I was in Bangalore for the past few days, and it was all about negotiations. In addition to witnessing a couple in a board room, I negotiated with vendors, auto drivers, family, and friends. I came out of each experience with either greater confidence or happiness.
Negotiator 1: I can detect some hyperbole there, and I’m not buying it. What about eating the paan?
Negotiator 2: Fine. I’ll give you the paan, but otherwise, I think the statement is fair.
Negotiator 1: Deal.
As I was packing to leave, my uncle warned me that the auto drivers in Chennai put the negotiation skills of their Bangalore counterparts to shame. To avoid such problems, the plan was to have Mom and S. Periamma pick me up from the bus station. When my bus arrived over an hour early, an auto driver insisted that I go with him. I didn’t want to trouble my aunt or mother with a trip to the bus station, so I decided to negotiate. I figured that unlike in Bangalore, at least I knew the local language in Chennai, so perhaps that might serve me well. That was far from bulletproof reasoning. Despite making some gains in bringing down the price, I knew I was getting ripped off.
Then the following conversation took place at home:
Mom: How much did you end up paying?
Me: Don’t ask.
Mom: Okay, I won’t. … 100 rupees?
I smiled before shaking my head. Confidence prevailed once again.