Win-Win negotiations

“A good negotiation should be a win-win” screamed a newspaper headline this morning. The point of reference was a controversial international peace agreement full of hope and uncertainty.
I have also participated in many negotiations through my career. Some were relatively easy and some where even before opening my mouth to make a point, I lost! I was reminded of one such episode way back in time. I started my career in New Delhi and post my marriage decided to buy a stunning 800cc car to impress my beautiful wife. We loved this gorgeous piece of engineering and enjoyed many long rides with a song on our lips and wind in our hair. The fact that this was the cheapest car on the road did not dent our pride or enthusiasm. For us it was just perfect!
Those were the days…but not quite! Delhi had a big stray dog menace. Every street corner had the beasts with clearly marked out territories. Getting bitten by then was not uncommon and the law had been sterilised thanks to the efforts of the so called ‘dog lovers’! The stray dog problem remains unsolved and is a popular conversation topic even today in almost every Delhi neighbourhood. I did not care much about this problem until i found to my dismay that three stray dogs made the roof of my car their evening home. Every morning became an act of artful negotiation where I would get ready for work and then hang around my car for several minutes persuading the unwanted guests to get off the roof. The negotiations never really made any headway since the dogs had a mind of their own and would get off the car when they deemed necessary. Any attempted act of aggression was thwarted with a combination of growls and the realisation that if I missed hitting them the love of our life, my new car, would get impacted. Naturally this was a consequence that I was not prepared to accept.
Life went on until one morning when I was woken up in the wee hours by the sound of police cars swarming around my house. I rushed out to find that all the cars in the neighbourhood had their tires stolen and were precariously perched on bricks. Except for one…
Yes! It was my car. Safe, because I had three lovely guests on the roof watching the tamasha with half opened eyes. The glorious animals did not let the car thieves anywhere near our prized possession! Such brave souls were those handsome beasts!
The mornings after changed completely as I began greeting the fine young gentlemen and treated them to some fresh biscuits as they got off my car. Negotiations must end in a win-win situation! I agree…woof!

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