The hall is cold, the chairs colder still. She sits on one of them. Takes out the highlighter and starts straining her eyes to make something out of the article. CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION. Five o’clock, five thirty, Six…and the clock finally strikes the six thirty mark. Everyone’s left. She is the only one in the cold empty hall. Two hours spent in waiting for her turn. She can’t wait anymore. “Will be back on Tuesday” she says and leaves.
“Damn! Two hours for nothing.” she mutters stepping outside the hospital premises.
It’s late. It’s dark. And the road seems to grow longer with each step.
He stands in front of the bus stop looking at the opposite direction.
“Let’s sit there and talk” she suggests.
“No, let’s walk” he says.
“No, let’s not.” She repeats. A man is sleeping on the bus stand.
They walk. She sits on the low brick wall.
She stretches her palm in front of him.
“What?” He asks.
“Give it to me. Why don’t you sit there?” she asks.
“No, I’m not sitting. I’m walking” he repeats it AGAIN.
“What do you think I carry an album in my pocket?”
He walks without turning back.
“I wanna kick …”she says running after him.
It was her territories. Angry Moods. But he’s invaded it this evening. He’s already TOO angry for a normal conversation!
She catches up with him. “Padnu sadnu chaina.. “ he starts talking in the most irritating tone ever.
“I had an appointment!! Yah, yah just like you and your……”she stops abruptly and starts walking in the opposite direction. Crosses the road and heads home. NO POINT in talking to this horrible man. She thinks angry like never before.
She walks slowly contemplating the situation. Two hours wasted for nothing and again another task goes unfulfilled!! She just can’t stand the thought that its been a wasted Day!! Dials his number. “…… I’m not done with you yet!!” She yells at the top of her lungs.
A man stands nearby. He turns around to look at her as if she were Extra Terrestrial.
“Where the hell are you now? Call me; I don’t have any balance to waste.”
He calls. She crosses the road to meet him.
“What the hell do you think of yourself?”
It’s dark. Few people walk on the road. They’re not talking. They’re shouting. People pass looking at them. But WHO CARES?? She never does. And tonight seems like he doesn’t give a damn as well.
“Nothing to say?” she asks.
“Nothing.” He replies.
CONFLICT! A zero sum game in their case. The Reason: Always the same. THE PAST.
Why does it have to matter? Sometimes she thinks.
But how the HELL CAN IT NOT MATTER?
Not that they haven’t tried any resolution technique. Nothing seems to be working. But again who ever said that conflict could be resolved?? It’s a failed theory. It could be managed maybe. That too suggests people can be directed or controlled as though they were physical objects. Still doesn’t deal with the root cause of the problem. What then?
“You don’t trust me, isn’t it?” he asks.
She wants to reply back but doesn’t.
Trust-building?? Steps wise process. She’d just read that.
7 ACTIONS FOR TRUST BUILDING
1. Meet and communicate face to face.
2. Establish familiarity through repeated interaction.
3. Demonstrate trustworthiness through action.
4. Demonstrate curiosity through honest inquiry.
5. Demonstrate vulnerability through honest sharing, self- disclosure and other forms of risk taking.
6. Demonstrate caring through empathy, appreciation, respect.
7. Engage in cooperative action.
Her problem: Perhaps the inquiry doesn’t Sound Honest At All.
His: Honest Sharing, Self-disclosure. Not his Cup of TEA at All.
Don’t want to. That’s his logic.
Hers: she’s not being empathetic at all. Empathy? When lies turn out to be the truth??? Every single No is turning into a YES!
Damn, how did she even get entwined in this mess!
“ You….. with her?” She asks. He walks away without a word.
“Sorry” she says pulling him back.
“You knew all about it, didn’t you?” he asks.
She feels as though he’s asking her “So what are you doing in my life then?”. She feels as though he’s saying “You are Guilty one here”.
Her turn to hurt now. She opens her mouth to speak; she doesn’t know what to say. But say something. She must! The words sound utterly meaningless and useless to her own ears but then the show must go on! She babbles about “the first…wish it …”.
“Yuck! What was that gibberish?” She thinks to herself but looks at him confidently as if those words meant everything.
“So, what should I do then? Seat ups?” He asks in anger.
“Yes. That’s what you should do!” she retorts.
She can’t believe her Eyes because he starts to do that in the middle of the ROAD!
What the hell is happening! She’s just too confused. She stops him. Sanity, the last thing that prevails when they’re together.
It’s negotiating the hard way. Hard Negotiation. They are both sticking to their positions. The opponents are always adversaries. One has to lose.
“You hate being asked about it. But that’s all I DO! Don’t you HATE ME??” Crosses her arms across her chest and smiles a conspirator’s smile.
“NO”. He replies.
“NO???? How can that BE A NO?? No way. No how. “She wants to yellllllllllll. She doesn’t.
“I still like you!” he concludes.
“Hah, like! Gee thanks for liking me.” She retorts.
“Like” is to her what “Cheap Bargain” is to him!!
“Oh. But I’m genuinely sorry for mailing you. …but again I must have been one among the hundreds you interact with you day in and out” She tells him.
“Hundreds? No thousands. Actually correct that to one among the millions “ he says looking at the road ahead of him.
“Ah.. Millions. So that’s what it was, isn’t it? Wow! What a revelation. One among the millions!! Wow! Thank you so much. Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”.She says it half turning away from him. She can hear him sigh. She doesn’t turn back. The conversation is OVER.
Chances of negotiation?
And even if they do agree to seat at the negotiation table. Pray its summer by then.
It’s always easier to face A COLD CUP OF COFFEE splashed on the face rather than a HOT ONE.