The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Tathagata Mukherjee, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Small talk is the art or skill of having short conversations with people less known to each other over any non-controversial, non-sensitive type topic which gives a common ground for both parties to talk about in a friendly way.
Thats a self made definition..and being more of an introvert I suck at it. Fact is most Indians suck when it comes to small talk.
When was the last time you spoke to an unknown person during a buffet que or in a bar or in a elevator or during the share autorickshaw ride or in a party or etc etc. When we analyse this we may find that we (Indians) do not do much of this, most of us dont. There are ofcourse exceptions. Question arises..why?
Americans have a reputation for being good small talkers, although the content may be superficial. The British are programmed to go slow by starting with eye contact and then commenting on the weather. The French talk about their health. Chinese and Russians discuss finances while Germans come straight to the point. Indians are, by and large, introverts. They do not approach a stranger because they do not know how to proceed after ‘hello’. Language often acts as a barrier.
To add to above said I also think that we are sceptics, especially the educated and (so called self claimed) civilized ones. In my past experience where I had plenty of bus rides (non-AC, typical Indian crowded bus) where people, completely unknown to each other, used to talk over general issues. All of them belonged to a different gentry and they had not sceptic thoughts about each other so they could talk to one another being non selfish. The same thing does not happen in a Volvo AC bus, even during rush hour, where all well dressed, highly educated, good smelling highly civilised people are travelling together. Same happens in a Flight, a 2nd AC Railway coach as well.
A good small talk can lead to many things actually, your next job, finding your partner (life, business, crime etc), your criminal (if you are a detective) and so on.
So..we need to talk…there are certain rules to that as well like Keeping the right distance, starting a conversation lightly, not to crib, stay away from your phone, finding a common ground, know how much to share, not to be a motormouth and ending it properly as well.
So next time you are stuck in a ticket queue…make sure you are not pick-pocketed..stay alert..then only try out talking to the person ahead or behind you.