Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Protospace Bangalore – What a lovely idea!

I chanced upon Protospace Bangalore via Twitter. It is such a lovely idea to create a shared infrastructure for independent professionals to work in. Kudos to the guys who thought it up.

The concept seems very simple – you are a professional who works alone, or maybe you are a freelancer who works at home, or perhaps you are an entrepreneur who is still incubating. Why should you spend unnecessarily in renting out an entire office space or apartment for yourself or just a small team? With the economy being the way it is (duh!), it makes so much more sense to work in a shared space and share all the associated costs that comes with it, doesn’t it? Or for people like me who are or want to be independent professionals, and for whom working from home is not an option (for reasons like discipline, discipline and then discipline) it is a great idea to operate out of a formal workspace such as this and yet have some control over your environment.

I have come across other forms of this concept before at the HeadStart discussion forums and other blogs. But those were more like vacant seats in an office which the resident companies were trying to get occupied and share the costs for them. But Protospace is a novel idea where ALL the residents of the workspace operate in a similar fashion. I don’t think more than half the residents will belong to the same company or group. And that’s what makes the idea look so attractive to me. There’s so many opportunities for interactions, inspirations, and synergies for the eventual residents of the workspace who will be from varied fields. And what’s more, they are even proposing shared facilities like coffee machine and library! Sounds perfect to me.

If only it was closer to home!

Anyone game to open another one of these in the South of the city? I wouldn’t mind helping you set it up.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Manifesting my desire...

I've been busy manifesting my desire. Of being a writer. Which I am already. So correction. Of being a published writer. Let me hit the pedal when the Juipter is still conjuncting Neptune. And while Mars aspects both Jupiter and Neptune. It's time the desire saw light. Stay with me. Wish me luck.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Publishing in my own domain

Finally, I'm done transferring my blog to my own domain. To think that it took me about seven years to do this! Ha!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beggary is not a bad thing

There are many kinds of beggars on Indian streets. The children, the size negative women with malnourished kids clinging to their hips, the physically deformed or wounded, the bisexuals and eunuchs, the odd drunk fellows, and the really old thathas and ajjis. They are most noticeable at traffic signals. The moment vehicles come to a stop, they swarm them extending their arms asking for a rupee or more.

The kids are smart – they usually beseech the person saying they are hungry. The women are even more clever and say the kids clinging to their hips are hungry and they need the money to buy milk. The physically deformed or wounded don’t say anything – they just stand there before you wearing a tortured expression hoping you will become horrified enough to give them a few coins so that they move away from you quickly. The bisexuals and eunuchs plain demand the money. The drunken fellows are the least respectable in this entire lot and just earn a disdainful glance from most motorists. The thathas and hajis usually don’t target signals due to their failing bodies. They are usually seen only near temples and parks.

I have heard many stories regarding all these kind of people. The children are part of a bigger operation, like the one in SlumDog Millionaire (Hindi Movie). The women are plain lazy gypsies and the kids are not even theirs. Or worse yet, they have kids just so that they can beg on the streets and use them as props. Or they use the money they get in the name of milk to buy themselves alcohol. The wounded keep their wounds fresh and bloody just so that it will elicit more sympathy; they never let them heal completely. The deformed are not really deformed – they are usually deliberately inflicted (either by themselves or someone else), or again they are part of a beggary racket (like the one in Naan Kadavul (Tamil Movie)) or they are just pretending. The bisexuals will harass you if it happens to be a lonely signal and god forbid if you are a man. And so on and so forth. I don’t know not how true or false any of these “stories” are. And I call them that because I have never really verified any of them to be beyond that personally. What I do know is that, even if they are not true, they can be true.

While I was watching Naan Kadavul, I cried and cried. Almost the entire movie. I do not know what affected me so much about it. Many people, including my friends, called the movie too gross and ugly for their liking. If they were affected at all, they were only revolted. For me, it was the opposite. I was so drawn in towards what was happening on the screen that it was like I was one of the deformed beggars. I could almost feel their pain physically – sitting in the air conditioned Inox. Maybe I was a beggar in my previous life. I am not being flippant. And then there was SlumDog Millionaire, in which though I didn’t feel as strong emotions as I did with Naan Kadavul, it was still strong enough to affect me. These are the only two recent movies with a big enough beggary concept that I remember watching.

Few years ago, I remember having this argument with a friend on whether one should give any money to the beggars. I don’t remember which side I was on. I remember though that we decided not to. By giving them money we are only encouraging them to beg further. Whereas they should be working their asses off to earn their daily bread and not have it easy begging people. Beggary is bad for India and the entire economy. And so on and so forth. That was our logic. Oh, what high chairs we were on. Following that, I stopped giving them (I don’t know when I began!) any money. But at times, I did get off from the high chair, especially when the women came around with their kids.

In the last few years or so, I stopped buying into that logic. That beggary is bad for the economy. That people should not beg. That people should work for their living. But that did not necessarily translate into me giving beggars money when I saw them. It totally depended on my mood. There was this particular thatha though, who I clearly remember, who always managed to get me to be more charitable. In fact, he still hangs around in the same place. We used to go to this benne dosa breakfast joint where he was a regular. And I always always gave him something. I am particularly susceptible when I am eating and a beggar comes along. And for some mysterious reason, I felt an affinity to this thatha. I even contemplated giving him a new blanket that was lying unused at home.

Sometime back, I rethought about this whole beggary thing. And I found myself a theory.

Rewind many many many years back. Million years back. Before civilization happened. Land, water, and the air were free for anybody to use as they wished. There were no fences to land, fertile or barren. Fruits and veggies hung in the trees without price tags. Any animal or human could pick them and eat them. All you need to do is do a little stretch *work* to get it. No one laid claim to anything. It was a free place. Not surprisingly, there was no beggary.

Do you realize what I am getting at? Beggary can only be a byproduct of civilization and man’s greed and habit to lay claim on things. Being that the case, when resources started becoming limited only a few could play successfully at the game. While most tried hard to lay stake, a few stayed true to their nature and sought out things for free. Like they had done before. Like it was supposed to be. From nature at first. And later from others. Their only mistake is not *working* for it.

Why is this wrong? Aren’t the resources of this earth to be shared equally with all its inhabitants? How can you call the money in your pocket as your own? Like any other resource, isn’t that to be shared too?

So maybe it is a big racket. So maybe the money you give goes straight to the bar cash box. Or maybe it dissuades even the ones who want to *work* for their living showing them an easy way out. But that, THAT, should not stop you from giving. And please, rid yourself of the foolish ego that makes you ask “how will the money I give be spent.” It simply is not in your right to do that. Like how your company does not question how you spend the salary they give you. Far-fetched? So be it. But true.

Are you asking – don’t you care what happens to these beggars? Don’t you want to give them a more sustainable means of livelihood? A more respectable(?) one? Yes, sure. Most definitely. But only if that beggar is FORCED to beg. If he or she is doing it out of his own free choice, then by all means I will encourage beggary and not preach to him to find work.

The other day, my father told us what I think he read in the Bhagavad Gita. That one should do Dharma (charity) to free himself of his previous karmas. Those who are beggars today are people who forgot to do dharma in their previous lives. So whenever one comes across an opportunity to give, he should do so freely. Only if he gives will he receive.

And then there is this book called Stars Signs by Linda Goodman that I cherish. One of the things it talks about is a way to create wealth or rather a way to attract money. Money, like all things in universe, is guided by the law of action and reaction. What goes around comes around. Simple. Linda is very clear in saying that only if you spend, you will get the money back – no point hoarding it.

So whichever way you look at it, emotional, spiritual, logical, or otherwise, I can only conclude that beggary is not bad. Not bad at all.

So the next time I come across a beggar and probably the many more times to come, I will part with a bit of what’s in my purse or buy him or her something to eat. If it is the former, I will not worry where that money goes but will definitely murmur a prayer hoping it is not funding amoral activities. What’s the definition of amoral, you ask? That’s for another blog post!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jayamma and her charges

Jayamma looked at the wall clock that had been given to her as a wedding gift thirty years back. It was already eight thirty and there was still no sight of Madhu and Rekha. The baby lying in the cradle looked like it might wail any minute but was content moving kicking its leg at the moment. Jayamma contemplated lifting the baby to her shoulders but deciding against it turned to her husband.

“Re, will you call them? They are usually here by seven, na?”

Srinivas did not seem to hear her, so drawn in was he by the cricket match that was being telecast live. His children had often joked in the past “If appa is watching a match, even an earthquake can’t budge him.” But Jayamma had never brought into that idea. So she repeated a little more tersely this time,

“Re, do you want to call them?” in a semi-loud voice, half-fearing that the baby might start crying. She tapped her husband’s shoulders for good measure and repeated it once more.

Srinivas turned away from the TV with an irritated expression on his face.

“They must have some meeting at the office. Why are you troubling me, ma?”

“No, re. Madhu would have told me if he had a meeting… Aren’t you worried about our son?“

Afraid that he might miss a catch, Srinivas took a minute until the commercial break to reply to Jayamma. “So what do you want to do now? Maybe Rekha had a meeting…” he frowned at Jayamma adding “…You call them”, Srinivas turned back to the TV notching up its volume a little.

As the noise of a thousand boisterous fans from the Kingsmead Stadium at South Africa filled the Bangalore household, the baby which had been quiet so far decided to join their league. It started out as a meek sound at beginning, like a kitten really. But when no adult peered at it for a few seconds, the baby decided it was time for the high works. The kitten sound turned into a tornado and almost drowned out the cricket noise. Tears started flowing from its eyes like a river and its face started resembling a ripe red melon.

Srinivas and Jayamma looked at each other shocked by the baby’s sudden change in temperament. Flustered, Jayamma started cooing to the baby, “Baboloo, Baboloo… what happened? Your stupid mother will be here soon dear, don’t you cry…” Srinivas tried to do his bit by lowering the TV volume and alternatively shifting his gaze from the baby to the TV and back again while repeatedly saying “what happened, baby.” But the baby was in no mood to listen. It was way past its dinner time and it wanted its mother’s breast at any cost.

Setting the cradle swinging, Jayamma hurried to the kitchen to heat the leftover milk from morning all the while muttering beneath her breath. “Irresponsible people, don’t they know that the baby wants its dinner by eight?” She lifted the almost-empty sugar dubba and scrapped its bottom with a bent spoon. When few of the remaining crystals that clung to it refused to budge, she gave the dubba a good bang against the wall, and looked at it viciously. “They take it for granted that I will be there.. What if I had gone for my meditation class and Baboloo is just with his grandpa…. That fellow can’t light a gas for all his life’s worth” She cast a dirty glance towards the hall where Srinivas had by now moved towards the baby and was desperately dancing around the cradle.

Quickly wiping the split milk drops from the kitchen slab, Jayamma carried the feeding bottle back to the hall. “Here, hold this” she thrust the bottle at Srinivas without glancing in his direction. She first checked the baby’s bottom for wetness before lifting it to her shoulders. She rubbed its back up and down cooing sweet nothings. Moving the baby tightly against her chest, she took the bottle from Srinivas and gently took it towards the baby’s crying mouth.

When the warm silicon nipple touched its pink lips, the baby stopped crying instantly. It opened its mouth wider and tried to take in the entire nipple only to find it too big for its four month old mouth. Baffled at its non-cooperation, the baby spit out the nipple and scrunched up its face ready to cry again. Jayamma smiled amused at its greed, just like its father, and tried to coax the nipple back into its mouth. A drop of milk escaped from the bottle and fell onto the baby’s mouth. Tasting its sharp sweetness, the baby immediately started suckling the nipple forgetting its intention of a moment back. Jayamma heaved a sigh of relief and settled back against the brown sofa coated liberally with dog’s hair. “Re, change the channel; it is time for the serial.”

Srinivas reluctantly lifted the remote from the floor and changed to the Udaya channel for the serial the household had been following for ten months. Today is a crucial day. The mother in law was going to confront her daughter in law over her neglect of household duties.

“Increase the volume, re” Jayamma commanded.

To be continued…

Monday, May 11, 2009

Final thoughts

Warning: You may perceive this poem as pretty gruesome in places. Read on at your own risk.

I’m a dumb dog
Lying in the middle of a highway
Hit by a speeding car
Flesh of my stomach peeping out
I don’t think of the pain, I can’t bear the thought
Of the next car that might run me over
Tossed between the four wheels, I surely won’t
Have time to say my final thank you
I once felt jealous of a puppy for getting
All the attention I thought I deserved
Today, I know I can’t be more unnoticed
Even if I were to lay my heart out bare

I’m a dying moth
Lying dead on a dusty window sill
That kids will try to make fly
Lifting me by my flimsy wings
Or dangling me by the ends of the antennae
And soon I will crumble to powders on the ground
The touch of breeze, the water drop on a dry day
Are stories that will never get told
My dull eyes shall watch the joy in their eyes
Turn to disgust at my lifeless form
I wonder if moths are born again
Will I die in the same way

I’m an aborted fetus
Stored in a carefully sterilized jar
Discarded from my mother’s womb
In the lab, most sought after for my deformities
Did I say I was unwanted?
I had two eyes, two ears, and a mouth
But in my hurry forgot to form the nose
Found fused it was in the seventh month scan
Flushed out into a cool liquid the day after
My never used heart didn’t know to feel pain
Even when a tiny piece tore under the surgeon’s knife
What would I have become if I had lived

Monday, May 4, 2009

Of high brows, beauty, and YLG

I first set foot in a beauty parlour some ten years ago. I had been fortunate to inherit the right feature from the right parent except for that one thing which I got from pop. I didn’t realize it was a big deal until I came to college and started seeing beautifully shaped bows for brows. I wondered at their perfection. Some curved like arrows, some straight as a line, some so thin they were almost not there, some simply too perfect – but all of them with one thing in common. They looked beautiful on the faces where they belonged. Then somebody, I think my sister, let me in on the secret. “Idiot, they are not natural natural”, she said. “You can get them too!” Wow, I can? My long association with the parlours must have begun then. For the next ten years or so till now, I had been religiously keeping my appointments with them in search of that elusive eye brow.

I must have frequented over twenty parlours and salons by now at various times – different cities, different brands, different aunties! But yet, I have never found one which I wanted to stick to. There had always been a better one, recommended by someone, than the one I frequented and off I went to experience that. All in the quest towards high brows and beauty.

So naturally when Shalini of Galvanise emailed me asking if I would be interested in experiencing the services of a new beauty salon that has recently been started in Bangalore, I readily said yes. The said salon and spa, YLG, a client of Galvanise, was inviting women bloggers from Bangalore to try its services and write about their true experiences. In turn, the ladies would get to indulge themselves for three hours at the salon without any rupees attached to it. Seemed like a good offer to me so we quickly fixed an available time slot on the first of May for me to visit their branch at Jayanagar.

Before telling you about my experience, here’s some background on them. YLG salon and spa was launched early this year and aims to become the neighborhood salon of Bangalore. They even want to become a national chain in the next five years. This all women salon and spa is differentiating itself through its strong emphasis on personalization – seems they have a robust backend IT system where customer data is captured allowing the customer to be recognized at any of their branches across the city. Hmm, sounds like a plan.

May first was a Labour Day holiday and I had an entire day all for myself to spend as I wish. I was looking forward to my appointment at YLG at eleven. The Jayanagar branch was easy enough to locate after a phone call – they are right opposite Bhavani bangle stores at fourth block. The moment I walked in, I was greeted by its cheerfully made up interiors – bright and inviting. After spending ten minutes with an attendant who profiled my skin and hair, we decided on an Aglow Facial and Hair Bio Spa for me. Ha, indulgence, here I come.

While we waited for my service room to be set up, I quizzed the attendant on why YLG is different. Of all the things that she explained, the one thing that struck me as a bargain is one of their membership/offer schemes. There are two kinds of membership – Gold and Gold Plus and then there is per service unlimited offer price. The Gold is like any other membership where a bouquet of services is included with unlimited usage per year. Gold Plus includes ALL of their services, unlimited usage (as frequent as everyday if you want!) of any service, and validity of a year. That seemed very interesting to me until I heard its price point. Uh-uh, not for me! So finally I turned to their per service offer and decided I might even go for one. It’s beautifully priced like a fixed price bid! Pay 10 times the one-time cost of a service and use it as much as you want in a year. For instance, if my SIL gets a facial done once every month, it will make twelve times per year. With this offer, she would need to pay for just 10 months and what’s more, she can use it for more than 12 times! This is amazing, especially for services like hair coloring, trimming, hair spa, etc. where you might want to visit a parlour many many times a year.

I opted to start with the Aglow facial for my three hours of indulgence. Like all facials, this one too had the regular round of cleansing, scrubbing, removal of heads :D, toning, massaging and stuff. But one thing that was different was their use of an ultrasonic machine to treat the face – I’m not sure what that’s for but am guessing it is to improve the blood circulation in the face! And the face and neck massage was something to die for! Oh man, did the attendant know what she was doing or what? At the end of one hour, I was almost asleep and floating in the dream world of words and letters writing my soon-to-be-published short story collection!

The Hair Bio Spa, the next thing on schedule, is a simple procedure where the hair is washed, hydrated, massaged and steamed. This one had one of their breakthrough services (or so they claim) called Chromosteam - a way of head massage which includes strengthening of hair roots and nourishing the scalp through light radiation and steam. Though there was nothing noticeably different about my hair after this (being that my hair is quiet ok already!), I did feel good to have someone else shampoo it for me for a change!

Overall, I liked visiting YLG. But the best thing I liked about their entire service is the willingness of the service attendants to explain what they were doing when I asked them. Many a times, in my previous experiences at other places, the attendants were never forthcoming about their actions or the products they used – almost as if they were afraid of me noting it down to do it myself next time instead of coming to them. That used to put me off. But the folks at YLG were nice in that respect – they did not fear letting me know what exactly they were going to do next to me. Transparency. I liked it.

YLG does not exactly stand for anything. But it may be, may be an acronym for “you look great”, “you look gorgeous”, or ”you look good”. It all depends on how you feel once you are out of there. I did feel good.

Oh ya, before I sign off, I just loved their Jayanagar branch. One side of the salon’s wall was made of transparent glass and overlooked the Jayanagar street below. And more beautiful were the two big trees that stood outside providing green cover. This washed the entire parlour in soft natural light making it look calm, bright, expansive, and yet chic. Very nice unlike the other parlours where one starts feeling claustrophic with the limited space and artificial lighting.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

O Husband! Where are you when we need you?

When my husband asked me “Will you miss me?” I replied “Probably not! I will be too busy at my mom’s place. I will try to though.” I didn’t know that I will be cursing myself for giving that smart aleck answer just a few hours later.

I and my daughter decided to set forth on a long journey some 350 kilometers over hills and plains, bridges and crossings, to the wonderful city of Chennai – all alone. We decided no husband and no father – the girls needed their time out from male auras. So there we were, loaded with two heavy backpacks - one for her and one for me - and my handbag. When we boarded the train, with the said aura in reach, I didn’t realize what’s in store for me the next day.

No one, absolutely no one, not even my husband, ever told me about the secret life of backpacks and how they get incubated overnight on trains to hatch into monsters. I am so sickened to realize that the world kept this secret from me for so long. Did you know about this? If you did, you should be ashamed of yourself for not warning me. If not, please know now.

It was 4:30 in the morning and the train was scheduled to reach the final destination at 5 or so. I sneaked my hand down below the side lower birth where we were sleeping to touch our backpacks and make sure they were there. One of them contained an entire half of my wardrobe and I didn’t want some stupid thief getting hold of that. Assured that they were there, I turned back to my daughter to find her snoring softly. Ha, all is well, I thought and returned back to my sleep.

Next thing I know, I am rudely woken up by a loud cry of an invisible man yelling “last station last station.” I had been sleeping even after the train had reached my station, probably for a good ten minutes! Thanking god it is the last station, I quickly grabbed my shoes and my daughter’s and turned to look for a porter to take the bags. Uh-uh, no one in sight. What the heck, I can manage three bags and one kid by myself I decided and heaved the two bags from below. They were just fine at that point. So I put one of them on my back, picked up my handbag on my right, and took the still-sleeping kid on my left, and then I suddenly realized that I didn’t have a third hand to take the other backpack! Now what?

Let’s wake the kiddo and make her walk I thought and tried to shake her up to consciousness. But no, the lady was totally oblivious to my efforts and snuggled even further into my shoulders. No, no, no, that won’t do. I tried to cajole her with promises of chocolate and ice cream but she didn’t buy them! By then, the Chennai heat had started to work its wonders sneaking up into the compartment. My face was getting drenched with sweat. Don’t panic now VJ, let’s just get down from this bloody train and all will be fine I muttered to myself. After a great struggle with the swinging door of the accompartment, I got down on the almost-empty platform with three bags, one kid, and two hands.

So there, all I need to do is walk down some 1 kilometer past the train (the ac compartment was but the last coach in the train) into the railway station and an auto. Should be easy.

It would have been too. Easy. But for the secret that the world and my husband had concealed from me. The backpacks which must have been just 4 kilos the previous day seemed to have turned to over 40. Add to that a two year old kid. And my own 50+ (you didn’t think I will reveal my exact weight, did you?) The next one hour became the longest walk in my life.

The kid was still sleeping clinging to my hips, and the backpacks still didn’t want to walk. I had never enrolled my handbag for flying classes so can’t blame it for not knowing to fly. So it fell upon my hands and legs to learn the fine art of balancing forty kilos on one side, another ten or so on another, and keeping an overall 50+ (still not telling you!) straight and standing at the same time. I almost managed it. Except that one of the backpacks suddenly decided to jump down to the ground and take some rest right there and then. I tried to pick it back up but it didn’t budge. I didn’t know if backpacks liked chocolate and ice cream so didn’t bother with promises this time – I directly went to brute force. Unfortunately, it didn’t like brute force.

Just then, its brother, the other backpack decided to join in on the fun but found itself strapped to my shoulders. Never mind I can still get down seemed to be its motive and it almost dragged me down on the other backpack on the platform. Hello guys? Hello! I’m the master here, you know? You guys are supposed to be lifeless things that get loaded and dragged everywhere by us superior creatures. What do you think you are doing? I sternly questioned the two rascals. And that’s when they told me the truth about themselves.

It seems they are not really lifeless backpacks – it’s true that most of them remain that way all their life – but some of them, very few lucky ones actually, get the opportunity to turn into little monsters at some point in their life. The metamorphosis required a very special set of procedure – that involved travelling by train, getting stashed into the space below side lower berth, accompanied by another one of their kind (it happens only in pairs), and being carried by a human female with just a two year old for company and no one else, especially not her husband. If all these happened, then the backpacks will turn into backtroms, the little jumping monsters from marstrix. They get to enjoy this life for a very short while until the said human female comes into the company of a dumb man - then they return back to their lifeless form forever, content in the knowledge that they had experienced nirvana at least once. At least this is what the ancestors of the backpacks told them. Saying this, Bogobogo (the previously black backpack on my back) finally managed to jump down to the ground, triumphantly crying “hey it’s true, it is our lucky day!”

I watched all this with a shock typical of dumb spectators who witness aliens landing on their roof. Though I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears, somewhere in my brain I realized that what’s happening in front of me is very rare. Probably, very few of us humans would get to see this and live to tell in our life time. And I was determined that I will live to tell and write about this.

So mentally making notes for my blog, I approached Wogowogo (the previously blue backpack that had jumped to the ground first) and asked it to behave itself. “Wogowogo, you are carrying half of my cloth belongings. Please, would you mind treating them with care?”

“Sure human lady, don’t worry, though we are now backtroms, we still respect the duties of our backpack days” replied the confident Wogowogo adding “but please let us play for some time, will you?”

Heaving a sigh of relief, I waited for a while for both of them to get accustomed to their new status as backtroms. In that almost-empty platform, early in the morning, I sat watching the miracle of backtroms playing with each other, jumping and flying in the air, shouting obscenities about the humankind (both these backtroms were males). I saw them do somersaults, twist and turns, gyrate in space, and much more acts that defy word forms. As I was watching this, my daughter woke up gradually and smiled me her consent to walk on her own.

We waited for a while more watching those two together. Then, I called them and told them that I am getting late. They need to come with me if they want to remain with me. They readily agreed, and the four of us walked, jumped, and flew across the platform to the entrance of the railway station. Just then, an idiot, in the form of an auto driver, offered to take me home which is usually not more than 100 rupees away, demanding me to pay 200. With a sad smile, the backtroms turned back to backpacks and fell heavily on my shoulders. I stared at the dumb fellow and called him a fool for his atrocity.

I had to carry the two heavy backpacks for the rest of the way to our auto and home. I wished my husband had been there to witness the miracle of our two backpacks, and of course carry them after. After all, the miracle happens only once in their life time and they will never become backtroms ever again.

O husband, where were you when we needed you?