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part eccentric ... part fun .... stubborn .. but not stuck up ... very open to different views, ideas and possibilities ... varied interests ... engineer ... mba ... trying-to-be-a-good-entrepreneur ... ex-software ... ex-quality ... ex-tobacco ... ex-alcohol ... trying-to-be-ex-cancer
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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Risky Cat

When I was in B school, there used to be a lot of talk ( i guess in eco and fin courses..) about risk profiles. How some people are risk takers (woh loge jo matka, juan-patti aur stock market kheltey hain), some are risk neutral (jo PPF aur mutual funds me paisa daaltey hain) and others are risk averse (jo unti mey paisa daba kar baithtey hain).

At that time it seemed more like intellectual bullshit- academic simplifications with little or no real world grounding. Today i got a better understanding of "risk taking" . here's what happened-

My little one (Shums) has grown fond of cats (I know some of the twisted minds are already joking about another "pussy lover"). My home usually has 6-7 cats hanging around, trying their luck for free food. Most of them are either current or previous litter from either "Chen-Chen" or "jangli-billi".

Now Chen chen happens to be a very friendly cat and Shums just loves playing with her- trying to pull her tail, ears,whiskers and occasionally trying to gorge out her eyes. Chen-Chen doesn't mind all this and patiently bears it all.

Not all cats are Chen-chen. Today, while he was on his pram, Shums started waving happily towards one of the not_so_friendly cats. This cat greeted him back by shaking hands (paw with nails extended). In the exchange Shums got a very minor scratch on the webbing between his thumb and index finger.

If the cat had scraped me, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. After all, i am the kind of guy who takes risks, does bungy jumping, quits cushy jobs to try alternate lifestyles. I don't take cat scratches seriously

But, I took the scratch much more seriously cause it happened to my kid. There is a .001 % chance that the barely visible mark had cut deep enough and was from a paw nail that had been recently licked by a rabid cat. The rarest of rare chances. But i was not willing to take even the rarest of rare chance with my son. I ran to the doctor and am getting Shums 5 anti-rabies shots.

This shows that risk-taking-ability is as very much situational. A Big risk taker of one situation can become a total play-it-safe guy in another.

I keep wondering ..can we turn around this logic and extend it on the opposite side... can every play-it-safe guy be turned into a super-risk-taker by getting him into the right situation(read: by brainwashing)??

...i don't know...only the best spin-doctors can tell

1 comment:

nothing spectacular said...

interesting thought. I think you dont need brainwashing to take super duper risks.

e.g. Hollywood movies where dads fight 500 goons and save the world in the process of rescuing their kidnapped 3 year old daughter..