Naren Dey was the owner of a small time courier company. He had tied up with DHL and was responsible for delivering mail and parcels on time. On weekdays he would attend office and on Sundays he would take his old wagon and drive into the interiors of Bengal to deliver post. He would sometimes take his assistant Joy and drive down the road.
Today was no exception. It was a bright and sunny winter morning. The fog was just clearing when he reached the outskirts of Burdwan city. The sight was beautiful. The four lane road was dotted with gulmohar and mahogany trees alongside. The green canopy of trees actually provided ideal foil to the road which meandered along. Sometimes a few coconut trees would line up alongside the road and sway in the breeze as if waving to the cars which were moving along the road. They would be greeted by lakes and sometimes by the lush green mango orchards which would sprout out of nowhere.
As the wagon trudged along, Mr. Dey couldn’t but help watch the vast stretch of land that was being cultivated. This turned his attention to the fresh juicy yellow cauliflowers which peeped out of the green fresh leaves. A single farmer seemed to be engrossed in plucking these up and storing them on the tractor in a heap.
Mr. Dey, who was very fond of cauliflowers, stopped his wagon and asked Joy to watch over his wagon as he walked up to the farmer. He dusted his shoes of the mud and said “Hello!” The farmer, whose name was “Ramu”, had silently and discreetly watched every step of Mr. Naren, looked up, and smiled at him. Mr. Dey came straight to the point, saying, “Would you like to sell me some cauliflowers?” Ramu, who was pretending to work, was actually trying to figure how much he would ask for them. How much would a person like this man pay to buy a cauliflower in the city? He was thinking secretly. Then he thought, why not ask him how much would he pay. So he replied “I can sell you these but how much are you willing to pay?”
Naren, realizing that he wanted these at any cost since these appeared to be garden fresh, wondered how much was this simpleton expecting? He inspected the cauliflowers for some time and then said, “I can pay you at most Rs.20!” Although he knew that the cost of these cauliflowers were about Rs.40 in the Indian supermarkets, but he was not willing to part with his hard earned money to this simpleton, without negotiating the best price possible. Ramu was simply smiling, and secretly thinking, 'What a fool, I think he has no clue that the cost of this cauliflower is Rs.5 and at most I can get Rs.12 if I sell it in the “mandi”! And this city fool is actually willing to pay me Rs 20. So let me press him a little harder. Let me ask if he is willing to pay me Rs.25 for each of these!'
Ramu asked for Rs 25 for each of the cauliflowers. Mr. Dey was also thinking, 'What a fool this fellow is, he has no clue that I buy these for Rs 40.' But Mr. Dey cautiously decided to reply, “Take Rs 22 for each of these. I want four of them." But Ramu, sensing the kill would budge, stuck to his price of Rs 25. After a little more bargaining, when both decided, 'what a fool the other was!', they struck the deal and said done! So Mr. Dey took out a crisp 100 rupee note and passed it on to the hands of Ramu, who selected the juiciest cauliflower and passed them on to Mr. Dey.
This is what I call “Happiness in a deal!” and this is why we live in a fool’s paradise, where each of us thinks that the other is a fool!