The Rainmaker

Fictions are interesting, aren’t they? Yes, because they are an escape for us, escape to a fantasy. This was my little effort in my escape from the world.

This story is about a village in South Africa. Unknown to many, Leboa is one of the most remote villages of South Africa. The people here led a simple life, mostly driven by farming and livestock, and businessmen were considered a luxurious class of people by the Leboans. They were happy with what they had and never complained to anyone, not even God, for their poverty or livelihood. They believed in the fact that if God has given you life, then you are no one to decide that what will be course in the coming time. Leading a luxurious life, was not in your hands. It was God’s mercy that they were still alive.

Usually a tribe has a leader, but since the village was itself the size of a tribe, they had a brave and an intelligent leader or rather the one, who people believed in. He went by the name, William. He was the bravest of all Leboans. He was believed to have killed tigers with his bare hands. He did everything he could to save his village from the wrath of the predators, and any other unknown threat. The most common of threat was wild animals, which was taken care of by William.

The years passed by and the Leboans were leading a peaceful life, until the day, things changed.

Since it was Africa, availability of water was a common problem which was met by rivers and the seasonal rains. This was being followed since ages but everyone knew that one day, these sources would be exhausted and they couldn’t do anything about it. And that day came, when all the rivers located in Leboa ran out of water. The livestock and farms of the people were all devastated. They couldn’t think of a substitute source. They talked to William about it. He said that they would have to pray to God for blessing them with water. Many Leboans protested against violating the ritual of not praying to God, which was being practiced since ages. But the well-wishers of the village thought that it was the best and the only option they were left with. They started gathering around the tallest mountain in the village and started worshipping God to bless them with rain and bring their livestock and farms back to life. William also prayed to God for blessing the village and their long life. They prayed for days in the hope that they would get what they want. After a span of two weeks, when it seemed as if their prayers were worthless, it began to rain. It rained cats and dogs that morning and the whole village seemed refreshed as if God himself decorated that beautiful place. The Leboans started dancing and singing in rejoice, but something interrupted their celebrations. They noticed a mysterious figure, on the top of the mountain. It looked as if God had descended on the earth itself but William knew that it wasn’t what the people thought. He came forward and asked

“Who are you?”

He answered ”I am the Rainmaker”.

William asked  “What are you here for?”

He said ”God has sent me to help your people. I know who you are, William, and that you love the people of your village. I am here for the same. I mean to help them.”

William was still in a dilemma but since it seemed to benefit the people, he didn’t protest. The people were very joyful and started worshipping the Rainmaker. He stayed on the top of the mountain and didn’t come near the village. He wore robes and hoods that covered his body, and his face. The people didn’t know who he was or how did he look, but they knew one thing that the Rainmaker could solve all their problems. He could heal people, bring them to life, provide them food, save them from wild animals and what not, from the top of the mountain itself. As the days passed by, the people started consulting the Rainmaker for everything, and no one cared about William anymore. They believed that the rainmaker was the solution to all their problems. William was not jealous or anything of the Rainmaker, neither did he envy him, it was just that he believed something wasn’t right. He had questions regarding the Rainmaker’s identity and was he really what he said. He needed to do something, and the he had only one option left. He had to journey to the Rainmaker’s den.

He set off the next morning and was very careful that no one, not even the Rainmaker notices him. He reached the top in a few hours and stealthily entered the Rainmaker’s den. He noticed very unusual things, skulls, pendants, red lights  in the den, axes, saw, spears, that made William scared. He had to do something. So, he hid in the cave and waited for the Rainmaker to come. After an hour or so, the Rainmaker came back to his cave and started disrobing. William quickly jumped and grabbed the Rainmaker’s arms with a spear in his hands, pointing to his throat.

William asked”Who are you, and I want the truth this time.”

“You really want to know who I am?”

“Yes”

“What if I told you I was God?”

“I know that you lied to my people. But you can’t fool me. These things in your den indicate something evil.”

“OK. Let’s say I am something evil, but what will you do? You can’t harm me.”

“Whatever you are, but you are in human form right now. I can do whatever I want, so don’t make me.”

“OK”

And the Rainmaker removes his hood. William was closely observing, and what he saw was something he couldn’t imagine.

He had a red skull. It was bloody red as if it had been crystallized out of blood itself. It was something he had never seen before. And the Rainmaker turned towards William. He had a carved, hideous red face, empty eye sockets, teeth visible from his mouth and a slightly bent, curved inwards nose. William was frightened and shocked. He called out “Devil”.

The Rainmaker freed himself of his grasp, but didn’t run away. William asked him “Who are you and why are you here?”, still holding the spear in his hands.

The Rainmaker answered “I am the son of the Satan, the son of the devil himself.”

“Why are you here, and what do you want with my people?”

“The reason is simple. I help them, provide services, heal them and what not. And in return, I want their souls.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“You see William. My father, the almighty of hell itself, exiled me from hell for my mischief and ordered me that I couldn’t return to hell until I have acquired a thousand souls of the innocent and fed upon them.”

“Why my village?”

“I was descended here. It was not my choice. You would have noticed that the number of people in your village have declined and if you have not then I am telling you. You see, I go out at night, grab a hold of handful of your people, rip their bodies apart, bathe in their blood, feed upon their souls, and my devil, that pleasure, the best in the freakin world.” And the Rainmaker started laughing in a devilish manner.

William was feeling guilty and angry at the same time. The Rainmaker continued,

“I am done with 500 of your people, and if you will excuse me, I have to buy my way to hell. (Again bursting into laughter)You see I am humorous as well.”

“That is so evil of you.”

“Oh poor William, Evil is what I am. After all, I am the son of the devil.”He pushed William aside and picked up a pendant. He murmered something and suddenly vanished. William was gobsmacked. There was nothing he could do. He couldn’t even follow him. He went back to the village and tried to inform the people about him and his ugly motives.But he had acquired control of the deepest thoughts of the people. They were not ready to believe William and criticized him for saying ill about the Rainmaker.

Meanwhile, the Rainmaker was busy with his cause. He went place to place,house to house, and killed everyone there, fed upon their souls, and teleported to another place, leaving no clue behind. He took the body of his victims with him, and hid them in his den. No one knew about him, and they worshipped the son of the devil as their deity, their God.Wiliiam had to do something. He had to save his people.

The next evening, he went to the Rainmaker’s crib and waited there for him. As he came back, he performed a worship that was meant for replenishing his powers, by the means of those pendants and that skull, which had to be sacrificed in a fire in order to complete the ritual. William had no other option left. When the Rainmaker was in the middle of his act, he revealed himself and quickly jumped in the fire. He started groaning loudly as the flames covered his entire body.

“Ahhhhh,.,,,… What’s happening to me?”

The Rainmaker was horrified and shouted”What have you done, you filthy earthling?”

William was in intense pain and the Rainmaker was growing more and more red in colour.

“Help me, somebody, anybody, please. Ahhhhhh…….”

The Rainmaker started enlarging in size and it seemed as if he was evolving, changing to his devil form. His hands started turning to claws, eyes bulging out, his teeth so vicious. But suddenly, the fire extinguished itself. William jumped out of the flame and grabbed the Rainmaker. Suddenly the Rainmaker started coming in his original form and he did. But something strange happened. William had turned himself into something that he could never think of. He had acquired all the powers of the Rainmaker, leaving him powerless.

Rainmaker moaned loudly “No…….. What have you done,you fool.”

William had never experienced that power before, it was all so new for him, but he was scared.He grabbed the Rainmaker and and started choking him.

“What has happened to me?”

“You brought this upon yourself.You took all my freaking powers.”

“What does it mean?”

He shouted “It means you are me now.You are the Son of the Devil.”

William was terrified.”It means…….. I….I….”

He let go off the Rainmaker and noticed himself carefully.His eye sockets were empty, vicious teeth, same red skull. He was going crazy. He asked the Rainmaker,

“How can I reverse it?”

“You can’t. You will have to carry this curse for the rest of your life.”

But before he could do something, the Rainmaker took a spear and killed himself.William couldn’t ask him anything and he was left with another question that why did the Rainmaker kill himself? Before he could do something, all the answers to his questions flashed in front of his eyes.He had to complete the task that was assigned to the Rainmaker before he could let go the curse upon him. But how could he kill his own people, he was their saviour.He could do nothing about it. With that curse, he left that cave. He went outside, and saw that the whole village was worshipping him, unknown of the fact that although he was William but now he was the Devil.He ignored all of them, and went back to his cave. People waited for him for days, but he didn’t come back. He couldn’t tell them the truth. After a few weeks, the people started believing that the Rainmaker went away exactly the same way he came, anonymously and strangely. They soon forgot him and never noticed that their well-wisher William went away to a place from where he could never return.

The End, Is it?

The Burning Desire.

Class 11th. Our teacher who taught us English, gave us a task. She had these phrases that were supposed to be from some horror story. We had to cook up a story, supposedly horror, and we had to add that phrase in it. So, it went like this……

 

It was the month of September and winters had set in.Hannah, who lived with her mom, at 23 Jump Street, was the sort of girl, people would love to make friends with.She was cheerful, lively, and always smiling.Her face was full of freckles and bore an expression of innocence.She had a lot of friends, who loved her company.She was the most popular girl of her school.She was 14 years old and was going through the same problems as a teenager does.She lived alone with her mom.Her mom, Sereena, had a difficult life and taught at a primary school, to make a living.She had Hannah to support her and she loved her daughter more than anyone else in the world.Since the winters had set in,they decided to light the fireplace,under the mantelpiece in the living room.It hadn’t been used for a long time because they had turned up at that place, just a while back.The house had been deserted for the last 10 years and they bought it a cheap price.There was a ghastly feeling in that house that bothered Sereena at times, but she ignored it and convinced herself that it was just the empty rooms and loneliness that made her feel different. It was very difficult to light the fireplace for Sereena.It wasn’t like she was very old or anything, it took her hours to light the fireplace.But whenever Hannah asked her mom to do it, she always did it in one go. Sereena never believed, how she did that, she thought that she really was growing old.It was a mystery.Even Hannah didn’t know about it.She kept teasing her mother that how she lit the fire quickly and Sereena could not and how old Sereena was growing.Sereena loved her and laughed over her jokes because she knew that Hannah could never love her less.But they both knew one thing, that, apart from who lit it up faster, there was something really strange about that flame.

It made some sort of noise daily but only during the night.It sounded like a scream, like it was calling someone, or rather someone’s name.But Hannah and Sereena didn’t know what it was and where did it come from? Since it was night time so none of them dared to go and look for the source of the annoying sound.The sound was soothing,polite,and echoed throughout the complete house but was unclear.But it was terrifying for both of them because they knew nothing about it and couldn’t understand it even.It was a complete mystery until the day, Hannah came to know that the sound came from the fireplace.

It was a pretty cold winter day and Hannah came home early.Her mother was still at school. She was all alone at home.She was getting bored so she thought that she should do her homework.As she sat down to do her homework, she heard her mom yell her name from downstairs.So, she got up and started to head down.As she got to the stairs, Sereena pulled her to the room and said “I heard that too”.Hannah was shocked and asked Sereena that when did she come home?She told Hannah that her  school got off early due to the bad weather.They started listening to the voice very carefully as they started to head downstairs.As they reached the living room, they noticed something really horrifying.

The voice was coming from the fireplace.Someone was calling Hannah’s name and it was like “ Hannah…I love you my child.Where are you?”Hannah and Sereena were shocked.They were frightened, as  they were alone in the house and no one was around.The voice was repeating itself and was calling Hannah.Hannah didn’t have a clue, to what it was, but Sereena did.Hannah looked at her mother, sinking into the chair.Hannah asked her, what was the voice? Sereena had no chioce.She had to tell her the truth.

Hannah was listening curiously.Sereena told her that 13 years ago, a lady, Mrs. Williams died in her house in the neighbourhood where Sereena then lived.She was Sereena’s neighbour.That time, the neighbourhood was terrorized by naxalites and they did horrible activities to show the people their power.They only set Mrs.Williams house on fire.But somehow she managed to save her daughter and sacrificed her own life.After the fire was put out, Sereena went to that place and she found a baby girl, wrapped in blankets, hidden in the bushes of her garden.A very sweet and beautiful child.It was Hannah.Sereena took her home, didn’t inform anyone about it and started taking care of her.She didn’t marry herself.This was the reason, she deserted that place and has been on a move since then.She told Hannah, how much she loved her and couldn’t love her less.Hannah was shocked.She couldn’t speak.She turned and started heading towards the fireplace slowly.She raised her hand towards the fire and said “Mom”.Suddenly, the voice came again.It sounded different this time.It was more quiet and it seemed as if that flame had come to life.It called out Hannah’s name and said “ My daughter, I love you. I wish all your wishes come true.I could not do anything for you.Please forgive me.I just wanted to talk to you once, and look at my daughter but I can’t do that.Don’t hate your mother and don’t forget me.”and the flame was suddenly put out.Hannah ran towards Sereena, hugged her and started crying.Sereena apologised for not telling her the truth for such a long time.After that day, the voice was never heard again.

 

 

Hospitals, can sure be interesting, if not Fun(Not supposed to be fun)

29th April, Saturday

I had my Chemistry Practical exam in the morning but since I am way too certain about my exams this year, it was bound to be good. I come back, help myself to some lunch and rest on the chair outside my hostel. There was no air, but I was a little tired so it felt good anyway. Out of nowhere, I get a call from my aunt that I have to go and get an appointment for her at AIIMS, Delhi, one of the largest hospitals and medical institutes in the country. She had a little problem in the past, and the doctor had instructed for my aunt to meet with the concerned doctor, six weeks after she was discharged from the hospital, that was on 19th April. Six weeks later makes it 1st week of June. I was clearly instructed to go and get it as soon as possible, and the very same day, if possible of course. It was way too hot. I thought, let us rest for a while and we’ll go then. So, I went to one of my seniors’ room and spent maybe an hour or two there, doing nothing. Then it started raining, and then I didn’t want to go at all. I called my father, after dinner and told him, that I couldn’t make it there due to the rain and everything(couldn’t say that I did it on purpose). He said, alright, but go there on Monday. I consented.

1st May, Monday

When my aunt was first admitted there, the people made this green colored card for her, that was probably for her medications and future appointments, probably. That was with my cousin, who lives like a 5 minute walk away from me in Delhi. I went and fetched it the previous evening. So, there the card lied on my desk, and with it watching me, I wasted the entire day, doing nothing. In the evening, when it finally dawned upon me that I have had enough and it was wrong of me to do so, I washed my face, changed clothes, got the card, and set off to there, at 05:30(Yeah, that’s how foolish and stern at the same time, I am). Took me 20 minutes to reach there. I entered the premises and knew my way to the Cardio-thoracic and Neurosciences ward(I had been there already when I first visited my aunt). I tried to act a little smart and went on an expedition of my own, around the hospital. My father and uncle had instructed me to go to window number ’33’ and get the appointment. I was roaming in those corridors, following where everyone was going, the corridors with their low roofs and brick-colored glossy tiles, a typical hospital. There was sadness surrounding me, and doctors too. When I finally gave up, I went to the reception desk and asked for it. He told me to make a few turns, so I did. To my surprise, I found the window shut. I asked the guard there, about the timings. He said, it’s from 09:00 to 05:30. I looked at the time, it was half past six. I was scared to call my father and tell him about my unsuccessful attempt at getting the appointment, but what is done, is done. I repeated the lines in my head, and told him about it. He said, come tomorrow morning and get it, for sure. I said, you bet, and then went back to the Hostel.

2nd May, Tuesday

So I have many friends in the hostel, and as I was narrating my unsuccessful attempt’s’ to them, they offered to come with me. I could do nothing but agree(I personally wanted them to come, but waited for them to ask). So the morning of 2nd May, saw us exiting the hostel premises, with a shoulder-bag and a water bottle(And the green card of course). It was 09:30 and we reached the hospital at about 09:45. I was explaining to them, about my past experience, when I visited my aunt, and the shortest way to reach the gates of the hospital(It is always great to share everything with them). We went straight in and now that I knew the address of Window 33, reached there without any trouble. The window that was deserted the previous evening, saw quite a long queue of people that were waiting to get their appointments. Different windows served different purposes, one of them was for new appointments, the other one was for appointments for the following couple of days, and Window 33 was for follow-up appointments, i.e., for appointments in the future, as directed by the concerned doctor. I stood in the queue, and asked them to stay out, but they stood with me anyway. We waited and waited, and all this while, I was using my sense of observation, for creating humor and making them laugh, because that is something that a hospital lacks. We stood at the window, produced the green card, and explained to the person, of when do we want the appointment. Now, there was a little complication. When a patient is discharged, a ‘ Discharge Sheet/Report’ is prepared, that includes everything, from top to bottom, about the patient’s stay at the hospital. All the medicines, the diagnosis, status reports, etc, it’s all there. The green card said, the follow-up appointment was supposed to be taken with a certain ‘Dr. Vishnu’, but my uncle had told that the my aunt was under the supervision of ‘ Dr. MV Padma’ and had to get a follow up appointment with the same. We told that to the person at the window, but he said, he can allot us the appointment, only to the doctor mentioned in the green card. We took the appointment, came in the corridor again, uncertain about what had we done, and started making phone calls. My father said, talk to some doctor there and ask about this problem. The green card said, my aunt was first diagnosed by ‘Dr. Pooja Narang’ and she had written the diagnosis report on the green card. Now, our primary task was to locate Dr. Pooja Narang, and ask her that whether she had referred the patient to a wrong doctor, or what was going on. We went from floor to floor. ward to ward, room to room, in search of her, but couldn’t find her. Some of the people we asked said, she will be in the OPD, and others had no idea at all. We spent an hour doing this, but it all was futile. Finally we met the right person, who upon being asked, told us that, Dr. Pooja Narang was actually not a doctor there, but a Senior Resident. She had come there for a certain purpose, and was not available there always. He told us to go tell the person on the counter about the Discharge Sheet, or we could get an appointment our self by using these systems that could allot you appointments online but to our discontent, we found that they were just for appointments of the next couple of days. So, six weeks were out of the question. While we were going through all the commotion, I was thinking to myself that what have I dragged them into, how were they feeling, standing by me and helping me with everything and going everywhere I went. I felt great, but was feeling a little strange for them. So, we went to the window again and asked the person about this, and he told us that we need to get the Discharge Sheet, to make that appointment happen. But, those 3 papers were 160 Kilometers and 4 hours away from me. I was hopeless again. I started considering the possibility of coming a couple of days later, with the sheet, that would have been brought to Delhi by someone coming here, in the near future. They said, no, we won’t go without the appointment, and I rarely disagree with them, because they are never wrong. So, I asked my father, what to do. He said, ‘Get a printout of images sent to you via Whatsapp’. That would have been a great thing, but only if it was possible. So, we asked a few more people and a few people who, supposedly were doctors(The ones that had white-colored coats on). They said, that yes, a printed copy of the images of the same should do and that gave us some hope. So, now we had to find a place where we could get reproduce the discharge sheet. There was a cyber cafe, in the boys hostel campus, 200 meters away from the CNC Department. We went there, in the sun. They were bearing this all with me, so I couldn’t just go on like that. I did my best to entertain them, again with my stories and comical incidents. Their smile was rejuvenating in itself. We got the printouts and came all the way back to our window. Produced the printed copy to the person sitting there, explained the entire thing to him and without any questions, he gave us the appointment of the desired date. After all the tiresome walks and questions and talks, this was the second-most satisfying thing, after their smile. We came out with the report in our hands, and with happiness on our faces. I called my father, told him and received some much needed appreciation. I also called my aunt and uncle and told them. They thanked me, which was not needed at all. It was my duty to do so, for my family. We came out and boarded the bus back to the hostel. On our way back, though it was hard to put it in words, I thanked them for accompanying me and helping me all the way. But their expressions expressed that that gratitude was not needed too. I too wouldn’t have given up like that, and would have got the appointment at any cost. With them, it was just a little easier and just a little less tiresome. Companions like them are rare to find and I am glad to have them by my side. Thank You.

The experience taught me many important things. It taught me, how to manage stuff on your own, when your guardians are not with you. With parents, everything seems so easy, so smooth. It’s then that you actually learn, when they are not there. The way to talk, to ask, to convey, to manage, to arrange, to think, everything. A hospital is never happening, never, but it is your choice to make it interesting. There is a lot to learn out there. So remember, know which window you have to reach and the documents to take with you. And there is nothing better than a companion, to help you through. See you soon, Dr. Padma.

Imagine Dragons!

via Daily Prompt: Roots

So, I wake up in the morning and turn on the television, as I always did, to watch my favorite music channel, and I see this new song by Imagine Dragons playing but by the time I switched to that channel, only the last ten seconds of the song were left and what I could make out of the lyrics was, ‘I’m going back to my…….another day’. I had to know the song because it had a ring to it, as all songs by Imagine Dragons do. I googled it and found, ‘Imagine Dragons-Roots’. And I loved that song.Still do, it’s amazing. If you haven’t heard it yet, do for sure.

Things not to do in Metro!

17 April, 2017

After a tiring 4 hour journey in the bus, reached one of the most busiest, in terms of traffic and pollution both, cities of the country, Delhi, Vaishali Metro Station in particular because that is where buses drop you. I was, of course, tired(and hungry and thirsty). I entered the metro station. Now, metro travel has been made really efficient with the introduction of Metro cards, but due to some reason, I didn’t have mine with me, on that particular day. I stood in the line for the token, and took one. The platforms were 2 floors above. Took the stairs and reached the platform. Now, Vaishali is the terminating metro station and hence, only that’s where you get the opportunity to get a seat for yourself. I, hoping for the same, entered the coach that was right in front of me. The doors closed and that huge vehicle, a remarkable example of the development in Delhi, started hovering over the tracks(because once set in motion, it seems like you are floating). This guy was standing opposite to me, trying to act all cool and smart. We exchanged glances, with no intentions to know each other or engage in any sort of conversation whatsoever. I had headphones on. I started to lip-sync to the song that I was listening to. And a minute later, I saw the same guy, singing something, even though he wasn’t listening to anything. I smiled to myself and started looking in the distance, through the door glass. 5 or 6 metro stations must have passed, when I suddenly saw this sign-board on the Metro platform that read ‘ Women’s Only’ and I flushed with shame. Only then I realized the uncanny number of the women in the coach, but it was not the women, but me, there, in a women’s coach, surrounded by so many strange faces. I couldn’t move my hands away from my face for the next 10 seconds. I was so ashamed of myself. I had never done this before. That must have triggered my senses and I started feeling like, the women there were looking at me, in a strange way.(They already must be, right from the start, but I noticed it only then, because I realized it only then) I didn’t have the courage to look them in the eye. The only thing I could wish, was for them not to complain to the guard about me, standing in a women’s coach.(It was reserved and called ‘Women’s coach’ for a reason and levied a heavy fine on the men travelling in there). I had to change the metro at this particular station, Mandi House, and as soon as that station came, I exited the metro(Yeah, I was dumb enough, not to change the coach, right after I realized it). Reached the Hostel an hour later, and told my friends about it and was a butt of jokes for next 2 days, only because of my ignorance! I don’t know, whether to laugh or cry, but I sure can tell you one thing, do not do this, like ever, if you don’t want to be added in the hate list of those certain women and of course, of the guards, who’d empty your wallet and give you a few words of advice, which will sound more like they’re threatening you. May God Be With You(In the common coaches, of course).

Time and Irony!

While scrolling through the choices of the theme for my Blog, a theme titled ‘Coherent’ caught my eye but the only reason that I didn’t select it was, since I am not clear about what am I doing, why am I doing, how can I choose the theme that signifies clarity? As funny as it sounds, that was the only reason. No clarity of thought, past, present, future, career, life. Nothing at all. Procrastination(Commonly seen among us adolescents) is bliss. I try to avoid it, but in some or the other part of my daily life, it is evident. After waking up in the morning, I decide my routine, ‘So, this is what all I am going to do today.’ Studying, reading the novel that rests on my desk, playing some sports, having proper food, completing all the pending tasks, cleaning the room, and of course, choose something to write for the blog. I eat, play, and sleep, use my phone, and….no, that’s pretty much it. And at the end of the day, I curse myself for doing nothing. I know, it is wrong, but still I do nothing. My brain is getting slow and rusty, I know I can do way better than ‘this’, I need some motivation. Motivation, as in, a week left for the exams, my mother reproving my unhygienic lifestyle and scolding for the same, frustration, and sometimes, realization of my wrongs helps too, but in just a few cases. I need to get out of this, and be clear of what exactly I should and am supposed to do. I know it is a slow process but, I know I can do it. Just a little careful and taking things, a little more seriously, is the key to solve all my problem(and for the people experiencing the same too). So, I started with the blog, which is almost complete. Next, I am going to start with my books. My roommate keeps rebuking and chiding about studying. Exams are coming. One thing I am ‘coherent’ about is the motivation that I will receive now that they are close by. But still my questions remain unanswered. Only time and experience will tell.