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KINDLE INDIA

Ideas

Imagination

Dialectics

1st June 2013 `30

Kindle’s poetry special featuring : Gulzar, Jeet Thayil, Meena Kandasamy, Tabish Khair,K. Satchidanandan, Sharanya Manivannan, Annie Zaidi, Sampurna Chattarji and many more from across India... June 2013

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o

w I love words In Urdu, Hindi, Bengali English and many languages In poetry, in songs In letters On walls, on barks of trees Scratched on wood In memories, in memoirs In the babble of babies In messages in glass bottles In absent-minded scribbles On name tags in horticultural gardens In notebooks of astronomers In daily diaries, on epithets On milestones On tea stalls on hilly roads On anonymous, bloodied papers delivered stealthily In the darkness of nights

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In newspapers and magazines, which put their writers in jails In books, burnt or banned

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In rejected manuscripts On un-shiny biscuit wrappers Unknowingly written by clouds In dirtiest abuses lashed out of eyes stung with pain In slogans In obituaries Lacking in grammar And spelling And in bad handwriting Written with pencils, held behind ears Or lodged inside a roughly tied bun With chalk on a black slate

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In stories of peasants And tiny villages Of miners digging wells And little children longing for love

And today, I love the word ‘snow’, most of all Tomorrow, maybe another…

Pritha Kejriwal, Editor in Chief, Kindle Magazine pritha@kindlemag.in June 2013

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About the Poets (in alphabetical order)

Annie Zaidi Annie Zaidi is the author of Love Stories # 1 to 14; co-author of The Bad Boy’s Guide to the Good Indian Girl; and a collection of essays Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales. Her work hasappeared in several anthologies and literary journals including The Little Magazine, Pratilipi, Out of Print; Caravan and Desilit.

Gulzar Gulzar, is an acclaimed poet, lyricist and director of the Hindi film industry. He has also contributed to the small screen through Mirza Ghalib and Tahreer Munshi Premchand. He has been bestowed with numerous awards including the prestigious Padma Bhushan in 2004, the National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards respectively. In 2010, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Jai Ho” (shared with A.R.Rahman), for the film Slumdog Millionaire as well as the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Gulzar’s poetry is partly published in three compilations: Chand Pukhraaj Ka, Raat Pashminey Ki and Pandrah Paanch Pachattar (15-05-75)

Jeet Thayil Jeet Thayil is a poet, novelist, musician and librettist born in Kerala and educated in Mumbai, Hong Kong, and New York. He worked as a journalist in New York and Mumbai before settling down in Bangalore. He has authored four collections of poems – These Errors Are Correct, English, Apocalypso and Gemini. His debut novel Narcopolis was shortlisted for the 2012 Booker Prize and won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, 2013. He is also editor of the Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (sold as 60 Indian Poets in India) and a collection of essays, Divided Time: India and the End of Diaspora. He is also the author of a libretto for the opera Babur, commissioned by a UK-based Opera Group with music by the Zurich-based British composer Edward Rushton

Karthika Naïr Karthika Naïr was born in India, lives in Paris, and works as a dance producer. She is the author of a poetry collection, Bearings (HarperCollins India, 2009), of DESH: Memories, inherited, borrowed, invented (MC2, Grenoble, 2013) and of the forthcoming The Honey Hunter (Young Zubaan, India, and Editions Hélium, France). She also scripted , choreographer Akram Khan’s 2012 Olivier Awardwinning dance production, together with performance poet PolarBear and Khan.

K. Satchidanandan K. Satchidanandan is a noted Malayalam and English poet, critic, academician, editor, translator and playwright. He is one of the pioneers of modern poetry in Malayalam and is well known for the subtle and nuanced articulations of socio-political contexts, irony and philosophical contemplation on the contradictions of existence. These are decisive elements in his poetry. He has to his credit 23 collections of poetry besides 16 collections of translations of poetry and 21 collections of essays on literature, language and society-three of them in English- and four plays and three travel narratives. Satchidanandan has received sixteen literary awards besides many honours like the Knighthood of the Order of Merit from the Government of Italy and the Medallion of Friendship from the Government of Poland. 10 | KINDLE INDIA

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Mamta Sagar Mamta Sagar writes in Kannada and has three collections of poems, four plays, an anthology of column writing, a collection of essays and a booklet on Slovenian-Kannada Literature Interactions to her credit. She was invited as ‘Poet in Residence’ to Belgrade, Serbia by AUROPOLIS, an Association of Multimedia Artists. Mamta has presented poems at poetry festivals in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Colombia, Cuba, South Africa, Nicaragua, Slovenia, Serbia and Struga, Macedonia. Her poems are translated into Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Galician, Maltese, Chinese, Japanese, Slovenian, Serbian, Macedonian, Armenian, Estonian, Romanian, Sinhalese, Russian, English and many Indian languages. She has collaborated/performed poetry with artists N.Pushpamala (India), Jannet and Jennifer(Australia), Marjorie Evasco(Philippines), Que Mai (Vietnam) and musicians Manja Ristic, Igor Stangliczky and Marko Jevtić (Belgrade). Her poems and interviews are showcased in the documentary Cultures of Resistance by Lara Lee and in Los Chicos de Mañana, a film by Spanish director Javier Monero from Spain. Presently she teaches at the Centre for Kannada Studies, Bangalore University, Bangalore

Manash Bhattacharjee Manash Bhattacharjee is a poet and writer. He holds a doctorate in political science from JNU, New Delhi. His poems have been published in The London Magazine, First Proof Volume 5: The Penguin Books of New Writing from India, The Palestine Chronicle, The Little Magazine and Coldnoon. He has contributed in leading Indian publications including Outlook, The Hindu, Biblio and EPW. He lives in Delhi.

Meena Kandasamy Ilavenil Meena Kandasamy is a poet, writer, activist and translator. She holds a PhD in socio-linguistics and her work centres on issues like caste annihilation, linguistic identity and feminism. Her poetry has received various accolades and has been profiled in several international publications. Two of her poems, Mascara and My Lover Speaks of Rape have won first prizes in pan-India poetry competitions . Meena is currently working on her first novel The Gypsy Goddess.

Nabanita Kanungo Nabanita Kanungo was born in Shillong, Meghalaya, 1981. She completed her MA in Geography from the North-Eastern Hill University and is currently pursuing her PhD in the subject. Her poems have appeared in Indian Literature, Prairie Schooner, Four Quarters, Journal of the Poetry Society of India Muse India’s e-magazine and Ten: The New Indian Poets, an anthology published by Nirala Publications, edited by Jayanta Mahapatra and Yuyutsu Sharma. She has also translated Pijush Dhar’s poems into English, which have been published by the Writer’s Workshop, Kolkata.

Nabina Das Nabina Das is a poet and novelist. Her debut novel Footprints in the Bajra was long listed in the 2011 Vodafone-Crossword Book Prize and her debut poetry collection Blue Vessel was named as one of the best of 2012 by poet Sudeep Sen. A Creative Writing MFA from Rutgers University, she sings and performs street theatre with children. When she is not writing, she blogs at http://nabinadas13. wordpress.com/.

Panini Anand From a slum based tabloid to BBC world service, over the last 12 years, Panini Anand has worked as a journalist for many media organizations. He has closely observed many mass movements and campaigns in the last two decades including right to information, right to food, right to work etc. Panini is also an active theatre person who loves to write and sing as well. June 2013

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R.Raj Rao R Raj Rao is a writer and teacher of literature and one of India’s leading gay-rights activists. A PhD in English, he received the Nehru Centenary British Fellowship in 1986 for his post-doctoral research at the Centre for Caribbean Studies, University of Warwick, UK. He is the author of Slide Show (poems), One Day I Locked My Flat in Soul City (short stories), The Wisest Fool on Earth and Other Plays and Nissim Ezekiel: The Authorized Biography. He has also edited Ten Indian Writers in Interview and co-edited Image of India in the Indian Novel in English (1960–1980). In 2003, Rao’s novel Boyfriend considered India’s first gay novel was acclaimed as one of the year’s finest books. He has travelled extensively, conducting several readings and writing workshops, in different parts of the world. Riyad Vinci Wadia’s path breaking film BomGay (1996), was based on six poems from Rao’s BomGay collection.

Ravi Shanker Ravi Shanker writes under the pseudonym Ra Sh. He is an avid translator. He has translated the works of Dario Fo, Paulo Friere, Freidrich Durrenmatt, Bertolt Brecht and Badal Sircar to Malayalam. Published English translations include Harum Scarum Saar and Other Stories by Bama (from Tamil), Mother Forest- The unfinished story of C.K.Janu by Bhaskaran (from Malayalam), published by Women Unlimited, Delhi and Waking is Another Dream, an anthology of Sri Lankan Tamil poetry (along with Meena Kandasamy),published by Navayana, Delhi. Also translated plays and poems from Tamil which formed part of an anthology of Dalit Writing in Tamil and articles from Malayalam which formed part of an anthology of Dalit writing in Malayalam ( both published by Oxford University Press, India). He has also written English subtitles for three Malayalam feature films (Shayanam, Ramanam and Kaliyachan) and one Tamil feature film (Sengadal).

Sampurna Chattarji Sampurna Chattarji is a poet, novelist and translator with 10 books to her credit. These include three poetry collections, Sight May Strike You Blind (Sahitya Akademi, 2007, reprinted 2008), The Fried Frog (Scholastic 2009, reprinted 2010) and Absent Muses (Poetrywala, 2010); two novels, Rupture (2009) and Land of the Well (2012), both from HarperCollins and a much-loved translation of Sukumar Ray’s poetry and prose, Wordygurdyboom! which has been a Puffin Classic since 2008. Sampurna’s latest book is Dirty Love, a collection of short stories about Bombay/Mumbai (Penguin, 2013). Her poems have been widely anthologized and have been translated into German, Swiss-German, Irish, Scots, Welsh, French, Estonian, Tamil, Manipuri, Kannada, Bengali and Bambaiyya; and her children’s fiction into Welsh and Icelandic. Sampurna is the editor of Sweeping the Front Yard, an anthology of women’s writing in English, Malayalam, Telugu and Urdu (SPARROW 2011). She was the 2012 Charles Wallace writer-in-residence at the University of Kent, Canterbury. More about her writing can be found at sampurnachattarji.wordpress.com

Saswat Pattanayak Saswat Pattanayak is a New York-based journalist, photographer, atheist, third-wave feminist, LGBT ally, black power comrade and academic non-elite who refuses to give up his association with Kindle. A true comrade.

Sharanya Manivannan Sharanya Manivannan is a renowned poet, journalist, writer and columnist. She has written a personal column titled The Venus Flytrap for The New Indian Express from 2008-2011. Her debut poetry anthology Witchcraft (Bullfighter Books, 2008), was widely acknowledged. She was bestowed with the Elle Fiction Award 2012 for her short story Greed and the Gandhi Quartet and was nominated the same year for the Pushcart Prize for her poem I Will Come Bearing Mangoes (published in the acclaimed international poetry journal Rougarou). She is currently working on a book of stories The High Priestess Never Marries, a novel Constellation of Scars and two manuscripts of new poems titled Bulletproof Offering and Cadaver Exquisito. 12 | KINDLE INDIA

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S. Joseph S. Joseph is a Malayalam poet living in Kottayam district in Kerala. He received the Kanaka Sree Award from the Kerala Sahitya Akademi for his first book Karutha kallu (Black Stone). His other books are Meenkaran (Fisherman) Identity card and Uppante Kooval Varakkunnu (Drawing the Cry of the Crow-pheasant) which won the Thiruvananthapuram Book Fair award. Currently, he is a Professor of Malayalam at Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam.

Sukrita Sukrita is a poet, critic and activist. She has published several collections of poetry (including Rowing Together, Folds of Silence, Apurna and Oscillations) and critical books (including Man, Woman and Androgyny, The New Story and Narrating Partition). She has been translating fiction from India and Pakistan and her recently edited books include Interpreting Homes and Speaking for Myself: An Anthology of Asian Women’s Writings.

Tabish Khair Tabish Khair is an Indian English author and associate professor in the Department of English, University of Aarhus in Denmark. Born and educated mostly in Gaya, India and previously a journalist with the Times of India, his books include Babu Fictions (2001), The Bus Stopped (2004) and The Thing About Thugs (2010), which were shortlisted for the Encore Award (UK) and a number of prizes, including the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and the Man Asian Literary Prize respectively. Khair continues to write and review for publications in India, UK, Denmark etc., in particular for the Hindu (India). His latest novel is the critically acclaimed How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position, released in India in 2012 and due elsewhere in 2013.

Theepachelvan Theepachelvan is a noted Tamil poet, painter, photographer and writer whose works focus on bringing awareness about the hardships suffered by the Tamils at Eelam- Tamil name for the island of Sri Lanka. His poetry is known for bringing about a clear graphic documentation of the violence, discriminations, innumerable cold-blooded murders, extensive losses and miseries of the Tamils living at Eelam that have been hidden from the world’s eyes. And this makes his writing extremely powerful and poignant. His poems have been published in two volumes and have received worldwide acclaim for the same.

Tiamerenla Monalisa Changkija Tiamerenla Monalisa Changkija is a noted journalist, columnist, poet, editor and a social activist from Nagaland. She started her career in journalism with the Dimapur-based Weekly Nagaland Times (and is currently the Executive Editor for the same), and the Ura Mail. She is noted for her hard-hitting editorials, especially those on social issues. Her poems and short stories have been published in several national and regional newspapers and magazines, and have received various accolades. Her works are included in Nagaland school and college syllabi. Some of her works include Weapons of Words of Pages of Pain (1993) and Monsoon Mourning (2007)- both anthology of poems. Monalisa was awarded the Chameli Devi Jain Award in 2009 for an Outstanding Woman Media person. She was also honoured for her “remarkable contribution to Poetry in Nagaland”, and felicitated for “selflessly contributing with outstanding poetries to the growth, development and change in Naga society and beyond” by The Poetry Society of India in 2009.

Uzma Falak Uzma Falak was born in Srinagar. She recently completed her MA in Mass Communication from AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Besides writing for various Kashmir-based publications, she writes for New Internationalist, London. She explores memory through photography and poetry and has a deep interest in memorabilia and objects as they exist interacting with space and time. She can be reached at: uzmafalak6@gmail.com June 2013

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D DIVER

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Rainbow Gasoline

b y Uzma Fa l a k

I hear the army truck grumbling Its engine howling Dogs on the streets now silent. I am lonely, suddenly. I think of the gasoline rainbow the truck may have left in the puddle Image in the puddle is of a massacre. Night doesn’t end. I and the lamb sob. When I looked up Sky became paper I began writing images With my eyes. Rain fell in unknown villages On numbered graves 1, 40, 100 And it is He who sends down rain after you have lost all hope, and unfolds His grace‌ Ya Musawwir The Artist Will you paint us again? I hide in the cupboard. I count. I am confused and I think aloud:

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C

os ona m

ut

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U

ntitled b y Uzma Fa l a k

What happens to a shriveled leaf when kissed by rain Do rains have a memory of not falling from steel skies onto taut faces? Rain writes on our minds, in fleeting ink the secrets we hide from our selves.

There are no sites of memory in our brain What then enwombs the weight?

Void doesn’t mean empty. Sigh and you will know! When the Sun sets her hair flows like a paranoid river She stops avoiding boulders and flows over and past them When night falls she isn’t scared of drowning. In her dream, the shriveled leaf Withdrawing from the world, curls a bit more Whispering a secret before the wind takes it away to other dreams in other unblinking eyes What then becomes of the rain: It falls. falls falls falls through, by, on, in— time, night, fog, crevices, edges, roof tops, fleeting gestures, puddles, graves, eyes, faces, dreams, 20 | KINDLE INDIA

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toy mak

er

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Light the

by Sampurna Chattarji

the light to see brides in the light to take flights in the light by which noon moves like a dagger into its sheath the light living on in the bottom of glasses the light like a tiger on a wall the red-brick light of morning crow-light fixed like a nest to a tree eight a.m. light in which the steam from a pot of slowly cooking rice in the shack across the road can be seen distinct as the steam from my tea-cup light of my life light that sings in a low husk peeling away your sleep do you have a light the light of the red moon low-hanging blood-orange fruit of a cynical night the light in which a band of boys stop cars to extract money for a function you will never attend having come from another continent having flown on the fleetness of vowels all the way from the shore of the Baltic sea from a city of mad dogs light like a wire-basket of eggs hanging from a hook in a wayside store paddy-light fluttering a scrap of white cloth snagged on a bit of wood singular light the light that moves across the room in which we shall warm the small of our backs light driven wild by teeth against tongues light of the thought that grows and grows enormous tangential like the light 28 | KINDLE INDIA

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Cartographer June 2013

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a

mma

b y Ta b i s h K h a i r Down the stairs of this house where plaster flakes and falls, Through the intimate emptiness of its rooms and hall, I hear your slow footsteps, grandmother, echo or pause As they used to through long summer afternoons spent within The watered down four-walls of khus and fragile drinks Of ice, mango or lemon, the circle of water-melon crescents. Slowly you shuffle examining each new tear in the curtains Which will have to be mended when the first monsoon rain Provides a respite from sun, curtails the need for shade. Slowly on arthritic joints you move from room to room Marking the damage of the years, evaluating how soon The past will collapse or how long the present last.

y

You never need glasses to mark the contours of your house Though you can’t see grandsons at a distance, once wore a blouse Inside out. Nothing has changed, grandmother, no, not yet; Though your collected steps never turn the corner into you In a starched and white sari, the fragrance of soap around you. And all the curtains have long been taken down.

(First appeared in Where Parallel Lines Meet, Penguin, Delhi, 2000)

histor

Unfolding its leaves in you, my daughter, is my history;

by Sukrita

I am, I know now, my mother, as you are yours. (From the poet’s collection Without Margins, Bibliophile South Asia in association with Promilla and Co Publishers) 34 | KINDLE INDIA

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forest ranger

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bitter Oranges by Pritha Kejriwal

Bitter oranges hang from trees Like solitary dervishes Spinning through balmy Mediterranean nights… Comfortably numb oranges Overdosed on their own bitterness Stoned inside their sulfuric-marigold skins Until, Just a little pin-prick Wakes them up And they come pouring out In drops of oil and pectin And lemon and ginger and beer juice

Coming back to life Inside a blue ceramic pot With their piths and pips floating in muslin A dialectical mushing up of Smooches and bruises and pulp and rind and juices Painter, dreamer, scientist, poet, prisoner Guitar strings, smoke rings – smoldering together Into a compote of melting fruit…

Bottled up into tiny glass jars Are apocalyptic whirlpools Of love cooked over fire… And My memories taste in my mouth Like bitter oranges, preserved during sad nights Filled with stars…

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COAL MINER

Painting by Sukanta Sarkar

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South Delhi Murder

b y Ta b i s h K h a i r

For three days she took it for spilled red ink Or nail-polish. Then a scab of flies Peeled to hint at the wounds shut Behind that door. Her head buzzed As she called the police. Such a sweet boy, She later gasped to Mrs Guha, a little dense But smiling and so-sweet, to think he bottled up In himself the rage of 26 stabs, twen-tee-six, You never can tell with these people, no, not ever. To which Mrs Guha sadly shook her gold earrings.

The officer who turned up with two policemen Also shook his head when told of the old couple Who had lived in that flat with one serving boy And presents from guilt-stricken sons in the US. Having broken the door and located the crime, He came out holding a large hanky to his nose, Spat and asked, Nepali boy, no? Bihari chokkra ? Some clues are so obvious they don’t have to be pinned: The incision of murder is always the outsider’s choice, Someone on the edge of life, driven by ghostly scalpels. Sometime in the morphia of night when the roads of Delhi Were white swathes of loneliness and smog, sometime Three or more nights ago when the occasional truck’s Back lights faded to wavering bandages of yellow, Sometime in a gauzed silence broken by yapping Street dogs, so-sweet Shyam had crept to the locked Front door and let his accomplices in. Steel rods Had been used, and knives; the old man clubbed in bed, His wife surgically stabbed later. A cousin was asked By the officer to make an inventory of missing items.

Which was long: two TV sets, radio, Banarasi saris All the inherited silver, jewellery, cash, in fact everything Of value except the laptop, which had been left behind In panic or ignorance of its value. Bihari chokkras, Scoffed the officer, what do they know of computers, Or alphabets for that matter. It turned out that this time The chokkra in question had been filmed, holding Loaded trays in parties, and his address noted. Justice was clinical, sweet Shyam nabbed in his village With fifty rupees on him and a sari for his mother. (First appeared in Where Parallel Lines Meet, Penguin, Delhi, 2000)

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Socialist Realism

by Saswat Pattanayak

Communism is pure evil, It offers no freedom. On the other hand Capitalism, is all about Choice and option. And in our free world, We have inalienable rights. To choose life’s recourses Between rotting public schools And swanky private elites. We may pick universal healthcare, Or join the elite insurance systems. In pursuit of happyness We may select manual menial jobs Over executive positions. Foods with pesticides, Or those organic produces. We eat or live how we like The choice to dwell in slums Or to reside in ancestral palaces. Between career woman blues, And becoming voluntary moms. As we age, amidst senile decay The choice to work past retirement Or to opt for vacation homes. To consume the books that tell the lies, Or to drop out of institutional favours. Between emerging heroes or misfits Have the choice to swear patriotism Or be condemned as living terrors. It’s a free world and we are its voters, Elect our destinies from the parties galore. If realism offered no solace anyway Like Paris Hilton’s t-shirt has the solution We can party and “Stop Being Poor”.

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Time eeper K


Body. by Gulzar

Cold islands of clouds float in the sky. The fire red horizon melts into the stream. Space stretches itself. Sunk in your arms, I float free. A hundred bodies have flown out of me. I am unhooked from the burden of the body. Translated from Urdu by Oriya poet, Dr. JP Das

Battle. by Gulzar

Red blood drips from the Sun’s wounds and flows from the horizon unto these silent shores. The Sun’s rays take in the dust; shadows flee. In a while the moon’s flag of victory will flutter in the sky. Once again, the night has won the battle. Once again, I have lost today. Translated from Urdu by Oriya poet, Dr. JP Das

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RNI NO. WBENG/2010/36111 Regd. No. KOL RMS/429/2011-2013

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