The joy of living dangerously! I believe firmly in the axiom that getting into a tight spot or, if you prefer, a tight corner from time to time brings out the best in us. Compare a man who has never got into a tight spot in his whole life with someone who is never out of it. You will find the former invariably a docile, dull-witted person looking as though he has just had a ten-course lunch besides having missed his sleep for forty eight hours. The latter will have that perpetual lean and hungry look and will be as sharp as the edge of a razor and thoroughly proactive. Looking at him, you will get the impression that he loves getting into a spot more than out of it. The former always plays the game strictly according to the rule book and hence highly predictable. You will find it thoroughly boring to be in his company since you know what his actions are going to be next minute, hour, day, week, month, year and even a decade! His presence is hardly ever stimulating. I have a friend by name Rajoo, who I have known for the over seven decades. Even as a five year old boy, that was when I met him first, Rajoo had shown exceptional flair for getting into inescapable muddles. As years rolled by, the soups that he got himself into became deeper and deeper. These days they are virtually bottomless pits but, take it from me, he always comes out of them unscathed. If you ask him about it, he’ll say, “If I wake up in the morning, I must have a problem to solve. If I ever run out of problems, I’d rather not wake up at all than die of ennui!” Rajoo has some good reasons for allowing things to get out of hand every time. According to him, crisis managers are the most sought after in the world today. Red Adair, the world famous fire-fighter who specialises in fighting huge fires in oil wells, is his role model. According to Rajoo, Red Adair would just be another Fire Fighter in the street corner waiting for a phone call to put out some inconsequential cracker fire if the company had not encountered bigger avenues of fire-fighting. According to him, if a good Manager ensures that the work gets done without encountering any problem, he hardly gets noticed but if some problem reaches a critical stage, the chap who manages it well at that point gets applauded! Rajoo, therefore, never attends to anything until it reaches a crisis level. He doesn’t even wait for others to make it reach a critical stage! I tend to agree with Rajoo. Who would have known Jeeves but for his solving the endless jams that Bertie Wooster and his friends were in the habit of getting into?! The people that Rajoo hates most are those who book their train tickets 60 days in advance and arrive at the Station two hours before the ETA of the train! He believes in holding hectic parleys with the traveling ticket examiners for securing a berth and his gift of the gab invariably gets him through. He says that the sense of achievement after securing a berth is unparalleled and he enjoys the envious look of the fellow RAC passengers! If you are a follower of cricket, particularly of the Indian variety, you would have observed that the batsmen who do not play by the copy book are a treat to watch. For example, if the top order batsmen who have a sound technique make a heavy weather of opposition bowling and fall like the proverbial nine pins, the ‘living dangerously’ tail enders, who care a damn for the technique, come on to the field and make a mincemeat of the dreaded opposition bowling. It is their way of responding to the muddle created by their top order batsmen. They lift the game to such ethereal levels that you really end up thanking the top order batsmen for having put the tail-enders in a jam. Nothing is more demonstrative of the stimulating effects of jams on certain people than Indian cricket. Rajoo is a tail-ender kind of a person. He hits his way out every time and makes everyone around him happy and excited. He does it with a missionary zeal. If you see him once, you’ll understand what it is to live dangerously. These days I get a feeling that he loves getting into a jam more to please his friends and to protect his reputation. He has become so synonymous with jams that no one will ever recognise him if he is out of it. Like a young girl without a mobile phone!