M Y HUSBAND AND I HAVE TWO CHILDREN, A SON AGED 24 and a daughter aged 23. My husband runs a flourishing business and I am part of a group which helps homeless children make something of their lives.
My husband and I had always thought that our son would join my husband in his business and take it over when he retired and that my daughter would follow me into social work. But a few days ago, when my husband asked my son if he was ready to begin learning about the family business, brother and sister exchanged glances and then my son said rather defensively that they both had something to tell us.
We were rather mystified but what our children told us shattered us. They told us that my son was not interested in his father’s business and that my daughter was. So they wanted us to agree to my daughter first learning about the family business and then taking it over, while my son followed his heart and joined an international body that worked for the preservation of marine life.
Then, as my husband and I stared at both of them, unable to speak, my daughter, told us, with a casual wave of her hand, that their father’s property would be equally shared by brother and sister.
My son and daughter have told us to think matters over before we react. They are behaving as if they are the adults and we are the children. My husband and myself do not know what to say. Please advise.
What problem do you have with what your children are proposing? You will have one child happily taking over your family business and the other doing something which will give him great joy and which could well make him famous because the world is today realising the importance of the preservation of marine life.
And you will have two happy children instead of two grumpy ones doing what they do not enjoy doing! And remember not to say anything about male and female roles – this is a taboo these days! O UR BABY HAS BEEN BORN FOUR MONTHS PREMATURE AND both my husband and I are in a state of shock. Doctors have told us that she will have to spend the first months of her life in the hospital with me either coming in to feed her or sending in my milk in a sterile container with someone. Even later, once we have brought her home, she will continue to need special care. On the whole, I will have to take nearly a year off from work and as I am only entitled to four months of leave, the rest of it will have to be leave-without-pay.
All this is going to cost us a lot and this is money that we do not have, but which we must find if our child is to live.
Neither my husband nor I have any very close relatives who will rush to our aid. In fact our family only consists of the two of us and my mother- in- law who lives with us. After giving the matter a lot of thought, I suggested to my husband that we should talk to some notso-close relatives, tell them about our plight and ask them for help, promising to return their money to them as soon as we can.
My husband agreed to this, but when we told my mother-in-law about our idea, she said that she could not bear the disgrace of our asking all and sundry for money. She in fact says that she would rather commit suicide than beg from relatives and that we should leave our daughter fate’s hands!
My mother- in- law is very stubborn and will never change her mind. I am ready to ignore her and do what is needed to save my daughter, but my husband is torn in two. His had father died soon after he was born and my mother-in-law brought him up with great difficulty. He is also her only child. This does not mean that he will put our daughter’s life in danger or not do what he must to save her, but it does mean that he is still desperately trying to raise the money we need by selling everything we have and by taking loans.
We have somehow managed to pay for our daughter’s treatment for six months, but the clock is ticking and I am panicking. Please advise. You should not waste time even as your husband tries to raise money, because you must follow the routine the doctors ask you to. If your husband is able to raise money, well and good, but even if he is not able to, you must of course still go ahead with your daughter’s treatment.
So speak politely but firmly to your mother-in-law and tell her that you as a mother will do everything you possibly can to save your daughter. Tell her that your husband is trying to raise money in a way that she would approve of but that if he is not able to, he will do whatever he has to save her daughter.
There is absolutely no harm in borrowing money from relatives or indeed anyone able to help you. But this means that you must be ready for some unpleasantness when some people want their money back and you are not able to oblige.
I AM SURE THAT WHAT I WRITE WILL SHOCK EVERYONE WHO reads this, but the fact of the matter is that I hate everything about India and living here in India. I also hate the fact that I am Indian and that I look Indian. My dream is to go to some European country, become a citizen there, marry a local, and forget all about this poor and backward country.
I am the second of the three children my parents have and no one else in my family feels as I do. In fact everyone at home laughs at me for my dreams, but I do not care. As
it is, I dislike all the members of my family and do not plan to see any of them once I will leave India.
The problem I want to consult you about is how I can go to a European country and meet a man to marry. I am not very beautiful but I am ready to adjust in order to fulfil my dream.
You appear to suffer from some problem, not because you want to leave your country – many young people want to do this – but because you are not at all attached to your family and say that you dislike them all and plan to cut yourself completely from them once you leave India. This is not normal at all and you should ask yourself why you feel like this.
As for going to a European country to meet a man and marry him is concerned, this is unlikely to happen that quickly. After all you are likely to initially go on a visit visa and that will hardly give you time to meet a man, let alone make him fall in love with you and want to marry you, especially since you say that you are not pretty or attractive. Again, in the case of many European countries, the people there are likely to talk in a different language and this will make things more difficult for you.
It would therefore be much better if you got a job and went abroad, but of course you would have to first study for that. However, that would make it easier for you to meet people and get married.
● A S I AM AN ONLY CHILD, I HAVE ALWAYS TAKEN RESPONSIBILITY for my parents and after they grew old, they have always stayed with me. I was lucky that my husband had no responsibilities and so my parents were not a liability but a help. In fact, it was because my parents stayed with us that I was able to work without feeling guilty for neglecting my home and family.
But things have changed over the last three years. My father has passed away, my mother is unable to do any work and my only daughter has gone down with a virulent form of cancer.
My husband and I have been assured that she can be cured but we have also been warned that the cure would be long, expensive and painful and that it would take a toll of not just my daughter, but of the whole family.
Now, halfway through the cure, I am at the end of my tether. My daughter has not yet turned the corner and started on the road to recovery – in fact my husband and I wonder if she will, though the doctors are hopeful. I have also given up my job so that I can look after my daughter and though we have been managing somehow, our funds are running very low. More importantly, our spirits are running even lower.
In these circumstances, taking care of my mother is proving to be very difficult and I would like to put her into a home. This will be especially helpful just now because I have found a home where she will be entitled to free care and this will release money to help my daughter.
But my mother has been crying nonstop ever since I told her what I am planning and I am at the end of my tether. What should I do?
When it is a matter of your young child’s life, you really have no choice. Assure your mother that you are only sending her away temporarily and then do not delay matters. Ignore your mother’s tears, take her to the home and leave her there. Then come back and give your daughter all your attention. And when your daughter is cured, bring your mother home.
I AM AN 18- YEAR-OLD COLLEGE STUDENT. I HAVE AN IDENTICAL twin brother and both of us got admission this year to the most prestigious honours course that the university offers.
But there was a difference between how I got admission and how my brother did. I got admission because I worked hard and prepared well for the entrance test and my twin brother got in by cheating.
My brother and I are identical twins and thought we are identical in looks, height, brains, etc, we are not similar in character. My brother is bold, impatient and eager to try out new and even dangerous things. He is intelligent but is attracted by many things besides studies. On the other hand, I am genuinely attracted by learning and eagerly learn about new facts and ideas.
This however does not at all mean that we do not understand each other or do not get along – in fact we are incredibly close and understand each other intuitively. And this was why I went against my conscience when my brother begged me to help him get into the same course as I was aiming and was pretty sure of getting as this would make our parents happy. He promised at the same time to mend his ways.
It was not very difficult for my brother and myself to cheat our way into me getting both of us admission to the course we wanted. We applied for admission on different days but I went for the tests on both the days and easily managed to pass on both days under a different name each time.
But having helped him, I now have the uncanny feeling that my brother is teetering at the edge of a precipice, and that unless I save him now, he will fall over the edge and be lost for ever. I have tried to talk to him, but he is on a high after getting into the top course and I just cannot get him to be serious.
College is going to start soon and I dread what is going to happen then. Please advise.
You are right in that your brother will “fall over the edge” if something isn’t done at once. But you cannot be the person to pull him back – you are just too young and inexperienced for that. It is best that you talk to your parents, tell them what your brother is up to and let them deal with the matter. Your brother will be upset, but will eventually understand that you did the right thing.
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