I had the pleasure of being visited by two friends over the weekend. We’d met after a long time and it felt great to share our life and energy. Today as they were leaving I asked if I could hitch a ride with them to Chennai. I wanted to visit a sporting equipment shop on the outskirts of the city. Kind as they are, they gladly agreed. We talked all along the two-hour long drive and before we knew it we reached a fork in the road. I wanted to go five kilometres further on the road going to the left. They had to continue to the right to reach the airport. My friends suggested that they could drop me right at the store since they had ample time to make this detour. I wondered it would be easy finding a bus and asked them to continue on to the airport. We bid goodbye and I walked over to the bus stop. However, only after an agonising wait of an hour in the scorching sun did I find a bus.
On a better note, the visit to the store was much fruitful. After shopping, I got onto a bus that headed towards home. I was dropped off at the highway late in the evening. I had to do the walking from the bus stop to home with all the equipment I had bought. I thought of asking for a lift from motorbikes headed towards home but something was holding me back. At last, after letting go five opportunities I lifted my hand and asked for a lift from a biker. He stopped and asked me where I wanted to go. Despite having to drop me a bit further away from where he had to go, he agreed to take me all the way home. That was a kind gesture by an absolute stranger.
As I write now, I wonder why do we hesitate to ask for help? Even in situations when people would gladly help. We just have to do the asking! By not seeking help, we deprive a person to access his kinder self and act with empathy. People like to be of help, even to absolute strangers. While we’re conditioned to believe that people act in a selfish way, there’s a whole other paradigm where people will go out of their way to help. Only when we open up, be vulnerable and seek help do we create a space for people to exhibit compassion.
Even our vulnerability can beget great strength in another human being.
As a lesson for today, I would ask for help whenever in need, in the interest of creating space for kindness.