi runner up(during that same year) They were everywhere and ME was not there even in a corner of a brief news column.Pathetic….

@At a time when music industry is going through a rough patch, how do ensure commercial viability of an album?
I m not thinking of making money by releasing an album,I just want my music to reach the right kind of people who are interested in something new.Internet has been very helpful…….

@Like movies, the music distribution industry has undergone a sea change. People are releasing albums without the backing of the well known labels. Your comments on this.

These well known Music Labels will not release your album unless you put down your own money into it and therefore only the rich non talented artists can enjoy this facility..

@Do you foresee a change in the way non-film music is beheld in India?

Bollywood rules in India…..but the style of music has kept changing and will keep on changing..

The Janata crowd will enjoy Munni,Sheela,Chammak Challo and Jalebi Bai which is going to continue anyways,non film music has a very slim chance of survival in such a situation.

@Apart from this album, what has kept you busy since “Rock On”?
Oh ! Nothing much, I joined a band called Zedde and played a lot in the pub and club circuit till last year. 2011 has been the turning point of my life,I was called to play for Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs in one of the three bands. Thank God ! And I thank the Creative team for introducing the new three band concept last year. It was here that lot of people from the other two bands spotted me and called me to play with artists like Salim Suleiman and Sunidhi Chauhan….Now I am happy  most of the time…

Thank you !

An African safari by Col Jay Mishra- Part I

    2

    The patience of being so long in Africa, DRC (Democratic Republic Of Congo) and not being able to see the great River Nile was finally over my head. I packed my bag and headed out for a long awaited R&R (Rest & Recuperation) with two of my colleagues who are real Gems, namely Ashutosh Tandon and Nitin Kumar Tyagi. The start as always was more than expected. You might be ignored or least wanted in any organization throughout the year but just before your leave or on the day your leave is to start or you have to leave your office, all the important decisions/works will start looking right into your face. There will be important assignments, events or presentations before you can pack your bags.

    I was told in the morning that I should give a presentation on our African Safari to the top man by the evening of 1st Feb as we had planned to leave for GOMA, from RIWINDI, early on the morning on 02nd Feb 2012 by 0700 hrs. I reached the office and asked for the time to brief the top man and was told it will be at 1830hr on 1st Feb. I organized my team of officers and got down to put up a good show. My gems , Tandon and Tyagi , had already got the things on board and after a few clarifications we were ready. At around 1900hr on 1st Feb we were told the presentation will be now on 02nd Feb at 0930hr.We communicated that we will be late as we had planned to leave Riwindi by 0900hr on 02nd Feb. But that was not heard.

    On 2nd Feb  the team led by me was ready to do the  prentation to the top man at 0920hr and we kept waiting till 1330 hr.  We decided that it would be wise if we finished our lunch and than wait for the presentation to happen. We finished our lunch and went back to wait for the top man to bless us. Finally around  1410 hr the orders came that the topman will hear our presentation (or our prayer) . We did the presentation around 1430 hr and than we left for GOMA around 1445hr on 2nd Feb 2012.( our was a special group which briefed the topman as the group previous to us did not do so and the ones which went after us also were not required to do so)

    Though we were late by the standard time of our departure from Riwindi, we were happy that now we were at least moving and will be soon in GOMA. It took us approximately six hours to reach GOMA , which included a tea break at KATALE where we were hosted well by 13 Sikh. We did not waste much time in shaking ourselves back into the leave mood and at around 2115hr we three and one more officer, Ashok Tiwari went out to LINDA HOTEL in GOMA, where we were met by a dear friend of Ashutosh Vishesh Arora.

    Linda Hotel is a very beautifully decorated and located on the banks of lake Kivu. We decided to sit outside in the open with lake Kivu making a pleasant noise a few feets from us .We ordered the staple diet i.e beer and pizza’s , sizzlers and fish. Vishesh , whom I had met for the first time was instrumental in getting all of us together that day and was a very good host. We managed to reach our rooms around midnight.

     

    On 3rd Feb we were up and early as we had to catch the UN Chartered flight to BENI ( DRC) and further to ENTEBBE (UGANDA). The flight was scheduled for 0900hr and the check in was at 0730hrs. We arrived at the GOMA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT and went for the luggage check-in. The staff was courteous and we were allowed in with our packed breakfast, with a warning to finish it off before boarding the plane. We pounced upon our breakfast package which had sandwiches & fruits. There  were some more known faces with us , namely Chauhan, Rakesh, Tushar, Sunil etc. Notes on the places we were visiting were exchanged and we were happy to learn that we had struck a better bargain than all the others.

     

    The  Flight  N803, an AN24 , took off around 0930hr on 03rd Feb and an Russian Airhostess briefed us about the safety features of the aircraft. I am sure non of us could look beyond the features of the air hostess and did not hear anything except “Good Morning Gentleman”. Our plane landed at Beni Airport, which is basically in MAVIVI, in DRC. BENI town is approximately 12  KM from here . We saw a JORDANIAN SF BN, NEPAL BN, and SOUTH AFRICAN BN bases there. The runway was  a make shift and so was the Airport. Basically the plane refuels here  and then heads for ENTEBBE, in UGANDA.

     

     

    We took off around 1045hr from BENI and landed at ENTEBBE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, UGANDA around 1210hr. After the necessary documentation and immigration formalities we headed for the flight booking office on the first floor of the Airport .I stayed down and kept an eye on the luggage and my gems went  for the Air tickets.  We got the tickets from ENTEBBE to ZANZIBAR, in TANZANIA and return for 5th Feb  and 12 Feb 2012 respectively for $400 each, in the Precision Air Lines.

    Taken care of the air tickets , we were now famished and headed towards the cafeteria on the airport itself. The rate list displayed was mind boggling, namely a samosa was USG 2000, coffee for USG 7000 etc.(US 1 $=2305 USG). We immediately got working on the conversion rate and heaved a sign of relief. We took our staple diet and Nitin  gave a call to his old friend to arrange for a cab. Shortly afterwards a person approached us and informed that he is the cab driver , Mr GODFREY, who will be at our service. We came out of the Airport and saw a beautiful Toyota Corolla, G –TOURING waiting for us. We placed our luggage in it and jumped in. The ride was smooth and to our surprise it was a right hand driven vehicle and traffic was moving on the left hand side , just like “APNA INDIA”. So much of diversity inside Africa.

     

    We were moving with a fast moving traffic an excellent roads. The driver was superb and we realized that it was a “NO HORN” country. People were moving quietly without honking and waiting for their turn to pass or move. We travelled from ENTEBBE  to KAMPALA , the Capital of UGANDA , which took about an hour plus and approx $ 30. We reached the hotel SPEKE, around 1630hr. Hotel SPEKE is named after Mr John Hanning Speke, who was on a pioneering 1862-63 expedition team around lake Victoria, who first controversially suggested that a small water fall flowing northwards out of the lake might be the legendary spring- a theory whose accuracy was confirmed more than ten years later by Mr Stanley, and thus source of river Nile was found to be based in JINJA , approximately 85KM from KAMPALA.

     

    The hotel SPEKE, built in 1920, is located in the heart of Kampala, at 7-9 Nile Avenue, on Nakasero Hill, close to the Grand Imperial Hotel and the Kampala Sheraton Hotel. This location is close to banks, shopping arcades and offices, in the middle of Kampala’s central business district is ideally located in the heart of the city. The view from the hotel room was enchanting. We changed and got out to travel the city and were on the road by 1730hr. We went straight to the Grand Imperial Hotel and exchanged our dollars for the Ugandan shillings. We were rolling in money now. It was the first time I had seen a single currency note worth 20,000/-.

     

    We went to the famous shopping mall, called “NAKUMATT”. “NAKUMATT”  is a wholly Kenyan, privately held company, owned by the Atul shahFamily and Hotnet Limited. It is a Kenyan supermarket chain. Nakumatt is an abbreviation for Nakuru Mattresses. The Mall is spread over a very wide area and just as grand as any of our super malls in India. We bought three T-shirts , each costing approximately USG 28,800/- each. We were foxed to spend over a lakh plus amount in a few seconds . After this we went to the Garden City, in the adjacent building , which too is a grand shopping mall.

     

    We came back to our hotel room , changed and went straight for the restaurant for dinner around 2045hrs. We were met with a number of people who were from India, namely Mr Ramesh, Mr Gonzalez, etc. During the course of our dinner one of our friend from the flight , Mr Andre Hein, from Germany , too joined us. We finished our dinner around 2330hrs and moved to the Rock Garden Bar, a pub cum disco joint , which is a part of the SPEKE hotel. The place was full of skimpily clad young girls/ ladies and people from all parts of the world were there. The girls were trying to catch the attention of men with their gestures , dance or by directly introducing themselves. Many a couples were seen hanging around with their bodies so close that air could barely pass between them. I came back to my room and slept.

     

    On 04th feb 2012 we had to get up early in the morning as we knew the breakfast buffet was very filling and on the house to but only till 1000AM. We all were ready and at the table by 0930. It was a lavish spread of fruits, ham, bacon, sand witches, cutlets, muffins, donuts, eggs to order , milk, fruit juice and coffee. We picked what ever we could and started ravishing it. We ordered for Spanish omelet too as we had a very hectic day ahead of us. We finished our “MAHARAJA BREAKFAST” by around 1020 and went to our waiting cab with Mr Godfrey at the wheels.

    We had planned to see the source of river Nile, which is at a place called JINJA. JINJA lies in southeastern UGANDA, approximately 54 miles (87 km), by road, east of Kampala. The town is located on the shores of Lake Victoria, near to the source of the Nile River. The town is also the location of the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College. Jinja is the largest metropolitan area in Jinja District, and is considered the capital of the Kingdom of Busoga.  JINGA in local language means “rock”. There is a good tarmac  road east of Kampala  to Jinja . We were prepared well for the ride, the moment we hit the road, we took out the king of beer, CORONA, laced it with lemon and enjoyed it with the lush green scenery which was eye catching. The area is rich in sugarcane, tea and minerals. There is a sports stadium in the city center as well as a football and athletics stadium in Bugembe, another suburb of Jinja, approx 5 miles, called NELSON MANDELA STADIUM.

     

    We reached Jinja around 1150, and after paying a entry fee of USG 40000 at the barrier we went down a steep concrete staircase to the bank of River Nile. The sight was quite impressive. The water was flowing with a great speed and it was deep green. The bank on our side had a sports bar with all the walls decorated with the playing jersey’s of all the world best Football teams. We fixed our boat  tour of the River Nile with a tour guide for USG 30000/ person for half an hour. Before we  embarked on our journey we placed our order for lunch at the sports bar for fresh Talapia fish and rice.

     

    The Boat ride was a pleasure, the Nile was aggressively trying to force us to its direction of the flow ,i.e, northwards, and we were forcing our way towards the south. The Nile is the world’s longest river at 4,135 miles. It has two sources, one at Lake Victoria, in Uganda (the White Nile) and one at Lake Tana, in Ethiopia (the Blue Nile).White Nile leaves Lake Victoria at Ripon Falls near Jinja, Uganda, as the Victoria Nile. It flows for approximately 500 kilometres (300 mi) farther, through Lake Kyoga, until it reaches Lake Albert. After leaving Lake Albert, the river is known as the Albert Nile. The Blue Nile is the source of most of the water and fertile soil. It begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia and flows  into Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet near the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

    The guide showed us the place where the lake Victoria was merging with the spring which mysteriously was coming from nowhere and the start of the great white nile was forming up in front of us. We also saw the small man made island where small shop were made for tourists like us. INDIA has a very momentous and historical connect with Jinja as some of Mahatma Gandhi‘s ashes were scattered into the source of the White Nile. There is a small memorial garden at the spot. There is an active Hindu temple near Jinja, which has a bronze bust of Gandhi .we prayed for the departed soul and wished him to bless us.

     

    The journey was a bliss but our stomach was calling for the staple diet. We ordered beer nile and our lunch too was served with a complete Talapia fish to savior with rice. We were amazed at the preparation and without wasting a second started with our bare hands to finish the task at hand. The journey back from jinja was completed with a visit to two famous malls before the kampala town, Lugogo Mall, Jinja Rd Stores which  includes a Barclays Bank, a large Shoprite supermarket and Game, a huge DIY and household shop . It was the first time I had seen a super market where you could shop from a pin to a hardware items, garden tool, camping gear, cycles, and you name it.

    We reached our room by 1945hr took bath and headed for the restaurant , ordered beer and sizzler for dinner. One of our friend Mr Andre Hein  joined us for dinner and we enjoyed it till 2330 hr.  We went to the rock garden bar after this and had a few beers there and then Mr hein and I left for our respective room for a good night sleep, as Mr Hein was to catch an early  morning flight to Berlin.

    Early morning of 5th Feb 2012, we got up at 0530 as our flight for Dar es Salaam , via Kilimanjaro was to leave at 1230 hrs. We all dressed up in a hurry , went for the “King Breakfast” and were ready to move out by 1000hr, when we remembered that we have given our clothes for calendaring and they have not been delivered yet. Lot of frenetic calls were made to the house keeping but nothing seemed to be moving , after lots of shouting and persuation we were able to get our clothes back and we rushed towards the ENTEBBE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. We were in time for the check –in and heaved a sign of relief once inside the immigration window.

     

    To be concluded in the next part.

    A Void

    The yellow afternoon melted into a golden dusk and then into an inky blue evening, even as I sat by the window staring aimlessly at heaven knows what. Off late, I realize, this seems to have become a daily routine. And I rue the fact that I know I could be doing, should be doing, so much other than just let time slip by. Each morning I wake up with a resolve of making this day different and better, but honestly speaking I myself am getting a little tired of watching my resolve wane even as morning turns into afternoon that turns into evening. I mean, before I know it, the day is over and I am right where I was. Until the next morning when it all starts over again.

    Shekhu sincerely believes this is a phase, the dear guy. What would I have done without him? Sometimes I think the only moment I am truly alive is when he comes back home from office each evening, and the moment I open the door he hugs me like he hadn’t seen me for months. Four years of  marriage, and I still am unabashedly in love with him. But then again, it doesn’t really feel like four years to me. Except when I take out our wedding photos now and then and go over them for the umpteenth time, and wish I looked as young now as I did then in them.  Shekhu says I am still the new bride to him, and all my friends tease me even now about how Shekhu seemed to have skipped over the bit where the honeymoon is supposed to end. Which reminds me, it has been quite a long time I haven’t been in touch with many of my friends. Tanisha, the last time I spoke to her, was on her maternity leave and whining about how she was losing sleep over her newborns. And I remember thinking, “Twins? Wow, ain’t that lucky?” Shweta must have already shifted to China to be with her scientist husband, and I remember she had been deliberating for a long time on whether or not to leave her son with her mother. Wonder if she took him with her after all. Now why did I stop talking with Ruchika? Ah, right. She’d said something snide about my slender figure and how maybe I thought not having a baby was a good idea, for the sake of the way I look. If only she knew…

     

    “Didi chawal banau ki roti?” Malati interrupts my trail of thoughts, and it is only as I turn to look at her that I realize I had forgotten to turn on the lights again. The streetlight from outside had flooded the marble floor of my bedroom with streaks of orange, and the shadow of that eucalyptus tree in front of the window had made space for itself in the corner, while the shadows of its fluttering leaves kept flickering. Almost as if they were indecisive about where to settle. So much like my mind.

     

    “Didi?” Malati whispers this time, and I recognize this whisper as a sign that she is worried and a little scared. Poor girl sees me sit by the window every afternoon with a cup of tea in my hands, and a book on my lap. And then each evening she tiptoes into the bedroom to see if I am okay and finds me sitting in the dark. She always has a pretext to interrupt me, though. That day, at six in the evening, it is to talk about dinner .

     

    “Roti banade beta”, I humor her. We both know the charade. She walks slowly towards me, I smile and nod at her. She picks up the stone cold cup of tea, barely half finished, from the windowsill, and closes the book that lies face down next to it. She smiles back at me with all the warmth of a wise mother, and I marvel without fail at how this puny little fifteen year old manages to make me feel guilty for idling my time away and fostering my musings; letting them take over me. She turns on the lights on her way out, and that is usually my cue to leave my seat by the window.

     

    That day, though, I keep sitting on the loveseat, hugging my knees close to my chest, staring blankly out of the window. And that is exactly how Shekhu finds me when he reaches home an hour later.

     

    “How goes Project Butt-Print-On-Loveseat?” he teases me, once I am snuggled in his engulfing arms. I take a few whiffs of his leather jacket and smile as I look up to him.

     

    “Oh, good progress I am making, you know. By next week you should be able to see a permanent butt print on that plush loveseat for sure” I reply, waving my hand dramatically.

     

    Honestly, our private jokes are what I love the best about our marriage. Trust Shekhu to make a joke out of anything, even of this hopelessly downbeat habit I’ve picked up off late.

     

    “And how goes Project Finish-Book?” he asks again.

     

    I make a face in reply and he shakes his head, tousling my hair playfully even as he pulls me closer to him.

     

    During dinner that night Shekhu tries to talk to me about a long pending vacation. A change of scenery might be good for me, he says, and adds that he is ready to take me to any goddamn place of my choice. From Alaska to Timbaktu, he jokes. Even as I smile and nod while he talks animatedly, all I do is wonder how much pain he is hiding inside him. He thinks I have not noticed those faint lines on his handsome forehead, but I am his wife, after all. I always have been so observant of him, right from the first day of our marriage. “Are you sure yours isn’t a love marriage?” Shekhu’s aunt had asked me when she’d met me for the first time, hoping to dig up some gossip she could then spice up. “You really didn’t know each other before that matrimonial site?” she had persisted. To which Shekhu’s mother had vehemently replied, “My son always wanted to marry his mother’s choice ji. Only after I approved of Preeti beti, after looking at her photos and asking around, did they meet.” Shekhu’s mother had then kept looking right into his aunt’s eyes, almost as if challenging her to ask any further questions. Being the new bride I naturally had lowered my head, as I was taught by my mother, but even then I had felt the tension in the air as palpable as my mother-in-law’s shallow breaths of anger.

     

    No one dared talk about the accident afterall.

     

    The accident. The terrible bike accident that changed my Shekhu’s life forever. He doesn’t like to talk about it much, although I wish he did. I know sometimes he still has nightmares of that day, because each time he does, he breaks into cold sweat and wakes up, and then he can’t go to sleep for the rest of the night. The irony of this is that the accident was the first thing Shekhu told me about himself. “If you choose to marry me, all I can assure you is that you will be equally affected by my accident” he had said, very bluntly. I remember my first dreamy thought being “Anything for you, my Adonis!” but even as I let myself drown in those deep set eyes, I realized that what he was saying was indeed very serious. The words emergency and vasectomy vaguely reached my ears, and a few minutes after that I left the restaurant with the lame pretext of a forgotten appointment. But that night, and for nights after that, I lay on my bed trying hard to flush out the image of this dashingly handsome man in a white shirt and blue jeans staring at me intently even as I hurriedly took off. What I couldn’t erase was the way in which he’d looked at me, a look which said, “This is who I am. Take me or leave me.” There was defiance in his eyes, not arrogance, and after two whole weeks of ruminating over that one meeting, I had decided to give him another chance. Even though it meant I was actually considering a childless life.

     

    “Preeti?” I hear Shekhu call out, and I realize I had been gaping at him for the last five minutes. He looks at me with so much concern it aches my heart. He has been doing everything he can, and then some more, to make sure I am happy and healthy, and I know I haven’t been able to meet him halfway.

     

    I give him my best smile and sigh, “You *are* my Adonis, aren’t you?”

     

    Shekhu grins, that boyish grin of his, and rubs his cheeks with his palm.

     

    “Ah, someone should have told me the grey peeking through three-day stubble is stuff Greek Gods are made of” he says.

     

    I laugh, tad exaggeratedly, and we talk about our vacation for the rest of our dinner.

     

    When we had decided to get married, I was in the favor of keeping my parents in the dark until absolutely necessary but Shekhu had insisted they be told everything before the marriage was arranged. It had taken a lot of convincing to my parents, and I would forever be grateful to my brother for assuring my parents of enough grandchildren so they would not miss my side of progeny. For the best interests, this piece of information was kept away from relatives, although a fair share of rumors did make the rounds. A masked advice here, a subtle reproach there; I didn’t let anything get to me. Shekhu was so easy to fall in love with I couldn’t hope for anything more than to be his wife. Even if my mother had taken to breaking into tears each time she saw one of my cousin’s kids, I had been able to assure her this was what I wanted.

     

    I look at my husband lying next to me, watching cartoons and laughing like he is a ten year old, and I can’t help but smile. Shekhu is all I want. Or so I have been telling myself for the past four years. Heaven knows Shekhu has given me everything I need and everything I want, and yet I somehow feel empty. I had never been obsessed about babies, and while friends oohed and aahed over toothless babies and talked gibberish and made funny faces, I had always been more reserved in my affection. No wonder it had come as a surprise on that day when Shekhu and I had gone to see Ruchika’s new  born, and I had started weeping uncontrollably in the car on our way home. Shekhu made a joke about mood swings, while I tried to find an explanation for it. We left things at that.

     

    “Will you be staying up late tonight again Preeti?” Shekhu asks me, his eyes still glued to the TV. If I didn’t know him any better, I would have said it is because he finds the floor mop commercial really interesting, and not because he wants to fake indifference.

     

    “I don’t know. I might.” I say slowly, not looking him in his eye.

     

    Shekhu heaves a sigh, and I know it is loaded with all those words he wishes he could say to me.

     

    “Will you at least work in this room, please?” he surrenders and I nod.

     

    Work. That’s what we chose to call it in an unspoken agreement. The fervent and rigorous online research I have been carrying out for a couple of months. Stuff that I add to my OneNote notebooks ever night on adoption agencies, and information about the procedures, and discussions on online forms for adoptive parents.

     

    I pretend to be watching TV while in reality I am doing it all over again. Thinking of the “what ifs”. After that Ruchika incident, I spent days trying to broach the topic in front of Shekhu. Each time I tried, I could only think of Shekhu’s words right after I had said yes to his proposal, “But what if you want babies?” My reaction to his question had been to hold both his hands in mine and say “I have everything I want in my hands” I couldn’t possibly put him through this. For those days I had been torn between wanting to talk to Shekhu about it and not wanting to hurt him. And then my sister-in-law had dropped by during that time with her two-year old for a few days. The baby girl made it a point to tug at those already fragile heart strings, and she crawled right into my heart and into my arms. On the day they left, I had held her pillowcase close to me and sniffed it all day long. Shekhu had come back that evening, taken one look at me and known. What followed was sleepless nights and prolonged discussions. Sometimes depressing, sometimes hopeful. It broke his heart, I know, but Shekhu was the one to suggest clinical methods. But then we did the math and realized we couldn’t afford the expenses of an artificial insemination. And even then there remained a major concern about the sperm donor. After weeks of that, we both had to concede that we couldn’t move forward with it. Specially since it was a delicate process, one that couldn’t really guarantee a positive result.

     

    Shekhu turns off the lights, and in the flickering light of the TV screen, he somehow looks a little worn-out. I sigh. I feel so jaded. I wish I could sometimes stop myself from obsessing about how incomplete I feel. The only time I don’t consciously mull over all these is when I am asleep, and even then I keep having weird nightmares about something terrible happening to Shekhu while I try very hard to save him but can’t. Shekhu still hasn’t come to terms with the adoption, and come to think of it, maybe even I haven’t. There are so many factors to consider. I mean, I know it is an awfully nice thing to do, but what happens when the child grows up? Will we be comfortable with hiding about the adoption? And if we are open about it, will we be able to handle the consequences? What if my son or daughter ends up yelling at me, “But you are not my real mother!” Will I be able to take it?

     

    Even as I heave out a sigh, Shekhu turns to look at me. He reaches for my hand and holds it to his cheek.

     

    “Please don’t Preeti. Don’t put yourself through this. You know it breaks my heart”

     

    I nod and smile even though I feel a lump in my throat. Sometimes I really don’t know what to do with all this love. Heaven knows I feel selfish and greedy for wanting more. But how do I console that part of me which aches to be a mother? I want it so bad it actually hurts. And then I become a bundled up mess of emotions. Like all I wish to do is curl up into a ball and bawl my eyes out. But the very next moment I think of Shekhu, and how it might be already breaking him into two seeing me like this, and I try make myself understand.

     

    Shekhu pops the softest kisses on my palm, and I melt inside all over again.

     

    “You want me to put you to sleep?” I ask him.

     

    He smiles, and puts his head on my lap. I turn off the TV, cradle his head in my arms and run my fingers through his hair. My own eyes start feeling a little heavy, and I longingly look at my laptop on the bedside table. Tomorrow could be the same day all over again, I know. But for now, all that matters is that right here, right now, I do have everything I need and everything I want with me. The orange streetlight once again creeps stealthily into our room, bringing with it the same shadow of the same eucalyptus tree. Only this time the wind seems to have settled in, and the leaves no longer flutter. I keep staring at the shadow on the floor, and in a strange way, I feel calm, and at peace. We will handle tomorrow when it comes, along with its fluttering leaves and flickering shadows. But for now, it is all okay.

     

    The Power of youth by Laveena Iyer

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    Power of the youth

    Youth is the age of discovery and dreams, that critical stage of one’s life wherein the choices we make determine our future paths. The youth of today in most countries of the world have before them a way to access all the information they need , to learn any course of study they need to be equipped with and to take up any career they wish to pursue . These are just advantages that youngsters today can avail of thanks to Globalisation but what’s their real power? What are those attributes that distinguish the youth from the other age groups? It’s the willingness to experiment,  to tread on a path no one has ever tried , the belief in one’s talents , the effort to reduce one’s liabilities by learning from past mistakes and  most importantly the power of imagination and the  courage to dream . All these are the weapons of every youngster to battle it out in today’s competitive world.

    Youngsters today have no qualms about the careers they take up even if it means stepping into a professional field that does not guarantee a fat pay cheque or probably is deemed too risky by their parents. Had Mark Zuckerberg chosen to remain as just another computer programmer from Harvard , we would not have  the infamous social network- Facebook. Youngsters today are more proactive about their approach to life , about the stereotypical views of society. We have often heard the prejudiced opinion about politicians being corrupt and how nothing can be done to tackle it. But all those youngsters who  supported Anna Hazare’s campaign for the Lokpal Bill wholeheartedly,  certainly believe that change is possible. In most of the recent elections, a common scene we witness at the voting centres is that as the older generation hesitates from voting, the youth are moving forth and teaching them a lesson of fulfilling their responsibilities. The youth dares to dream, they dream of a world free of poverty , unemployment , inequality, terrorism and to add to it they work to turn those dreams into reality.

    Robert Kennedy once said, “This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.” Similarly , the youth of our country need to come together , pool in all their efforts and help the elders in transforming India from a developing to a developed nation. Now is the time that instead of contributing to the brain drain the youth of our country need to act like magnets and attract the world towards India.

     

     

    Local Kung Fu

    This is not an endorsement or a review. But a reference to how compelling and enticing good work could be! It is something that very few of us can stay oblivious of, at least if you are in the same jurisdiction by profession or geographical vicinity. That’s exactly why Kenny Deori Basumatary struck me at the ffirst place. I stumbled upon him on Youtube, and then connected with him over Facebook. Such are the wonders of social media!

     

     

    Moving away from singing paeans about social media, which I leave to another colleague of mine, the focus stays on Kenny here. Kenny has a wonderful Youtube channel where he posts interesting videos he keeps coming up with. I found a couple music videos interesting, and then I stumbled upon what hooked me completely. He had posted funny videos with a good amount of Kung Fu in them. For a Jackie Chan fan this was exciting. A guy shooting such videos, editing them well enough to look professional. I had to mail him!

     

     

    From our subsequent conversations I realised that these videos were just precursors to the movie he was working on. Local Kung Fu! In some time he was kind enough to show me the promo. My persistence paid as soon I became one of the first people outside his immediate family and close friends to watch his first film! I am saying ‘first film’ because today I have every reason to believe that there are going to come in future. And my belief is not standalone. Many in film industry in Mumbai slowly and surely have opened up to an Assamese movie called Local Kung Fu and the immense possibilities that it could bring to moviemaking!

     

     

    At the recent FICCI Frames 2012, Anurag Kashyap spoke about how with the right intent people could make a film in Rs 1 lakh, like Kenny did!  Frames happens to be Asia’s largest film and media conclave organised every year in Mumbai by FICCI. Earlier national news channels Aaj Tak and Headlines Today took notice of the same effort too.

     

     

    True, Kenny made a film for Rs 1 lakh! That is what makes his film such an interesting point of discussion.  And Local Kung Fu happens to have a fair dose of Kung fu scenes. Of course Kenny had certain unfair advantages in being able to make a film for such a meagre sum of money! His uncle is a Kung fu master whose services and students came in free for the film. Same goes for the music as his brother happens to own a music studio! But that makes it no less significant. Local Kung Fu is probably the first ready to release Indian feature film that has been shot in a Canon 550D, taking digital filmmaking to another level. For the uninitiated 500D is a still camera which also allows you to shoot HD quality video. There have been some examples internationally where small films hitting the festival circuit have been shot with this particular small wonder.

     

     

    Local Kung Fu becomes an example for filmmakers. Especially ones from areas like Assam where cinema is almost in state of comatose. While Hollywood expands its reach releasing their films in regional languages, the so-called ‘Bollywood’ has grown in stature and quality too. It has become increasingly difficult for an Assamese film to earn profits while competing with big budget affairs. While story and the craft of storytelling are imperative, the time also calls for smart filmmaking and releasing it in even smarter way! Smart filmmaking of course means making telling the story in shortest and least expensive manner. Local Kung Fu, even though has its shortcomings, taps exactly in this.

     

    As Kenny continues to work on polishing the film further he also works single-mindedly towards releasing it commercially.  Cinema after all is a commercial art. And if the encouragement from the industry so far is something to go by, this film could very well be a trend setter for many more to come. Let’s hope this Local Kung Fu paves the way back to fitness and motivation for the Assamese film industry!

     

    Kenny in the meantime also published his first novel Chocolate Guitar Momos and has enacted an interesting part in Dibakar Banerjee’s soon to release Shanghai.

    Food Light- with love, from Kiev by Sonica Mishra

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      Dear Readers,

      We will be bringing before you every month cuisine/food/ menus/dishes from all over the world starting with Kiev this month. We will be happy to feature your contributions too and invite the same from you. The contributions can be images, write ups with image, experiences and will be addressed to the food desk friedeye. You can mail in your contributions to editor@friedeye.com.

      Below is an inviting capture by Sonica Mishra of a spread from Kiev.

      The Role of Social Media in Business Marketing and Promotion

       

      Gone are the days when social media was termed as a tool just for communicating with friends. Beyond chatting and sharing status updates, the social media bears a vital role which helps a person in promoting his business whether it’s online or offline. Top level social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and MySpace, today, accomplished a huge recognition in business marketing. In fact they have trespassed the reputation of email marketing which couldn’t prove to act as fast as the social media. Certainly, it’s their popularity and the appreciations they have achieved from the public.

      Pages for Business

       

      Creating a separate page for promoting business can bring profit to a company. The page should be enclosed with business information, contact details, links and photos so that public can obtain a basic knowledge about the organization. It should also provide space for the public so that they can communicate and input their questions in order to find a pleasing service. Moreover customers can be updated with the latest offers and deals the company is offering and allow them to participate for greater results.

      Communicating with Customers for Service Feedbacks

       

      Communication is one of the crucial tasks for business development. Public will think that a business is dead when they won’t find any answer to their questions. Customer is the king and they always seek for proper attention on their feedbacks and complaints. When made any complaint, they’ll always search for a positive reply which a company might not have all the time. In that case replying with a negative answer positively can save a business. When consumers are dissatisfied with an answer they opt never to come back which can be a huge loss for a company. Moreover, creating public polls and asking for feedback from the consumer brings a positive attribute towards the organization.

      Social Media as Customer Support

       

      Consumers are impatient people and they always look for quick replies. They invest their money trusting upon the products and services which remains at stake. When in trouble they’ll try to contact through phone or email and anticipate for a quick reply. A customer care might not offer 24×7 services but responding rapidly brings a positive outlook towards the organization. In regards to that, a social media can be a faster means to provide quick solutions to the customer. An executive who stays online constantly through social media, phone or live chat in order to supply fast services and feedback can be an aid to business expansion.

      Social media might hamper a person’s time or studies but if noticed from a separate angle they hold a fundamental position in every person’s life. Today 80% of the communities are aware of a business through social network only because it is a faster medium of communication.

      Egg Salad by Manash Sharma

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      Egg salad (serves 4)

      Ingredients:

       

      Eggs: 4 (hard boiled)

      Peanuts: 50 gms (soaked in water overnight)

      Tomato ketchup

      Boiled Cabbage leaves

      Few soya chunks (boiled)

      Beet: grated

      Green peas (boiled)

      Cheese cubes

      Black pepper & Salt to taste

       

      Method:

      1. Remove the skin off the soaked peanuts and grind to a smooth paste.
      2. Add a little tomato sauce to the peanuts paste. Mix well.
      3. Cut the boiled eggs into small pieces. Take a salad dish and arrange the egg pieces on the dish.
      4. Sprinkle some of the boiled cabbage leaves and the soya chunks over the egg pieces.
      5. To each piece of boiled egg, add a dollop of the peanuts sauce.
      6. Add the remaining boiled vegetables on top of the salad
      7. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste on the eggs
      8. Add the grated beet roots in the middle of the salad.
      9. Now grate the cheese cubes and sprinkle them well on the salad.
      10.  Enjoy!

      Para sailing – A rush like no other by Mishi Bhatnagar

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        It’s a feeling like no other. When that parachute lifts you from the ground, it lifts you from the world that you are a part of. And for those few moments, it’s just YOU, soaring through the sky with the whole world beneath your feet. Nothing else matters.

        Parasailing is one experience that everyone should have at least once in their lives. There is no other adventure activity that can give you such an enticing cocktail of emotions. You feel thrill, excitement, frenzy as well as fear, anxiety, nervousness-a plethora of contradictory emotions rolled together into a few action packed moments. It’s exhilarating as well as terrifying, all at the same time. No other sport like ballooning or gliding can give you such speeds and heights. And this is exactly what makes parasailing one of the most sought after events in aero-adventure sports.

        It works on some very simple principles. The rider (sometimes two) is fastened to a harness that is attached to a parachute. The parachute is then attached to a vehicle (a boat, car or truck) with a tow line. As the vehicle slowly begins accelerating, air fills the chute and the parasailor is lifted up into the air, still remaining attached to the vehicle by the tow line. At this point the altitude the rider reaches depends on the speed of the vehicle pulling it along.

        But the rush it gives you is something all together otherworldly. When you are all geared up and ready, awaiting your turn, all you can do is pray that you come back in one piece. But NOTHING can prepare you for that moment of lift-off. As your feet leave the ground, every bit of your apprehensions, fears and all your worldly troubles and worries are left behind as well. And what‘s left is just you, alone, and the whole sky is yours. Flying through various layers of the atmosphere, as if you are spreading your wings, is completely euphoric. You feel like you are on top of the world.

        Parasailing requires a little formal training and most beaches and holiday destinations offer this activity. The ground assistants help you buckle-up the safety harness and take your position. They hold the guidelines of the parachute to help fill it up with air. The towing vehicle then slowly begins to move, taking up the tow line while ground assistants and the parasailor run forward with the rope. The parasailor should run a few steps with the rope taut, but should not try and aid the lift-off process by jumping or pulling up his/her feet. The parachute will do this on its own. No steering of the parachute is required either. As the vehicle will accelerate, the chute will catch the wind and increased pressure within it, lifts the parasailor into the air. For landing, the towing vehicle needs to decrease its speed, thereby slowly reducing the altitude of the rider, until he/she can either safely land in the water or place his/her feet (while running) on the ground.

        Even though the inherent risks of injury are present, just as they are in any adventure activity, parasailing is still relatively safe and easy. It is a sport that allows you to break free of your inhibitions and be the ruler of the skies-a must have experience.

         

        About the Author

        Mishi Bhatnagar is an eminent analyst and loves to write in Travel & Tourism related topics. Her passion for adventure games has made her a big fan of adventure activities. She has been associated with Junoon Adventures, Bhopal since last few years.

         

        The Key- a book review

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          • Publisher: Vintage (July 30, 1991)
          • Author:Jun’ichirōTanizaki
          • Translated by: Howard Hibbett
          • Language: English
          • ISBN-10: 0679730230
          • ISBN-13: 978-0679730231

           

          I have always liked stories written in first person as I find them more convincing about the thoughts. I have read many stories written in first person, but this one was special in the sense that the story was told in first person by two characters in the story. Extremely innovative in narration style, it is in the form of two diaries. The diaries speak of a 55 year old husband and his 44 year old wife, who have a problematic sexual relationship. The book is erotically charged up with explicit descriptions of sex. The wife though an orthodox woman who married a man much older to him as her parents wanted to, is very frank in describing the declining prowess of her husband’s sexual capabilities and how she hates making love with him. Throughout the book, she mentions how she loves her husband as much as she hates him. The husband finds his wife very attractive even at the age of 44 and tells about his wife as sexually aggressive even if she surrenders herself in bed with him passively. Her body is described in detail by her husband in his diary.

          As the story unfolds, we get to know that the couple has 20 year old daughter and a man who the couple considers to be a good match for daughter. Reading the two diaries together provide us different viewpoints of the same event. As an overview, the story is not so interesting but the treatment of the story makes it very interesting. The genesis of Tanizaki lies in the way the story unfolds with exciting twists in the story. Great narration and the way the mystery of how the story would end is maintained with great expertise.  It was very difficult to guess the ending of the story and a surprising end meets the story. The Key was first published in 1956 and a book like that written almost 6 decades ago also needed guts as the society was not that liberal at that time. Tanizaki is surely one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century.

          Dreams, Hopes and the Rainbow

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          The last droplets of rain
          landed on my feet,
          As I sat there, beneath the leafless tree.
          Benign silence pervaded the air
          with nothing but the birds trying to play with the wind.

          I needed a moment with myself
          To read my own thoughts
          They were illegible…
          They were etched in a heart,
          that was not mine.

          The dreams that were drawn
          The hopes that were built
          Have been dead since long.
          Only the ashes of memories remain.

          Was it worth it? I ask.
          It probably wasn’t.

          The rain had soaked me,
          not with wetness
          but with guilt, numbing my senses.

          The end should have never come
          But it did.
          Only, did it have to be so ruthless?
          The answer fails me.

          A thin ray of the sun fell on my trembling hands,
          that were drenched in the rain
          The raindrops glistened.
          They looked like dreams!

          The numbness started to fade
          As I stared at the sun
          and the faint rainbow that appeared from behind.
          It looked like hope!

          I closed my eyes and let go…
          Reading the silence again
          It felt like myself
          My awakened self!

          How the stone gathered moss

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            How the stone gathered moss – the history of rock music:

            © Michael Jastremski - CC attribution - Share Alike

            Does everything have a history? Can we trace the beginning of something that seems to have existed forever? How do you trace the history of something that is supposed to be a state of the mind? How do you trace the beginning of something that has always been there? But having taken up the task nonetheless, I still decided to go ahead and chart the course of one of the most influential genres in the history of music. The history or rock is about how a beat changed the course of music, the history of rock is about how music went on to define rebellion and peace at the same time, and it is about technology and adaptation. The history of rock music is about an entire evolution of music occurring in just about 50 years.

            The Beginning:

            Though the actual beginning of rock music is highly debatable, it would still be safe to assume that it happened somewhere in the musical roots of the early days of rock and roll. Any form of rock music traditionally has always been known to have a strong beat, a rhythm. And in the early days when rhythm and blues was making an impact, it was also giving an opportunity for the behemoth to rise, the music of rock and roll. The earliest versions of rock and roll started with acts like Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Jerry Lee Lewis. Richard’s fast paced “Tutti Frutti” and Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of fire” are just a couple of examples of how the music transformed into the strong paced version that we know of today. While the US was seeing a movement, the UK where most of the big rock acts would be born was witnessing a revolution in itself. Musicians were waking up to the movement called Rock n roll.

            The Early years:

            As the years progressed, so did the music and before the world could be ready, the King “Elvis” had already invaded the world. With a thumping beat and a fast paced rhythm, Elvis Presley shook the world with a powerful voice and a band as powerful, the King, had started a revolution. A new genre. Rock music had officially attacked the world. The early years also brought about multiple sub genres within the rock and roll scenario. The early years also laid the ground for the traditional rock band line up with a drum line, a bass guitar, a lead guitar and a lead voice.

            Along the years from 1940 to the 1960, Rock n roll saw a saw some of the genre defining acts like Buddy Holly, The Crows and the El Dorados.

            Although, rock n roll had been born in the USA, it was crossing shores to the land of Queen, Great Britain. Cliff Richard had the first hit with “Move It”. Around the same time, the core music score was also being peppered by harmonies and rhythms, thanks to the all girl groups and the fast paced dance trends of the 50’s. With new acts like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye setting a new path for the music, the best part of rock n roll had just begun.

            The Progression:

            By the early 1960s, the rock music scene had erupted. With the major onslaught coming from the USA and the Great Britain, some music of sheer brilliance emerged from the bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds. The Beatles, with their sheer lyrical wizardry and Led Zeppelin powered by their harmony were instrumental in defining the path that Rock music would take in the future.

            By the 70s, it was the era of the guitar. Started in the late 60s and spilling over into the 70s, were a group of guitar wizards like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. It was also around the time when, the Doors, Bob Dylan and Jefferson Airplane were making their present felt with various sub genres of Rock Music. If Dylan stood for folk rock, Pink Floyd had started the genre of psychedelic rock and The Doors and Jefferson Airplane were laying the groundwork for hard rock. The Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival were two other bands with a distinctive sound of their own with immaculate guitar riffs and a good soft beat.

            In its adolescence and growing up fast, Rock music grew the best from the 70 to the 90s, also considered as the golden period of rock music. Multiple genres were born in the three decades ranging from soft rock, the punk to metal to heavy metal. Covering every single genre and band would be equivalent to writing a full blown book. But acts like The Scorpions, Bruce Springsteen, Poison, Black Sabbath, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Kiss, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Pearl Jam, Alice Cooper, Queen, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd were some of the acts that defined the golden era of rock music.

            It was also the time when Rock music gained a bad name for the eccentricities of the bands and their stars, the unchecked use of drugs and the innumerable deaths and suicides of the musicians.

            The Present:

            Around the late 80s and the 90s, the wild child had grown. With the bands dwindling and the eccentricities reducing, the world was soon turning its face away from rock music when Nirvana come up. With a very distinct heavy toned down guitar sound, the sound of rock was back on track. With the revival came U2, REM and a host of revivals. Everyone from Bon Jovi to Aerosmith were back in the studios.

            With the turn of the century, technology had been at the forefront and music couldn’t escape either. Electronic music and djs were now a part of the standard rock bands. Bands like Limp Bizkit, Korn and Linkin Park have been actively using electronic music as part of their standard score.

            The new era also saw international metal music emerging in the form of Dimmu Borgir, Blind Guardian, Rammstein and Killswitch Engage. Metal music was no longer restricted to language or region.

            Acts like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Alanis Morissette, Green Day, Avenged Sevenfold and Owl City are still keeping the music alive, aligning to the needs of the new generation, rock music still survives.

            Marilyn Manson’s prophesy of “Rock is dead” had been buried safely. Rock music is still alive and kicking because rock isn’t about music, it’s a state of the mind.

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