Helping yourself

HELP, a four letter word which has the capability of instant mood transformations, in most cases turning even the coldest person emphatic. Interestingly, that along with love has led to most of the difficult occurring’s in a lot of lives. A cry for help has become a trap to many and an opportunity to others. In fact this has become so prevalent that people have almost stopped asking for from or giving help to strangers.

In case of friends and family, HELP is a selective word. If you know the person intimately or have an assurance of selfless or at least not too costly a return favor, you’ll ask for help, otherwise you won’t. This system has been in place for a while now after the Kali Yuga commenced and since the time that has passed, people have gamed even this societal system.

These people position themselves as benevolent behemoths of the community that they engage with. They plan to help each and every person in their known universe regardless of the need or the lack of it. They do this so that there becomes a working relationship with those people. Once such a relationship has been established, it’s only a matter of time and subtle manipulation that these behemoths can lead these people to commit acts they wouldn’t usually commit.

I think this started with people poisoning food of their frenemies. The societal behemoth would lull their target into believing that the food was fine and in fact healthy for them, putting the target in a position where despite their doubts, they would consume it and eventually perish. That is where, the best phrase in context of food came by ‘Help Yourself’. That basically means eat what you want, I won’t influence your decision of what to eat in any manner.

In the recent times with the ever growing complexities of human relationships, this phrase is like a principle one should try to follow as much as possible. If you help yourself, you are free from the burden of societal niceties, you are free from making small talk with people you wouldn’t otherwise even look at and most importantly, you are free from the traps people set around the pretense of help.

If she would have given such deep thought to help and tried to follow the principle of help yourself, all the drag wouldn’t have happened.

The accident was non-life threatening. The vehicle had partial damage and the biggest problem was the shock, which would have worn off in fifteen minutes. She could have helped herself but she made the call and the next two years of her life were bliss. The two after them not so much. Eventually, the drag was too much of a weight and he cut it off to be free, without letting her be alleviated too. She came out of it like the star she is but it did prolong her suffering.

This story though is not about that. It is about what could have been if the principle of ‘Help Yourself’ had been followed.

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A loud screech followed by an equally loud wham was enough to wake the traffic cop standing at the side of the road, monitoring the road passively. He immediately made sure that the lady who slipped didn’t get run over by standing in front of her and shouting, ‘Koi, Madam ko yahan se uthane me help karo.’ (Someone help me get this lady away from the road).

She came to her senses hearing the word help. She had always been a helper. Helping her mother in household chores, her brother in his homework, her father in accounting and a few friends of hers in building the confidence necessary for the outside world.

She immediately realized that it her was who needed the help as her vehicle had slipped and she had fallen. She took stock of her clumsy limbs, making sure they were intact and in working condition before standing up with shaky feet and trying to lift her vehicle.

By this time, a few concerned bystanders had come to her rescue, took the vehicle from her to the side of the road and gave her some water all the while inquiring about her injuries. This is a very interesting occurrence as it shows that at a primal level we are still those selfless helpers who facilitate normalcy for others in the time of need but we only return to this state in situations when we don’t think and go on auto-pilot.

She thanked all the concerned people and informed them that she was alright. Then she took a deep breath and laughed. The people around her thought that she had a concussion but after a few seconds of laughing she told them she did that to mitigate the shock which was setting in.

After that she called a towing van and requested them to get her vehicle home while she rode a cab to reach there. The towing guy was so impressed with her courage that he offered to take her with him in the van. She thought, “I have never sat in a towing van before, this will be fun. Also, Yaayy! Money saved for nachos later.”

After reaching home, she informed her parents about the accident who freaked out at first but were relieved to see her okay and without any major injuries. While chatting with her old friends over a popular messaging service, she mentioned what happened and they had a laugh over it.

Even her ex with whom she still had trouble talking expressed his relief. Since they had a common circle of friends, she knew one of friends had told him about the accident.

Finally, in the night she informed the team she was working with in the college about what happened. The team belonged to the group which made her college’s magazine. Her team was in charge of partner relationships and sponsorships. All of them were very concerned about her well-being, especially her team lead.

He personally messaged her and asked if she needed any help to tide over her work while she recuperated. She felt flattered by the attention he was giving to her. Her recent break-up had been very taxing for her emotionally and despite all her friends’ efforts to cheer her up she felt a void inside of her, which vexed her.

Although his offer of help felt very nice, she felt it would be an overkill as few scratches never stopped anyone. She did accept his offer to pick her up midway from her home to college as public transport in the city was a nightmare and she didn’t want to bother her parents.

The next day, she got up feeling a lot better than one would expect. She put in the minutest amount of extra effort in getting ready, in the anticipation of getting picked up by someone as cool as the team lead or something else she couldn’t say and could care less for the reason.

He was waiting for her when she got there. She felt butterflies knowing that someone other than her ex actually waited for her. Hurrying to the shotgun seat, she muttered her thanks. He smiled at her, making the butterflies more excited. Then he said that they were going for her pending work directly as going to college would cost them time they didn’t have. That only resulted in the butterflies somersaulting in her stomach.

“A personal lesson and partnering with the team lead, seven days into the job. This is perfect. I’ll learn a lot from him and the fact that he looks cute only eases the lessons.” She thought with a shy smile.

That was a very productive day. They got to know each other better and found out that they hit it off rather well. Also, he showed her how to deal with prospects, how to handle the pressures related to negotiations and how to build relationships. The fact that they could obtain a significant sum for the magazine was the cherry on the top.

This became a routine for the two. They would meet at a point and then go on to look for sponsors for the magazine together before returning to the college on their own vehicles, logging in the progress and then running to their classes.

She felt very grateful to him. He had taught her the ropes of the trade and given her the self-confidence she felt she had lost after her break-up. At the same time, she found him more and more attractive. He was nice to look at, had a powerful voice and commanded respect wherever he went. These were the qualities she looked for in a person she would want to date.

He hadn’t made a move yet so she was just waiting for that to happen. That he was attracted to her was very evident with how he was treating her. They had quickly become the best of friends.

Since she trusted him, she told him all about herself. She talked to him about her friendships, her love life, her goals in life, her mad food cravings and her dedication to those close to her. He always talked about his family, where his vision for the magazine and how he knew who was dating whom.

In the midst of all this, her school friends decided to stage an intervention for her and her ex. Now usually interventions are a great way of solving emotional problems but that’s only possible when all the people involved send out the same message of healing to the person with the problem. She decided she was going to bring him along on this intervention as moral support and as a guiding voice.

They met at a popular café in the middle of the city. Everything was going well except for one thing, the ex knew it and so did her; the spark between them was gone and pursuing a relationship now would be futile. When people are aware about a conclusion and still won’t act on it, they are a special brand of stupid. Unfortunately for her, the ex was one of those special people and didn’t make it clear to the friends present. They kept pushing her until she was agitated enough to raise her voice. That was the moment that he was waiting for. He drily commented, “What kind of friends push for something their friend clearly doesn’t need!”

That comment, intentional or not set her against her friends. They felt that suddenly they were the enemy and he was her only friend at the table. They looked at each other and her, confused about how to reply to the comment. She on the other hand smiled and said, “Thank you so much for the support but these people know me enough to try and push me into something they feel will be good for me. So I am fine with what they are saying.”

Then turning to her friends she said, “You know I considered this for a long while before I chose to part ways with my ex. I know you think I am sad but I am fine, I can help myself stand up. Now let’s eat the nachos before they go bad.”

This effectively ended the intervention. Everyone ate in silence and parted ways, deciding to talk to her one on one later.

That night, she talked about emotions with him. He replied attentively and felt like it was time to make his move.

The conversation which happened was as follows:

She: Emotions are what make you human. If this is true in entirety then I am disliking being human right now. Ever since the break-up I have been feeling this void inside of me and after this afternoon, it has become worse.

He: Being human isn’t only about the emptiness and pain. It is about the love we feel. It is about our sense of accomplishment and our sense of wonder. It is as much if not more so about the positive than the negative….

He: Like the sense of wonder I get whenever I see you and the love which envelops my very being whenever I think of you. I really love you and want to be with you. Let me feel the sense of accomplishment by helping you come out of this void and move towards bliss.

She couldn’t believe what she was reading. She knew he liked her and knew this was coming. Even she liked him quite a bit but two incidents confused her about how she should reply. The first was the afternoon where he said something very toxic to her friends who mattered a lot to her, something he knew very well and the second was his feeling that she wanted to be rescued, that she was a damsel in distress and by going into a relationship with her, he was saving her.

Unsure of what to say, she remembered what her father had taught her, never ask for help unless inevitable. Help yourself.

She smiled and finally replied: I am very flattered by your confession to me. I’ll be honest and tell you that I am being attracted to you too but as I told everyone in the noon, I can help myself. Thank You.

He: This is awkward. Can we forget this happened and be good friends again? I promise no more stupid confessions.

She: Of course. You have helped become a better person and I would be glad to be your friend. I hope this doesn’t affect our working relationship though.

He: Of course. Good night.

With that, he went offline. She hoped he wasn’t too upset and her work with the magazine wasn’t affected, it mattered to her. With those thoughts she fell asleep, a genuine smile on her face after quite a while.

The next day, he transferred her to the editing team whose team lead was an eccentric guy who happened to be her classmate. She had fun working with him but it wasn’t anything as personal or intense as she had with her former team lead. This new team ended up being her new friends and she ended up leading it after the eccentric guy chose to leave engineering and pursue his dreams. She went on to become the best student of the college, even better than he was and went on to becoming the best coder her college had seen in a while. He had to retire from the team a year after she took over the editing team as it was his last year in college.

He never stopped pursuing her but apart from a very casual small fling she never felt his need, keeping her relationship with him professional and that too with ease.

At least that is the story the eccentric guy who left the college came to know from her.

The End