I have nearly come to the conclusion that there is something in the way I look (I don't necessarily mean that in a self-complementing manner) that compels complete strangers or people that I meet for the very first time to indulge in really long and really intimate conversations with me. Maybe I have "Come talk to me, I am dying to have a conversation" stuck on my forehead or something, else can there really be so many chat starved people out there!
Oh no, I don't mean the pervs though, not the 'let's do friendship', neither the 'let's meet up for coffee' kind of guys, and absolutely not the fellow 'desis' who approach you in grocery stores and malls to further 'business networking', which is an idiotic euphemism for finding Amway sales scapegoats!
I mean genuinely normal everyday people.
The auto guy in Chennai who constantly spoke about the Tamil Nadu political scene in tamil even though he knew very well I don't understand the language. I could only grab names from the conversation and few English words thrown here and there, but his enthusiasm was so remarkable that I nodded my head to an hour long (Chennai traffic :() session in gibberish (that was all it was to me) rather than rudely tell him to shut up!
The absolutely annoying 'aunty' at Abu Dhabi airport who insisted on clinging onto me as we were travelling the same route. She kept on divulging horrifying family secrets. By the end of the 3 hour stopover, I knew the salaries of most of her family members. She even asked me to watch over her handbag (including wallet et al.) while she attended the call from nature. Do I look that trustworthy?
And this is not just a cultural thing - in case you thought only we, Indians, were prone to such chatter. The fatherly french co-passenger on the aisle seat next to me, turned around to me and said, "You know what, you can tell me when you want to go to the loo, I'll get up. It has been almost 5 hours and you haven't taken a break. You must, you know. It's not good; plus you'll get to stretch your legs." I was absolutely in shock. He would put my mom, who insists on regular bio breaks so vehemently, to shame. The thing is, I hate moving around in a flight. I love being cooped up to my window seat, snugged in a blanket with the TV on. But, just to humor the old gentleman I did get up twice after that! Phew! And as you can guess, this was not the only conversation we had Notes were exchanged on cultures, movies, family values and what not!
I could list a trillion such incidents, but will stop at the latest one. The trucker we had hired to move our car from AZ to VA ended up having a detailed conversation on the institution of marriage. He had been recently divorced and asked me if I was married and if I was facing any troubles, or so far it was going the "for forever" way. I told him it looked alright for the time being (not a good day to ask when Vish had conveniently offloaded the car and the house movers' responsibility to me :D). He was like, "Next time, I marry, I don't care how the girl is; but it will be for "forever". In a marriage, it's always the guy's fault. Women do so much - they are not appreciated. Come what may, if a marriage is screwed, it is the guy to be blamed." What pearls of wisdom, I felt like telling him to wait till my hubby came home, so that he could further elaborate on his theory :P.
So, do I enjoy such conversations? Mostly not, even though I myself am the chatty kinds. But with absolute strangers, no, not really. My mom tells me that as a kid, I used to call out to random strangers from my balcony where I was perched up in the morning whilst my mom and dad got ready for work, and do a lot of talking. Infact, when I fell sick and was not around for 2-3 days, she had a string of "random" visitors, ringing the doorbell and inquiring after me. Payback time now, huh?
You know the kind of chatty "meeting for the first time" people I like the most - doctors! I like my doctors to be talkative and have been fortunate enough to have such kind for most of my visits all these years. There has to be an exception though. At my in-laws place at Chennai, there was this 'kind of family' doctor (general physician) who you go to for general stuff - colds, fever, aches etc. He just wouldn't talk. Here's our visit:
Me: Hello Doctor.
Doc: (Takes out his notepad) Name (Forget greeting, he didn't even smile!)?
Me: Yuvika, full name: Yuvika Chaube
Doc: Problem? (The dude wouldn't talk in complete sentences)
Me: I got up with a sore throat, have a lot of pain swallowing. Can hardly talk. I think it started last night. I haven't had anything cold though. I think I am slightly feverish.
Doc: Open your mouth. (He flashes the torch around and starts writing a prescription)
(I thought he'd eventually talk, but no, he hands over the prescription to me.)
Me: (Undeterred) So what's happened, is it an infection?
Doc: Yes, take these medicines
Me: What about any precautions? Why do you think it happened? Do you think it's some water borne infection.
Doc: It can be anything, it will be okay in 3 days.
Me: (Defeated in spirit, completely) Okay, thank you. Do I need to see you again?
Doc: (Very curtly) No.
I swear, I never went to the doc ever again! (Even though Vish insists maybe it was I who had 'intimidated 'the doctor :P)
So, what kind of chatty people do you like?