Monday, January 18, 2010

The Power of a Smile, “Positive Thinking,” Anyone?

The man is face-to-face with me. Remember, it is a Monday morning. I am at my worst surly behavior, having woken up late and having missed two trains. I am being pushed by stoutly built men who are seemingly advertising the power of their coconut-oil and fish-curry filled diets on my slender back, the men on the other side are leveraging the pressure from my side by jamming their paratha-and-ghee-filled bodies against me. I have no place to put my left foot, so I stand on the right foot, and this man objects to my elbow touching his head. I had a good mind to shove my elbow in his face. Hold on. A voice talks in my head. I shouldn't do it, instead I smile and say, "It happens, the crowd will ease in Kurla."

Then a conversation starts. His face is inches away, and we are standing, maybe, like lovers would, when they are kissing. I don't know, I am too old for those things. He says, "the traffic planning is all wrong, we need more trains from Panvel to Kurla, seeing as to how Kurla is the focal point of most of the Harbour Line passengers."

"Yeah, it's a pity they are building a metro from Ghatkopar, while it should have begun, or ended, as the case may be, from Kurla," I say.

"Probably when the committee got together to finalise the route, a politician from the area pitched in for his locality, that's how decisions happen, nobody cares for doing a survey or a study," he says. Quite intelligent and humourous is this man.

He introduces himself, he is a qualified chartered accountant, and is also a certified public accountant from the US. We talk shop as we work in the same industry, he in venture capital specializing in realty projects, and I in realty per se. Most terms he refers to are familiar to me, and most of what I say is familiar to him. Two strangers, two disparate people, meeting for the first time, can strike such a chord, is a wonder, a miracle to me. We also discuss a professional collaboration, which if it materializes will be good for both of us. I hope it does.

I must never under-estimate the power of positive thinking. I know, I know, we all think "positive thinking" and all that stuff is for losers who splurge on self-development books and talk bookishly. But this man, this stranger, this man who aggravated me in a vulnerable moment, and the fact that I could change a dire situation around, could strike a chord, bond with him in a crowded, bone-crushing, train compartment is something quite serendipitous. Needless to add, it made my day.

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