THE KID GROWS UP AND LOOKS BACK


THE KID GROWS UP AND LOOKS BACK

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So i was talking to a couple of my friends yesterday when we accidentally veered around to our childhood dreams and what we thought we would grow up to be. That took me to a new thought what if i went back 20 years ago to visit my childhood self. Will the kid recognize me for what i am now? And will i look kindly on the kid for what he was doing back then? An intriguing question which made me take a trip back on a time machine and observe my 11 year old self. And here’s what i found

1)  The Betting Master -the kid was an incorrigible risk taker and daredevil – when i recently went to a school reunion by schoolmates some of whom had only been on nodding heads basis even back then with me remembered me even after these many many years as challenge ganesh- for the kid always had a reputation in school of never turning down any challenge or bet. My schoolmates said that the easiest way to get me to do anything was to bet me that i couldn’t do it and then watch me take it up. The kid could never resist a challenge despite how many times it led to the headmaster rooms for a lecture on breaking necks. But me the grown guy i am the poster boy of playing it safe nowadays eschewing all risk – i even have a driver nowadays to avoid the hassle of driving in heavy traffic.

2) The Bully Beater – the kid was always ready to fight and for others. – when i younger i was taller and larger than most of my classmates and school mates so i never had an issue with being bullied. But nevertheless whenever the kid saw other little boys being bullied and harassed by larger kids the kid used to jump in and fight. Torn clothes, torn knuckles, broken watches broken glasses were all part of everyday life for the kid. The kid used to get lectured by everyone around him to walk away from fights which were not his own but he never did turn his back on little kids being bullied by seniors.  The price of adulthood is i have learnt to choose and pick my fights and learnt to let others fight their own battles- whether its a good thing or not i dont know.

3) Speed thrills- the kid was fiend for speed he loved nothing more than going on roller coasters again and again- the scarier the better. In fact the kid once promised himself he would buy Disneyland so he could ride all the roller coasters all day long- once he grew up. But poor adult me haven’t even been to Disneyland yet. And travels around town in a big SUV with the best safety features money can buy- how the mighty fall.

4) Fire in the belly- the kid was sure he was going to change the world and he had an uncompromising belief that he was destined to do so – he devoured a lot of books on revolution, communism, nihilism and other ways to bring about the revolution for a better world. That belief has slowly eroded with time and the adult me knows that its too big a project for me to take on. Its enough if i can change myself and be the best i can be instead of being on a world-crusade mode.

5) Mr.Teresa –  the kid was a bleeding heart liberal out to help others all the time..the adult is far more responsible and knows when to help genuine cases after having been preyed upon once too  much for being empathetic to others.

So what would the kid think of me now? To be honest i would say he would be a little disappointed at what i am right now and wont listen to my explanations of what it means to grow up and being responsible. But hey, who listens to kids nowadays?

P.S. I dedicate this post to my buddies Minu and Mahesh who gave me this idea while talking over our childhood ambitions- mahesh to be batman and minu who wanted to be a nun when she grew up.

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Ask And You Shall Be Denied


Ask And You Shall Be Denied

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Are you a man? A manly man? Have you ever bungee jumped from the high mountains? Have you ever gone deep sea diving amid a school of  great white sharks? Have you ever wrestled hand to hand with The Rock and Hulk Hogan? And do you think these are scary? You are wrong. There are things even more scarier than getting your maths exam marks. Like, romance as an example? Romance in the view of a single brown male for instance There are few things in this world as terrifying as asking a woman out on a date. Ask any man and he will immediately agree unless he is already married and pussy-whipped into submission. Then he will pretend he never dated anyone at all prior to meeting the one who said yes. The hardest question any male has ever faced in his life is asking a girl he fancies “do you want to go out sometime?” the answer means more than passing IIT and getting a H1B visa job. Its putting your fragile ego on the line to get crushed. Its being vulnerable to rejection on a most personal level- getting hit where it hurts.

Unless you are man who has been there, done that and got crushed you cant possible understand in its entirety that  internal struggle which every male  faces when he tries to be romantically bold with someone he’s just met and had a few words with in a social setting.  In most mens experiences, everything, every prior experience, every particle fiber in your mind is yelling “Just go the fuck home already, lock your room doors, put some sunny leone on and just shag off. Save your heart  from total damage, just don’t do this dude, run when you can”. But being a man means you close your eyes, harden your heart and do it anyway because there is an infinitesimally small chance (say like once in a million) theres a possiblity that she’ll say “yes, ok, i will have a coffee with you”. But chances are that nine times out of ten she’ll say no.  And that can feel like a kick up your balls just on the day you forgot to wear any undies.

The easiest way to deal with the pain of being turned down for a first date is to go get drunk with your friends. Its quite educative, especially if you are teatotaler and your friends like to drink theirs straight up on the rocks. Buy them a couple of drinks and watch how they philosophize it all away. Chill dude, it’s her loss, they  will assure you with a straight face “the bitch just doesntt realize what an awesome catch you are. She must have her own issues that have nothing to do with you. Just forget her and order us another beer”  and which is the cue to ring in that “tasmac song” in gana bala’s lyrics. Come to think of it, its not just your friends telling you that same shit- its not you, its her, everyone is saying it online. People who spend their lives creating and sharing memes on facebook and watsapp – memes analyzing all about love rejection and heartbreak keep saying the same thing that if a woman didnt straight up tell you why she wont even have a coffee with you, assume it’s because of her issues rather than because of any deficiency of yours. Its just not possible for any woman to weigh you up in seconds and make up her mind dismissing you as a possible longterm partner based on such a short scrutiny. And yeah, you might believe such love pundits at first. But then it’s late night and you’re wide awake, staring at the ceiling and wondering how you ended up becoming  such an unlovable person,the beast from the “beauty and the beast”series.

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And deep down in some part of your brain you know there’s not a lot you can do to change whether women do or don’t find you attractive. Your hit ratio, or to put it more crudely the hit-on ratio is very random and arbitrary and doesnt make sense at all. Not when you succeed and not when you fail. No one is going to share the real reason why they liked you or why they unlike you. Only that  the reason people are attracted to us  or not is for all sorts for reasons that are way beyond our control.  There is no need to worry about finding the the right words to spell it out, the right way to approach them to ask out, all that externalizing shit we use to convince ourselves as the the perfect way to impress and get that first date for attraction- doesn’t work that way.  In the authors experience there is no single right move at all . Some women like guys whom other women abhor at first glance and vice versa. One women’s hrithik roshan is another’s tushar kapoor.

Then there are those who offer  a quick fix solution (something which you’re probably tired of hearing a lot)- to be more self-confident. How many times have you heard that advice? It’s not about how you look, it’s whether you exude self-confidence. But what the hell does that actually mean? How can you exude self-confidence if you’re not, in fact, all that self-confident? And how can you be self confident after getting beat up all those many times on asking and facing rejection after rejection. Beats me. The only person who can be self confident in such a situation is a ghajini-type with total and instant short term memory loss.  In fact more than self confidence what you need is masochism (a form of sadism where you inflict pain on yourself) when you are about to ask out an insanely hot woman who you are damn sure is way out of your league.  Masochists never take no for an answer because they love getting slapped again and again – even when the opposite party makes clear that she is not interested at all- becuase they never believe that they are not desirable. They think they are the cats whiskers, the axe ad men and gods gift to women.  And you know what? Sometimes they get lucky as some women prefer the the persistent pests to the more suave gentleman who believes a clear “no” is a real “no” and moves on with their life. So being a bit of a bastard who doesnt take no for an answer often gets you that girl who would otherwise  brush you off at  first hit.

So to conclude its pretty much given that girls will say no and it hurts if they dont want you to. But you cant stop looking and stop asking and allow yourself to wallow at home in self pity, licking your wounds. You just have to go out there and keep asking- hoping the right woman says yes, the woman who feels lucky that she found you and vice versa. Good luck asking…

 

Does Getting Angry Helps?


Does Getting Angry Helps?

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I have always considered myself as a patient man. Someone who is seldom if never seen to be angry. One of the proudest boasts of my dear mum – especially when we go bride hunting/girl seeing- is that she has never seen her son, never ever, get angry. Which is true to an extent (only)- I am pretty slow to get angry (a very, very slow burning fuse) and even if I do get irritated its almost always strictly under control- I never express my anger in an ungainly manner, or throw temper tantrums or use the anger as an excuse to throw harsh words at others as a way to get things done my way. I mean, I get the concept of what the heck does this moment matter in the big picture of life without waiting to count the mandatory 1 to 10 recommended as anger-control measure. But lately I find that this is turning out to be a pretty big disadvantage in my day to day life.

 Those who are considered short tempered people, those who throw temper tantrums and other things at people’s heads when provoked get more things done easily than reasonable ones like me who try to deal with issues in a more nuanced manner. After watching numerous colleagues get things done more easily by raising their voices and throwing a temper tantrum at the drop of a hat, I am tempted to indulge in one too. Especially given the feedback I get from people when I ask why I am not served but made to wait while the angry ones get precedence and the matter of fact explanation I am given is that “sir you are an understanding person and will wait but he/she is a very angry person and hence we want to get rid of them fast by doing their work first”. Which shows that being calm has now turned into a very big disadvantage as it ensures your work keeps getting postponed indefinitely while the angry ones get served immediately.

And I am reminded of the old Indian folk saying of the “the child which does not cry does not get fed” and am sorely tempted to do something completely unexpected of me next time I want things done- raise my voice, throw things or shout hysterically and rant and rave. But the problem is how to stimulate anger when I don’t feel it really? Can I be that good an actor? Remains to be seen…watch out for more news on this page.

P.S. On reflection, do I really want to join the gang of the foaming at the mouth brigade? Can’t I be a calm and reasonable person and still get things done on time? Does our society really want to oblige only the beasts who lose their temper rather than serve reasonable and calm persons? Is this my fault or society’s fault? Do you have any suggestions or views on this, gentle reader?

Proving a Damn Point.


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A friend was talking to me yesterday when he started complaining about the teasing he was suffering at the workplace from the management and how his entire job experience had turned bitter. When I asked him as to why he was still hanging around that damn job, for after all he was well qualified, experienced and bright and would be snatched up by any other competitor, the answer he gave me was this “because I don’t want them to win, I want to prove my point by sticking on there till they kick me out themselves”. Excuse me, you would rather wait to be kicked out then walk out with dignity? Surprising. Anyway to come back to this “proving a point” thing- I keep hearing this justification very often from plenty of others too and each time I wonder about it, whether it is a wisest course of action.

 The point is, I don’t get the point of proving a point (forgive the bad alliteration, coudnt resist). In my point of view any place, act, or situation which makes you uncomfortable and irritates you is a flashing red sign to get away from that stressful place (or person). If going to work every day means you are at a high state of tension throughout the day and the stress is going to give you High Blood Pressure, Kidney failure, maybe a Stroke or two and an Heart-Attack to boot, then I couldn’t care less about proving a point to some moron if it’s going to hurt me that much ultimately. No anger or grudge is worth destroying our own health and peace of mind. When I stated this belief of mine to another colleague seated nearby, he said that he sympathized with the other guy and if I didn’t agree with the majority view, then I must be a cold blooded type.

 I am not sure what he meant by being hot-blooded but if it means flying into a temper at the drop of a hat, boiling with rage, swearing vengeance, carrying grudges or fighting a vendetta to prove my point- then please count me out. I am not interested in remembering every hurt or betrayal and living just to take revenge for it. That is just not me- I am slow to anger, fast to cool down and I forgive easily. Life, to me, is too short and precious to waste it on grudges. I would rather forget and move on with doing my own thing. And I sure as hell don’t want to prove a point to anyone on anything if it means loss of peace of mind to me. In my often stated view- life should be calm, peaceful and stress-less as we glide over its smoothly polished surface.

 To intentionally create havoc in our own lives just to teach someone else a lesson is utter foolishness in my view. Karma will get them in due course so why waste all our energies and precious moments of the present planning a possible gloating moment of the future? Maybe I will never get it- why people are ready to go so far to get revenge. Maybe I really am a cold fish. Or maybe, just maybe, I am wiser than all those grudge-holders, revenge-seekers and point-provers. Who knows? Have you any idea?

சரக்கும், சைடுடிஷ்யூம், வாழ்க்கை தத்துவமும்


சரக்கும், சைடுடிஷ்யூம், வாழ்க்கை தத்துவமும்

onion pakodaபோன சனிக்கிழமை மதியம் அண்ணன் ஜே.வி திடீர்ன்னு என் மொபைல்ல அழச்சி “நம்ம பிரசன்னா பாண்டிக்கு போயிட்டு வந்தப்போ ஒரு பாட்டில் க்லேன்பிட்டிய்ச் ஸ்காட்ச் வாங்கியான்தான், அத இன்னிக்கி கச்சேரி வெச்சிக்கலாம்ன்னு நேனைக்கறோம். நைட்டு ப்ரீயா இருந்தா இந்த பக்கம் வரீளா’ன்னாறு”. சரி பெரியவா கூப்பிடுறாரெ ஒரு எட்ட போயிட்டு தான் வந்துடுவோம்ன்னு நானும் “சரி அண்ணே வந்துடுரேன்”னேன். சாயங்காலம் கிளம்புறதுக்கு முன்னாடி அண்ணனுக்கு மறுபடியும் ஒரு போன்’ன போட்டு “அண்னே என் பங்குக்கு எதாவது சைடு டிஷ்ஷு வாங்கியாரவா?ன்னு” கேட்டதுக்கு அண்ணன் ஜோதி பெருந்தன்மையாக “உன் விருப்பம்”ன்னு சொல்லி போன்’ன கட் பண்ணிட்டாரு. செரின்னு நானும் கொஞ்சம் வெங்காய பகோடாவும் (சுட-சுட), வருத்த முந்திரியும் வாங்கிட்டு அண்ணன் வீட்டுக்கு போயி சேர்ந்த போது மணி எட்டு இருக்கும்.

“வாயா வா, கரெக்ட்டா டைம்க்கு வந்துட்டே” என்று அன்பாக வரவேற்று என்னை உள்ளே அழைத்துச் சென்ற அண்ணன் என்னை அவர் அருகில் அமர்த்தி எனக்கும் ஒரு கிளாஸ் ஸ்காட்ச் ஊத்தி “போதுமா? கூட சோடாவா பெப்சியா?”ன்னு பாசமா கேட்டாரு. “பெப்ஸியே போதும் அண்னே”ன்னு சொல்லி அவர்ட்ட இருந்து அத வாங்கிகிட்டேன். ஜோதி அண்ணனும் நண்பர் பிரஸ்ஸும் கடமையே கண்ணாயிரமாக வேலைய பார்த்துகிட்டு இருந்தாங்க அடுத்த ஒருமணி நேரமும். நண்பர் பிரசன்னா இளங்கன்று பயம் அறியாது கனக்கா மட மடன்னு குடிச்சிட்டு இருந்தாறு வேற எத பத்தியும் கவலைப்படாம வாய திறந்து ஒரு வார்த்த கூட பேசாம.

இவங்க இப்படி தான் குடிப்பாங்க போல நம்மள மாதிரி கலகலப்பாக குடிக்கற ஆளுங்க இல்ல போலன்னு புரிஞ்சிக்கிட்டேன். ஆனா வெறுமனே சய்லேண்ட்டா குடிக்கற டைப்பு நான் இல்லங்கறதால பார்த்து கிட்டே இருந்து கொஞ்சம் பிரேக்கு வந்ததும் (குடிக்கறதுல) மெல்ல நான் கேட்டேன் “அண்ணே ஏதோ குறையரா போல இருக்கில்ல?” ஜோ அண்ணனும் ஆமா’ன்னு தலைய தலைய ஆட்டி “சரக்குக்கு சைடு டிஷ்ஷு செட் ஆகல’ன்னு நறுக்குன்னு சொன்னாரு ஷெர்லாக் ஹோல்ம்ஸ் கணக்கா. இத்தனைக்கும் அங்கே நான் கொண்டு போனது போக ஏற்கனவே முட்டை தோசை, முட்டை ஆம்லெட், பரோட்டா’ன்னு ஏகத்துக்கு ஐட்டம் இருந்திச்சு. யோசிச்சுப் பார்த்தால் சரக்கவிட சைடு டிஷ்ஷு தான் அங்க ஜாஸ்தியா இருந்திச்சு.

நான் மெல்ல அண்ணன்ட்ட கேட்டேன் “அண்ணே நம்மல்லாம் காலேஜ் படிச்ச காலம் ஞாபகம் இருக்கா? ஹாஸ்டல்ல பிரண்டுஸு ரூம்ல உட்கார்ந்து சரக்கு அடிச்ச காலத்துலே சரக்கு வாங்க தான் காசு இருக்கும், சைடு’க்கு வெறும் கடளையும், சிப்ஸ்ஸும்தான். ஆனா அதுவே நச்சுன்னு செட் அகும்ல இப்போ ஏன் அண்ணே இப்படி?ன்னு” கேட்டதுக்கு அண்ணன் ஜோதி ஒரு ஏப்பம் விட்டுட்டு சொன்னாரு “அதாம்பா வாழ்க்கை. கெடைகறப்போ அதடோ அருமை தெரியாது போன பின்னாடி தான் பீல் பன்னுவோம். எல்லாத்துக்கும்”ன்னு சரக்க வெச்சு ஒரு தத்துவ மொழி சொன்னாரு.

jo and me

அண்ணனும் நானும்

அட இவருக்கு ஏறிடுச்சு போல அப்போ இன்னும் கொஞ்சம் அவரு வாய கெலரி பார்ப்போம்னு அடுத்து கேட்டேன் “எனக்கு புரியல்லே. நீங்க எத பத்தி அண்ணே சொல்றீங்கன்னு” அப்பாவி தனமா முகத்த வெச்சிக்கிட்டு. அவரும் நல்ல ஒரு புல் கிளாஸ்ஸ ஒரே கல்ப்பு’ல அடிச்சிட்டு அமைதிய என்ன பார்த்து சொன்னாரு “நீ எத பத்தி கேட்டியோ அதப்பத்தி தான் தம்பி’ன்னு”. ஆகா மணுசன் உஷாரா தான்யா இருக்காருன்னு அவரு வாய கெலர்ர வேலைய விட்டுட்டு நானும் என் வேலைய பாக்க ஆரம்பிச்சேன்.

அப்போ அவரு பதிலுக்கு எனக்கு ஒரு பிட்டு போட்டு பார்த்தாரு “நீ நல்லா படிச்சிருக்க, நல்ல வேலையில்ல இருக்க ஆனா நீ ஏன்பா இன்னும் கலியாணம் கட்டிக்காம காலத்த கடத்துறே, சீகெரம் கட்டிடா தானே வாழ்க்கையை ரசிச்சு ருசிச்சு என்சாய் பண்ண முடியும்’ன்னாரு”. நான் மனசுக்குள்ள நெனச்சிக்கிட்டென் “யோவ் எனக்கேவா? ரெண்டு ரவுண்டு அடிச்சிட்டா எல்லா மேட்டர்ரும் ஒளரிடுவோமா என்ன?. நாங்க இன்னும் பால் குடிக்கற கொழந்த இல்ல அப்பு’ன்னு” என் உள் மனசுல நெனைச்சிக்கிட்டு அவரு பாணியில்லேயே அவருக்குப் புரியறமாதிரி பதில் சொன்னேன் “அண்ணே இங்க சரக்குக்கு இத்தன சைடு இருந்தும் கூட சரியா அமையலன்னு பீல் பண்றீங்களே. இது ரெண்டு மணிநேரம் கூத்துதானே? வாழ்க்கை எத்தன வருஷ விவகாரம்? அதுக்கு சரியான சைடு தேடவேனாமா? அவசர படலாமா” ன்னு ஒரே போடா போட்டேன். மனுசன் நம்மல நல்லா உத்து பார்த்துட்டு கம்முனு மறுபடியும் சரக்கு அடிக்க போயிட்டாரு.

ஆக மொத்தம் இதனால்ல என்ன தெரிஞ்சுச்சுன்னா ரெண்டு மணி நேரம் சரமாரியாக சரக்கு அடிச்ச பின்னாடியும் ரெண்டுபேரும் இவளோ அலெர்ட்டா வாய விடாம பேசி இருகிறோம்னா தப்பு சைடு டிஷ் மேல மட்டும் இல்ல- அந்த சரக்கும் செரியில்ல. சரி தானே மக்களே? நீங்க என்ன நினைக்கரீங்க?

 

The Bliss Of Life


The Bliss Of Life blissoflife.audialtempartem.blogspot.in

I had a talk with two contrasting characters today. The first one was a lady in her mid to late eighties. She popped in to my room at the free clinic and with an apology to start with she said that she was feeling feverish and wanted something for it and she couldn’t wait to see the general medicine specialist (who was the one supposed to see ordinary fevers) as the queues were long there while mine were comparatively shorter (fewer patients) that day. Even though I wasn’t supposed to be seeing the general physicians cases for him (too many ego problems might evolve from even such a harmless act), I thought of making an exception this one time- after all a mild fever was well within my treatment skills and so I wrote the necessary prescription for her, handed it to her and gestured to the next patient in line to come forward and take her seat.

But strangely she looked to be in no hurry to get up and leave to the pharmacy. As i watched and waited for her to leave she hemmed and hawed and made a strange request “Can you prescribe some vitamin tablets too for me doc?” she asked. That surprised me for I don’t usually allow my patients to dictate their treatments to me, for I am after all finally responsible if anything untoward happens. When I looked over at her in a puzzled sort of way she explained that she was a spinster, had lived with and slaved for her sisters family all her life but recently her sister (much younger) had died and her nephews and nieces had considered their elderly aunt an extra burden and thrown her out of the house. She had tried to survive by doing odd jobs at a few houses and sleeping before a Vishnu temple in Triplicane but one night as she slept with a small bundle containing nothing but a couple of changes of dress under her head, even that had been stolen deftly in the night without waking her up and come morning she was left destitute in front of the temple with nothing on her.

After struggling with her pride for a few days she had turned to begging at the temple entrance for survival. But she still harbored hopes of getting some small job or the other to survive on so she could stop begging for alms. And she reasoned that to work she needed strength and to get strength she needed vitamins. I could have given her a long lecture about how just taking vitamin supplements in the absence of proper food would not be of much use but I desisted because it was no use- such advice would be wasted on people who believed vitamins were magic pills. Hence I did the only other thing I could think of at that time- took some money out of my pocket and gave it to her (despite the disapproving looks of all my staff) and told her to go have a hearty meal. And oh, i did give her a bunch of vitamin supplements as she desired.

The other person I talked to later that day was a girl in her mid twenties and who had gone through a relationship crisis and was spouting suicidal stuff. This was her second relationship and second break up in the short time- a very few months I had know her- so I couldn’t decide who really was in fault. Anyway after I gave her the standard lines i use for relationship advice- about how everyone gets their hearts broken kissing a few frogs before finding their true prince I switched off the chat window and sat there thinking over the contrast between the two characters- the old and young ladies – I had talked to that day.

The old lady had unknowingly showed the way to survive life- by trying to think her way out of her troubles while the young one was merely content to wallow in her misery. The old lady had lived a long and lonely life and she had been betrayed by all her relatives at the very end of it but still she wanted to make sure she had strength enough to work and stand on her own two feet. But like a warrior she was willing to keep on fighting till the very end. Contrast that with the young woman who had everything to go on but was ready to give up her prestigious job at a big firm because an in-office romance had gone bad and she couldn’t face her colleague’s gossips. I felt exasperated at the young woman, so much so that I wanted to give her a crack on the head and tell her to wake up and see the reality of life.

 As the first lady showed us- life, all life is precious. It’s not handed over to us in a platter- even though we behave as if it was. Life is a struggle for every creature on earth but it’s only we humans who make too much of this struggle. In doing so we forget that life is also a joy, bliss of great intensity. Worries are forever with us; we are born with them and die with them. But that is no reason to forget to live life while we take a breath. Merely worrying on things we cannot change is going to get us nowhere and suddenly we would find ourselves old and feeble and not able to do anything about it even if we so desire to.

 The trick is in finding the balance- to try to push our impossible worries away to a dark corner of our minds to deal with later and to continue to live daily life with awareness and joy. I know that many of you reading this will be thinking- go on, we don’t believe you, it’s easier said than done- but do, do believe me, i never preach what I haven’t practiced first. So rest assured it’s eminently do-able. Worrying changes nothing except hastening us to an early grave and to an eternity filled with regrets for things not done. Isn’t it far better to disregard it all and embrace life? To live life as fully as if we had no worries at all? The human mind is a fascinating creature- it feeds on what you tell it. So long as you keep thinking that your life is all joy- you can end up having a blissful life even if the end of the world is near. The choice as always – is yours. Make it with wisdom.