Asking for help isn’t easy…
Asking for money, even more so…
How do you consolidate the sheer drilling that you’ve received since you were a toddler – that asking for help is a BIG, bad thing – with the need for resources and opportunities that make creative lives possible? The voices ring very loudly in your ears – Do not approach strangers, not even to ask directions, as we are taught and retaught through all our experiences – heartbreaks and honest appraisals – till we learn to unquestioningly believe…
Asking makes you vulnerable
Asking allows people to judge you as lesser
Asking means you don’t have enough
And not having enough is a reality the middle-class has been trying to hide like a bad case of hereditary baldness. And the only way to figure your way through this unwritten protocol is to somehow make yourself a self-sufficing island where all needs
are met with the simple expedient of earning money and hardening your heart till you stop recognizing need.
My personal journey to learning how to ask for help was a long and painful one, so I’m not going to bore you with the details. But suffice to say, that after the proverbial ups, downs and flat-on-my-backs – the logic of trying to be so drastically self-sufficient that asking for help becomes a rebellion against one’s sense of dignity and creates a burning discomfort quite like a UTI, escapes me. Because it does not make sense to me how shutting down your dreams, becoming a slave to ‘things’ and building fences around your heart till it becomes incapable of recognizing or giving love is a better alternative to asking for help
And no, I don’t have a massively hopeful, philosophical reason to explain this.
All I have are these pictures of a few people we met and shared our art with, over two days at one of the city’s biggest restaurants . We made strangers smile and sing along, we hugged them and made them happy, we made fools of ourselves and gave them a reason to look up from their conversations and condiments to partake of something different, something engaging, something that they wanted to be part of, but never knew existed.
And yes, we did ask them for money. The amount we got was pretty insignificant. But that’s a few more people in the world who will smile for a few extra hours because a troupe of actors gave them their all. At the end of the day, isn’t that why we started this in the first place?
We asked for help. The world didn’t end. People didn’t turn us away. They pulled us in to embraces that meant more than those some people who claim to love us have given us in some time. And if not their money, they gave us their time, attention and their memories. And an expensive, fine-dining experience became a little more meaningful.
Alright fine, I got philosophical, deal with it!
Because the point is, everyone wants to help, and everyone needs help. It’s about time we stop waiting for someone to make the first move.
My name is Hina Siddiqui. And I need help.