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How to raise an imaginative child

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  • N. Ramjee
    How to raise an imaginative child What to expect at this age It s no surprise if by now you find yourself living with a princess, a unicorn, Batman, or a
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 29, 2007
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      How to raise an imaginative child
       

      What to expect at this age
      It's no surprise if by now you find yourself living with a princess, a unicorn, Batman, or a Tyrannosaurus rex. Children are hardwired to be imaginative, and your preschooler's imagination has really gotten rolling. And you get to be privy to more and more of her make-believe world, now that she has more sophisticated verbal skills.

      Although you could sit by and watch the fun, it's even better if you join in now and then. "A preschooler's imagination develops naturally, but there's a lot you can do to spark it," says Kristi Alexander, a pediatric psychologist at Alliant International University in San Diego. "As you expose her to new sights, sounds, and sensations, you open her mind to a bigger world." At each stage of your child's imaginative development, listening to her and taking part in her games (when you're welcome, of course) will help you keep up with what she's thinking. And who knows? You might revitalize your own imagination in the process.

      How your preschooler's imagination works
      Your preschooler has probably gotten the hang of thinking abstractly: The couch can easily become a ship at sea, and her toast makes a perfectly plausible telephone. Now she may also engage in increasingly social games of pretend — playing "kitty family" with you, for example. (Warning: She'll probably be the mama cat, and you'll get the role of helpless kitten.)

      Why encouraging imagination is important
      An active imagination helps your preschooler in more ways than you might think.

      Improving vocabulary. Children who play imaginary games or listen to lots of fairy tales, stories read aloud from books, or tales spun by those around them tend to have noticeably better vocabularies.

      Taking control. Pretending lets your preschooler be anyone she wants, practice things she's learned, and make situations turn out the way she wants. Stories where the brave little girl thwarts the evil witch or playacted fantasies of being the one to rescue all those kittens from that sinking ship give her a sense that she can be powerful and in control even in unfamiliar or scary situations.

      Learning social rules. Getting along socially can be tricky at any age. When your preschooler joins the other kids in the sandbox to create a castle out of sand, sticks, and leaves, she's not only exploring a fantasy world, she's learning complex, real-world rules about sharing, social interaction, and resolving conflicts.

      Solving problems. Dreaming up imaginary situations teaches your child to think creatively in real life. A study at Case Western Reserve University found that young children who are imaginative tend to remain so as they get older and to become better problem solvers. Tested later in life, early "imaginators" were more resourceful when it came to coping with challenges and difficult situations, such as what to do if they forgot to bring a book to school they needed that day.



      What you can do to spark your preschooler's imagination
      Read books. Reading stories together about unfamiliar lands and people is a good way to fuel your child's fantasy life, and books that expand her vocabulary of words and images will help, too. (How can you imagine sailing a pirate ship if you've never seen one?) With storybooks, she can explore visual details, make up stories, and "read" to herself. If you're reading the text, stop often to explore the pictures and talk about what's happening: "Imagine how Annie must have felt when she lost her sister's ring!" Encourage your preschooler to make up her own endings to the stories you read. Read about the world, show her pictures of everything from beetles to pinwheels, and explore in further detail those things that interest her most.

      Share stories. Telling your own made-up stories is just as good for your child's imagination as reading a book together. Not only will your tales provide a sense of possibilities for his inventive thinking, they'll demonstrate the basics of creating characters and plots. And using your child as the main character is a great way to expand her sense of self.

      Before long, your preschooler will offer her own narratives and adventures. In fact, because her understanding of the difference between reality and fantasy is still limited, she may occasionally make up a wild story she fully expects everyone to believe. Play along and enjoy her creativity — as long as it's all in good fun. If your child is frightening herself with a scary tale (e.g., there's a monster in her closet), put on the brakes and clarify what's real and what's not.

      Another idea: Trade off lines of a story. While you're driving, say to her, "Once upon a time there was a dog. She lived with a little girl, and they liked to go to the park. One day..." Then give your child a turn. Let her tell the fun parts, like naming the girl and the dog and describing the climax and the ending.

      Relish her artwork. For most preschoolers, exploration of materials is the most important aspect of making art. So as she works with the supplies you've given her — water, clay, sand, dough, paints, papers, buttons, ribbons — respect the process. For her, a piece of cardboard glued onto some colored paper is a good enough result. She doesn't want or need to hear that her finished puppet "should look like this."

      Even "pictures" at this point will be largely lines and shapes on the page, though by age 4 many kids start dabbling in representational drawing. When your preschooler draws a picture, rather than trying to guess what it is (unless she's a budding Rembrandt, chances are you'll guess wrong anyway), ask her to interpret it for you. Instead of "What a beautiful house!" say, "What cool colors you've used! What's happening in this picture?"

      Make music.Although your child probably isn't ready for structured piano lessons, you can still fill her world with music. Listen to a variety of tunes together, and encourage her to participate by singing, dancing, or playing homemade or toy instruments. She can follow along with a song being played, or make up her own, complete with lyrics. (Be sure to have a video or audio recorder on hand!)

      Encourage pretend play. Children learn a lot from dramatizing events from their daily — and fantasy — lives. When your preschooler invents a scenario and plot line and peoples it with characters ("I'm the mommy and you're the baby and you're sick"), she develops social and verbal skills. She'll work out emotional issues as she replays scenarios that involve feeling sad, happy, frightened, or safe. Imagining herself as a superhero, a horse, or a wizard makes her feel powerful and gives her a sense of what it's like to be in charge. And she develops her understanding of cause and effect as she imagines how you or her friend or her cat would behave in a particular situation. She's also exploring the world of discipline, since she's making the rules, either by herself or with the help of a playmate (the array of intricate rules kids come up with always astounds adults).

      Provide props. Towels become turbans, plastic bracelets become precious jewels, old bathroom rugs turn into magic carpets, and that moth-eaten collection of stuffed animals transforms itself into a rain forest, animal hospital, or farm. Because preschoolers love to take on the role of someone else — a parent, a baby, a pet — a simple object like a toy cash register or a chalkboard can be all that's needed to spark creative play. Since most of the action takes place inside your child's head, the best props are often generic, and detailed costumes modeled after specific cartoon characters or action figures aren't really the ticket here.

      Providing a special box or trunk to hold pretending paraphernalia can make fantasy play even more of an adventure, especially if you occasionally restock when your child's not looking ("Let's see what's in the trunk today!"). Including more than one of the same item can help, too, since two pirates or princesses are always better than one.

      Use the computer judiciously. Just because tech companies are churning out software for kids doesn't mean your child will turn out computer-illiterate if she doesn't do daily computer time. Still, there are some quality programs for preschoolers that can spark your child's imagination, from drawing, painting, and music software to virtual treasure hunts. And the Internet can be an invaluable resource for looking up topics of interest — hunting down the latest photos of Jupiter or colorful pictures of a coral reef — and for exposing your child to different cultures and ideas from around the world.

      Limit TV time. When it comes to your child's TV viewing, less is better. There are some excellent programs out there that teach kids, say, how a baby kangaroo behaves or how other kids their age live in Japan, and you can record shows to provide quality programming at convenient times. But don't overdo it.

      Movies and TV shows tend to limit a budding imagination since they do the visualizing for your child, says Michael Meyerhoff, executive director of Epicenter, a parenting information center in Illinois. If your child does watch TV, keep it to less than an hour a day. Resist the temptation to use it as an electronic babysitter; instead, sit and watch along with her, posing questions, expanding on ideas presented in the show or movie, and finding out what strikes her as most interesting.

      How to live with your preschooler's imagination
      Set limits. Creating and enforcing rules — no hitting with the "sword" — is crucial for everyone's sake. But if you can, let your child live for a bit with the reminders of her flights of fancy. The fact that the dining room table isn't available for dinner because it's currently serving as an igloo gives you the perfect excuse to have a "picnic" on the living room floor.

      Accept her imaginary friend. Experts believe that having an imaginary friend is a sign of a creative, social child who's found a way to help manage her own fears or concerns. Some studies suggest as many as half of kids have an imaginary pal at some point.

      However, if your child starts blaming the buddy for something she did, it's time for a reality check. You don't need to accuse her of lying, but do address the behavior. Have your child, along with the imaginary sidekick, rectify the situation (clean up the mess, apologize, etc.) and make it clear the act was unacceptable.

      Keep messes manageable. Yes, reenacting the story of Hansel and Gretel might lead to a trail of crumbs through the living room. If you have the space, it's a good idea to designate a room, or part of a room, as an arts and crafts corner, where your child is free to create without worrying about making a mess.

      Some containment strategies can also help: Old button-down shirts make great smocks when worn backwards with the sleeves cut off, plastic sheeting under the Play-Doh construction site can protect the rug, and large sheets of butcher paper over the crafts table can prevent an encrusted layer of multicolored paints or glue.

      Enjoy the offbeat. When your child wants to wear her space commander outfit to preschool for the third day in a row, it's tempting to say no. Adults are socialized to draw strict lines between "public" and "private" behavior — your funky gray sweatpants and rabbit slippers are fine around the house, but not at a restaurant — and it's hard to realize children don't think that way. But if you find yourself forcing a confrontation ("Take off your Halloween costume now"), remember that your preschooler doesn't recognize these boundaries yet, and consider letting it go. In the grand scheme of things, a kid in a kooky outfit may not be worth worrying about.
    • jinan kodapully
      Hi all As usual we are having the sensing nature; knowing nature event at Aruvacode, Nilambur, Kerala.during April, May. Do come. The fundamental issues we
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 1 2:30 AM
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        Hi all
        As usual  we are having the sensing nature; knowing nature event at Aruvacode, Nilambur, Kerala.during April, May. Do come.
        The fundamental issues we raise through this event is the 'nature of learning,  biologically embedded aesthetic sense in children, role of the 'teacher', do nothing method etc.
        We hope to have dialouges, presentations etc with the visitors to the event.
         
        Usually around 60 children of the age 5 to 17 from the village attends the workshop.
        It looks like that we are already born with aesthetic sense. I think this is our connection to the world  and the  way we conduct our lives provided we leave that to the nature in all of us.
        Senses which is our doors to the outer world and also to the inner world is what needs to be addressed and that too in a manner that would enhance the inherent, natural, biological tendency in all human beings to be in beauty and to know.
        The work shop on sensing nature is for providing space to come together to listen, to see, to taste, to touch, feel, to make etc. Senses connects not only to knowledge but also to the beauty of living. Sensitivity is in a way is matter of the awakening of the senses and feelings.
        There is no teaching.
        Development of aesthetic sense which is the basis for all art forms seems to me the most important aspect to be explored as this would equip the student to pursue any art form at any time depending on the individuals interest and opportunities that might prop up.
        Rather than learning skills to sing, paint, draw etc this would make a qualitative and an attitudinal change in the learner.
        Teaching is not called for but by providing an environment that would allow the natural in us to come forth.
        This would require sensitivity, trust and indeed careful planning for the unplanned to happen.
        You can see examples of applying this method which I call 'do nothing training method' at two sites.
        In my work with potters in Nilambur, Kerala I have applied this method. The site www.kumbham.in , http://www.kumbham.in/tiles .html would give an idea of the kind of original and creative work the people who went through this method has been impacted up on. And also the workshop 'Sensing Nature; Knowing nature' during the two months holidays (April, May) which I have been doing since 2003.
        http://www.hindu.com/quest /200409/stories/200409110254040 0.htm

        Jinan



        Jinan,
        www.re-cognition.org
        www.kumbham.in
        http://my.opera.com/jinankb/albums/
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/terracotta_murals/sets/72157594503980465/
        09447121544
        0487 2386723


        Need Mail bonding?
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      • Ramalakshmi Nagasubramanian
        Dear Jinan, We are waiting for this moment... We have 8year & 3year old sons.. We would like to know more about this program. Please send us more details.
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 1 3:31 AM
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          Dear Jinan,

          We are waiting for this moment... We have 8year & 3year old sons.. We would like to know more about this program.  Please send us more details.

          Thanks,
          Ramsubbu & Rama, Bangalore

          jinan kodapully <jinankb@...> wrote:
          Hi all
          As usual  we are having the sensing nature; knowing nature event at Aruvacode, Nilambur, Kerala.during April, May. Do come.
          The fundamental issues we raise through this event is the 'nature of learning,  biologically embedded aesthetic sense in children, role of the 'teacher', do nothing method etc.
          We hope to have dialouges, presentations etc with the visitors to the event.
           
          Usually around 60 children of the age 5 to 17 from the village attends the workshop.
          It looks like that we are already born with aesthetic sense. I think this is our connection to the world  and the  way we conduct our lives provided we leave that to the nature in all of us.
          Senses which is our doors to the outer world and also to the inner world is what needs to be addressed and that too in a manner that would enhance the inherent, natural, biological tendency in all human beings to be in beauty and to know.
          The work shop on sensing nature is for providing space to come together to listen, to see, to taste, to touch, feel, to make etc. Senses connects not only to knowledge but also to the beauty of living. Sensitivity is in a way is matter of the awakening of the senses and feelings.
          There is no teaching.
          Development of aesthetic sense which is the basis for all art forms seems to me the most important aspect to be explored as this would equip the student to pursue any art form at any time depending on the individuals interest and opportunities that might prop up.
          Rather than learning skills to sing, paint, draw etc this would make a qualitative and an attitudinal change in the learner.
          Teaching is not called for but by providing an environment that would allow the natural in us to come forth.
          This would require sensitivity, trust and indeed careful planning for the unplanned to happen.
          You can see examples of applying this method which I call 'do nothing training method' at two sites.
          In my work with potters in Nilambur, Kerala I have applied this method. The site www.kumbham. in , http://www.kumbham. in/tiles .html would give an idea of the kind of original and creative work the people who went through this method has been impacted up on. And also the workshop 'Sensing Nature; Knowing nature' during the two months holidays (April, May) which I have been doing since 2003.
          http://www.hindu. com/quest /200409/stories/ 200409110254040 0.htm

          Jinan



          Jinan,
          www.re-cognition. org
          www.kumbham. in
          http://my.opera. com/jinankb/ albums/
          http://www.flickr. com/photos/ terracotta_ murals/sets/ 7215759450398046 5/
          09447121544
          0487 2386723

          Need Mail bonding?
          Go to the Yahoo! Mail Q&A for great tips from Yahoo! Answers users.


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        • Ramalakshmi Nagasubramanian
          Dear Bangalore-HE parents, It is interesting to know about Mr.Jinan s workshops.. I am interested to go and attend the program with my kids... If some more
          Message 4 of 6 , Apr 1 11:43 PM
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            Dear Bangalore-HE parents,

            It is interesting to know about Mr.Jinan's workshops..  I am interested to go and attend the program with my kids...  If some more parents are interested in this, shall we request Kumbham group to conduct the program in Bangalore also ??

            Waiting for your responses...

            Thanks,
            Rama


            jinan kodapully <jinankb@...> wrote:
            Hi all
            As usual  we are having the sensing nature; knowing nature event at Aruvacode, Nilambur, Kerala.during April, May. Do come.
            The fundamental issues we raise through this event is the 'nature of learning,  biologically embedded aesthetic sense in children, role of the 'teacher', do nothing method etc.
            We hope to have dialouges, presentations etc with the visitors to the event.
             
            Usually around 60 children of the age 5 to 17 from the village attends the workshop.
            It looks like that we are already born with aesthetic sense. I think this is our connection to the world  and the  way we conduct our lives provided we leave that to the nature in all of us.
            Senses which is our doors to the outer world and also to the inner world is what needs to be addressed and that too in a manner that would enhance the inherent, natural, biological tendency in all human beings to be in beauty and to know.
            The work shop on sensing nature is for providing space to come together to listen, to see, to taste, to touch, feel, to make etc. Senses connects not only to knowledge but also to the beauty of living. Sensitivity is in a way is matter of the awakening of the senses and feelings.
            There is no teaching.
            Development of aesthetic sense which is the basis for all art forms seems to me the most important aspect to be explored as this would equip the student to pursue any art form at any time depending on the individuals interest and opportunities that might prop up.
            Rather than learning skills to sing, paint, draw etc this would make a qualitative and an attitudinal change in the learner.
            Teaching is not called for but by providing an environment that would allow the natural in us to come forth.
            This would require sensitivity, trust and indeed careful planning for the unplanned to happen.
            You can see examples of applying this method which I call 'do nothing training method' at two sites.
            In my work with potters in Nilambur, Kerala I have applied this method. The site www.kumbham. in , http://www.kumbham. in/tiles .html would give an idea of the kind of original and creative work the people who went through this method has been impacted up on. And also the workshop 'Sensing Nature; Knowing nature' during the two months holidays (April, May) which I have been doing since 2003.
            http://www.hindu. com/quest /200409/stories/ 200409110254040 0.htm

            Jinan



            Jinan,
            www.re-cognition. org
            www.kumbham. in
            http://my.opera. com/jinankb/ albums/
            http://www.flickr. com/photos/ terracotta_ murals/sets/ 7215759450398046 5/
            09447121544
            0487 2386723

            Need Mail bonding?
            Go to the Yahoo! Mail Q&A for great tips from Yahoo! Answers users.


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          • Neha Wadhwani
            Hi Jinan I would request you to conduct this program in navi mumbai also.Waiting for your response.I have a nine year old daughter who is very fond of art.
            Message 5 of 6 , Apr 2 9:50 AM
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              Hi Jinan
              I would request you to conduct this program in navi mumbai also.Waiting for your response.I have a nine year old daughter who is very fond of art.
               
              thanks
              neha

              Ramalakshmi Nagasubramanian <nrama75@...> wrote:
              Dear Bangalore-HE parents,

              It is interesting to know about Mr.Jinan's workshops..  I am interested to go and attend the program with my kids...  If some more parents are interested in this, shall we request Kumbham group to conduct the program in Bangalore also ??

              Waiting for your responses...

              Thanks,
              Rama


              jinan kodapully <jinankb@yahoo. com> wrote:
              Hi all
              As usual  we are having the sensing nature; knowing nature event at Aruvacode, Nilambur, Kerala.during April, May. Do come.
              The fundamental issues we raise through this event is the 'nature of learning,  biologically embedded aesthetic sense in children, role of the 'teacher', do nothing method etc.
              We hope to have dialouges, presentations etc with the visitors to the event.
               
              Usually around 60 children of the age 5 to 17 from the village attends the workshop.
              It looks like that we are already born with aesthetic sense. I think this is our connection to the world  and the  way we conduct our lives provided we leave that to the nature in all of us.
              Senses which is our doors to the outer world and also to the inner world is what needs to be addressed and that too in a manner that would enhance the inherent, natural, biological tendency in all human beings to be in beauty and to know.
              The work shop on sensing nature is for providing space to come together to listen, to see, to taste, to touch, feel, to make etc. Senses connects not only to knowledge but also to the beauty of living. Sensitivity is in a way is matter of the awakening of the senses and feelings.
              There is no teaching.
              Development of aesthetic sense which is the basis for all art forms seems to me the most important aspect to be explored as this would equip the student to pursue any art form at any time depending on the individuals interest and opportunities that might prop up.
              Rather than learning skills to sing, paint, draw etc this would make a qualitative and an attitudinal change in the learner.
              Teaching is not called for but by providing an environment that would allow the natural in us to come forth.
              This would require sensitivity, trust and indeed careful planning for the unplanned to happen.
              You can see examples of applying this method which I call 'do nothing training method' at two sites.
              In my work with potters in Nilambur, Kerala I have applied this method. The site www.kumbham. in , http://www.kumbham. in/tiles .html would give an idea of the kind of original and creative work the people who went through this method has been impacted up on. And also the workshop 'Sensing Nature; Knowing nature' during the two months holidays (April, May) which I have been doing since 2003.
              http://www.hindu. com/quest /200409/stories/ 200409110254040 0.htm

              Jinan



              Jinan,
              www.re-cognition. org
              www.kumbham. in
              http://my.opera. com/jinankb/ albums/
              http://www.flickr. com/photos/ terracotta_ murals/sets/ 7215759450398046 5/
              09447121544
              0487 2386723

              Need Mail bonding?
              Go to the Yahoo! Mail Q&A for great tips from Yahoo! Answers users.


              Here’s a new way to find what you're looking for - Yahoo! Answers


              Here’s a new way to find what you're looking for - Yahoo! Answers

            • jinan kodapully
              Hi The workshop is really meant for parents whose senses have been dulled by their schooling and children are means to challenge many assumptions we carry
              Message 6 of 6 , Apr 5 6:59 PM
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                Hi
                The workshop is really meant for parents whose senses have been dulled by their schooling and children are means to challenge many assumptions we carry regarding knowledge, knowing, beauty, art etc.
                Between what is natural,organic,biological which is what the child is born with and what is constructed from our assumptions- what we call as knowledge.
                We are full of theories and worries and child becomes the target.
                I use the event and what happens there to reflect on how children plans, intuites, use logic or do things spontaneously etc.
                Today the tragedy , conditioning begins as soon as the child is born- feeding, clothing etc are the first means.
                We are using power over children and hardly ever respects, listens, observes what the littile ones are telling us.May be we have lost that ability.
                Jinan



                Neha Wadhwani <nehawadhwani@...> wrote:
                Hi Jinan
                I would request you to conduct this program in navi mumbai also.Waiting for your response.I have a nine year old daughter who is very fond of art.
                 
                thanks
                neha

                Ramalakshmi Nagasubramanian <nrama75@yahoo. co.in> wrote:
                Dear Bangalore-HE parents,

                It is interesting to know about Mr.Jinan's workshops..  I am interested to go and attend the program with my kids...  If some more parents are interested in this, shall we request Kumbham group to conduct the program in Bangalore also ??

                Waiting for your responses...

                Thanks,
                Rama


                jinan kodapully <jinankb@yahoo. com> wrote:
                Hi all
                As usual  we are having the sensing nature; knowing nature event at Aruvacode, Nilambur, Kerala.during April, May. Do come.
                The fundamental issues we raise through this event is the 'nature of learning,  biologically embedded aesthetic sense in children, role of the 'teacher', do nothing method etc.
                We hope to have dialouges, presentations etc with the visitors to the event.
                 
                Usually around 60 children of the age 5 to 17 from the village attends the workshop.
                It looks like that we are already born with aesthetic sense. I think this is our connection to the world  and the  way we conduct our lives provided we leave that to the nature in all of us.
                Senses which is our doors to the outer world and also to the inner world is what needs to be addressed and that too in a manner that would enhance the inherent, natural, biological tendency in all human beings to be in beauty and to know.
                The work shop on sensing nature is for providing space to come together to listen, to see, to taste, to touch, feel, to make etc. Senses connects not only to knowledge but also to the beauty of living. Sensitivity is in a way is matter of the awakening of the senses and feelings.
                There is no teaching.
                Development of aesthetic sense which is the basis for all art forms seems to me the most important aspect to be explored as this would equip the student to pursue any art form at any time depending on the individuals interest and opportunities that might prop up.
                Rather than learning skills to sing, paint, draw etc this would make a qualitative and an attitudinal change in the learner.
                Teaching is not called for but by providing an environment that would allow the natural in us to come forth.
                This would require sensitivity, trust and indeed careful planning for the unplanned to happen.
                You can see examples of applying this method which I call 'do nothing training method' at two sites.
                In my work with potters in Nilambur, Kerala I have applied this method. The site www.kumbham. in , http://www.kumbham. in/tiles .html would give an idea of the kind of original and creative work the people who went through this method has been impacted up on. And also the workshop 'Sensing Nature; Knowing nature' during the two months holidays (April, May) which I have been doing since 2003.
                http://www.hindu. com/quest /200409/stories/ 200409110254040 0.htm

                Jinan



                Jinan,
                www.re-cognition. org
                www.kumbham. in
                http://my.opera. com/jinankb/ albums/
                http://www.flickr. com/photos/ terracotta_ murals/sets/ 7215759450398046 5/
                09447121544
                0487 2386723

                Need Mail bonding?
                Go to the Yahoo! Mail Q&A for great tips from Yahoo! Answers users.


                Here’s a new way to find what you're looking for - Yahoo! Answers


                Here’s a new way to find what you're looking for - Yahoo! Answers



                Jinan,
                www.re-cognition.org
                www.kumbham.in
                http://my.opera.com/jinankb/albums/
                http://www.flickr.com/photos/terracotta_murals/sets/72157594503980465/
                09447121544
                0487 2386723


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