They warned you not to talk to strangers but…

This one is for the innumerable & not-thanked-enough strangers we have or will meet during our lifetime. Strangely and sadly these strangers who might have just guided us the direction to a new restaurant or might have actually ended up being our life partners, are not thanked enough for being around.

Like every responsible parent, my parents too had warned my brother and I against the dangers of being too friendly to a stranger. So strong was the warning that chit chatting with a stranger was close to committing a crime for me. However, as every ordinary teenager, we grew and began to question the theories, carry our own experiments, doubt every common assumption and eventually concluded the results of our own hypothesis. One such conclusion of mine would go ÔÇô Sure you warned me against the repercussions of befriending a stranger, but you did forget to mention about the fun I would have!

Yes, it sometimes so happens that we open up so easily about some major issues of our lives to a complete stranger, which we would not have otherwise even accepted, had existed. A stranger with good listening skills can actually act as an agony aunt too. Not that every agony aunt will give the right advice, but when they donÔÇÖt at least this agony auntÔÇÖs opinion will make no difference to our lives.

Journeys like that of a bus, train, and plane make for perfect places and situations for striking a conversation with a total stranger. I remember once meeting a chartered accountant during a 48 hour long train journey. Though we spoke initially to clear some confusion about the berth allotment,we eventually ended up discussing family, studies, life, heart breaks and aspirations. I could speak to him and express my deepest emotions about things, without being scare of it being manipulated later for his personal gains. After all, why would I care about a strangerÔÇÖs opinion about me? But obviously I was careful not to give out too personal an information least I might end up getting into trouble. I was introduced to his love life, which could not be passionately pursued due to constant pressure of studies, to his family life and to his different sense of humour. That journey sure became memorable and so much more entertaining than it would have been. Now, every time I make a train journey alone, I do remember him and the good memories. In fact, the idea of writing about him also took birth on one such train journey I recently took.

My only point is, yes certainly strangers are strange and something to be warned about but also they are strange only as long as they are strangers. Once you get talking they might just be as ordinary as you are. The best part about befriending a stranger, you can keep them for life if you like them or you can say goodbye at the end of the journey and keep the memories.

Thanks to the easy access to communication channels – social networking sites, mobiles, other sites that can get you phone numbers of any office, my stranger friend has managed to keep in touch and I am glad I still get to hear about his life and act an occasional agony aunt, good or bad, is not my concern, after all I am only a stranger 😉