Welcome to my website!

Welcome to my new website, meray bachay.  My darling nephew told me that I must get a website instead of publishing my advice directly to FaceBook.  He says it looks more professional.  Suchi baath hai, so I agreed.  I can still be found on FaceBook by clicking this link.  There you will be able to see all of my past advise and you can contact me.  The rules here are the same as they have been there.  Be respectful. In Aunty’s drawing room we are not judging, we are helping.  Do not get too free with me, I will not tolerate badtameezi. Not at all.  I welcome your comments. I invite your questions. Agar koi sawaal he tho FaceBook par you can send me a private message and I will answer.  Remember that your Aunty is not a professional, just a loving person with many years on earth.

A coworker is stealing his ideas

Female manager stands addressing team at board meeting

Dear Aunty,

I am not South Asian, but I like your advice and I hope that you will give my question some consideration. I am a 27 year old man and I have been working in advertising for 3 years. About six months ago, my company hired a new advertising associate whom I trained in the ways of our corporate culture.  She works on my team, so when a project is assigned to us, we talk about it together and then present our ideas to our project managers during team meetings.

I have noticed a terrible pattern in her behavior and I am finding it very difficult to work with her. In our brainstorming meetings, she tells me my ideas are worthless. At the team meetings, she presents my ideas as her own.  I am angry with her.  She is making me look like an idiot.  The first two times she did this, I just sat there stunned and said nothing.  I do not think my bosses would be interested in hearing about our petty squabbles, so I am not going to them with my grievances, but I am tired of her taking all the credit for all of my ideas and making me look stupid both in our planning meetings when she shoots down my ideas, and again in our presentations where she makes me look unprepared to present my own ideas!  I am good at my job.  I have always been good at my job.  But she is ruining work for me. I am afraid that if I confront her she will blow up and pretend no such thing has happened What can I do?

 

Sweet Beta,

Aunty does not care where you are from. You are welcome here and you are like one of my own children.  It sounds like you have a very frustrating and even angering work situation.  I think you have good reason to be upset.  Consider first that your bosses know your work. You have had 3 years to prove yourself to them.  They can probably see through what is happening.  Take some comfort in that.  If you think you are really in danger of looking like a fool in front of them, you can discretely tell them what is bothering you without looking like a squabbler.  You can take one of your mentors aside and say, “Rani, do you have a sec?  I need an experienced perspective on an issue.  Everything is fine, but I’m having trouble communicating with Amina.  I wonder if you might have any suggestions for improving my communication strategies.  There is a miscommunication pattern emerging in our planning sessions.  The final product is the goal for the whole team, and I don’t want our communication problem to affect the work we present to the client.  Would you have a second to talk about this?”

You see?  You are making the common goal the priority, and asking for experienced wisdom from a mentor. That is received very differently than “I feel like she’s stealing my ideas!” which is personal and sounds petty, even if it is not petty. Then when you talk about the actual problem, say, “I think I might be working my presentations wrong or something, I’ve noticed that when I have an idea it is not well received, so we do not flesh it out. But it has happened several times that in the team meeting, that very idea is presented to you haphazardly without sufficient planning. I think we could do so much better.  Can you help us improve our communication?”

The other tactic is to talk to her directly.  She sounds insecure and a little bit of a bully.  Bullies usually back down when they are confronted with their behavior.  During your next planning session, if she shoots down an idea say, “Amina, it has happened a few times in the past that when you shoot down my ideas, you present them as your own in the planning meetings.  You can give her an example of this, but resist the temptation to argue with her.  There is no need to get her to admit it out loud, nor to engage in argument.  Just put up your hand and say, “Wait. I do not want to argue with you, I just want to focus on doing the best job possible for the client.  Let’s work this out productively.  When I present an idea, if we mutually agree that is not a good idea, let us agree that it will not be presented.  If it is a good idea, let us work on it together and present it together.”  You can also take notes during your planning meetings, so that there is written record.  This serves as a barrier to further argument about whose ideas was whose.

I hope that you are able to get past this unpleasant work experience, beta.  Jeethe Raho- Desi Aunty

Reader does not believe abused cousin

Depressed teenage girl need help

Dear Aunty,

Last month I was visiting with my Khala’s family who live in Rajastan.  They are very nice and my Khala is a good mother and her husband is a good, hard working man.  He sometimes hits his children and screams at them, but he loves them. He has not done it in front of me, but I have heard him through the walls. I have heard him yelling harsh things at his children and I heard the slaps.  But he also loves them and works hard and provides for his family. When he comes home he is tired and we should stay out of his way.  My cousin Noori recently told me that her father has done some terrible things to her. Noori claims he sexually abuses her. Noori said she is going to tell her mother and have her father arrested.  Auntiji, Noori is obviously lying. I am so embarrassed to hear her say these things. Her father is not a perfect man. No one is. But if he wanted to hurt her, why would he still feed and clothe her?  Her father has a wife. The other children do not say such things. Noori is going to ruin her family’s life and for what?  Our whole family will have problems for this. I cannot imagine how my mother will deal with this, with the other ladies whispering. She will never go out again. What will my father have to hear from his co-workers?  I am thinking of telling my father so he will tell my uncle what Noori is saying.  I am sure Noori will be beaten by her father for this, if not turned out into the street. But if she says these false things, our whole family will be humiliated. What will my father say to his coworkers? How will my mother show her face in public again? How can I stop this all from happening?  What is the best way to handle this?

Your friend,

(Name withheld)

 

Dear Child,

God give me strength while I reply to your letter.

My child, why are you so sure she is lying?  Because it makes you so uncomfortable?  Why is it that in our culture, the more powerless a person is, the more we silence them, the more we protect the ones who hurt them?  You see this all the time. Rape victims are called liars, killed, or thrown out.  You ask why he still feeds and clothes her? Perhaps because that is his role as her father and he is also taking on a forbidden role.  What do you expect him to do, marry her? Throw her out and stop abusing her?  Your doubts do not make any sense.  Abused children are told they should appreciate their parents’ sacrifices.  When will we become protectors of the most vulnerable?  Do all of our religions not obligate us to do better? You worry about the words your father will have to say. Why care more about words than a person? You worry about the parties your mother will be embarrassed at. Embarrassment is only something that happens in a person’s imagination.  It does not exist in the world outside of the person’s mind. Sexual abuse actually breaks entire human beings and ruins lives. Perhaps you worry about what someone might (or might not) say to you. Words! Your ego!  Words do not take up space or lead to damaged organs and broken minds. Embarrassment is not a real problem. Does embarrassment caused by the words of a careless class fellow ruin your mind, body and soul?  No!  You go home and eat some daal and get over it.  You worry about such trivial things compared to the damage that is being done to this girl, and actual human being, her body, her mind, her life.  You worry about the wrong things!

What you should really worry about is Noori’s well-being.  You should really worry about what you want your legacy on earth to be.  Do you want to enable an abuser and silence a victim, or do you want to be a champion for justice and save a human being? Your job is not to protect the people who hurt her, but to protect Noori.  Listen to her.  Talk to your parents and tell them that Noori needs a safe place to be.  Tell them she needs to be taken from that home immediately. She could be killed for telling the truth, and don’t think for a second that has not crossed her mind. She knows what the stakes are and the abuse she is receiving might be as bad to her.  Your discomfort means nothing.  Do the right thing.  I hope I have made myself clear.  Jeethe Raho.  ~ Your very upset Desi Aunty

Mother Won’t Allow Skinny Jeans

jeans

Dear Aunty,

I live in Australia.  I am 15 years old.  My mum does not like the skinny jeans trend.  I do.  I bought a pair of skinny jeans with my own money.  I am so late to this trend, but my ill-fitting baggy jeans are killing my social life.  My mum says I can only wear them if I wear a dupatta, too.  I asked her if she wanted me to wear it around my waist, since that doesn’t make sense.  I’m not wearing a dupatta to school.  What should I do?

Hello Beti,

What does your mother dislike about your jeans?  Are they showing off your figure too much?  This likely does not bother you as much as it bothers her, am I correct?  I’m betting your mother is also not too thrilled about showing your body to help your social life.  I know you do not see it the same way, Beti. To you it is just fashion and since everyone is wearing it, no one is looking at your body, but your baggy jeans make you stand out as out of fashion.  Hai, beti. These are struggles so many girls and boys experience with parents who grew up in another land or another generation (basically most Desis). Have mercy on your mother. She is trying to protect you and teach you morals.  And even if you disagree, please be respectful.  Your relationship with your mother will last much longer than any fashion trend.  And you will need each other when your preference once again switches to baggy clothing. Protect your relationship the way you would protect delicate jewelry, which is worth so much less.

You are not going to convince her to see things your way before skinny jeans are replaced with something which allows for better blood circulation to your thighs.  Furthermore, she is the one who gets to make the decisions. So it is time for you to compromise. We wear kurta payjamas with very tight payjamas (the visible bit) and skinny jeans are not so different.  Perhaps wearing a long shirt over them would be enough. There are some very stylish longer shirts that can be coupled with your preferred jean style.  As for the dupatta, perhaps your spirit of compromise might inspire her to drop this requirement, too.  If not, scarves are very much en vogue and only add an extra layer of style to your outfit.

Readers, can you post photos of such outfits in the comments below?

Jeethe Raho – Desi Aunty

Is He Still Her Boyfriend?

backpackerHello Aunty,

I have talked to u about my boyfriend in past but fortunately it didn’t turned how i thought it would. Now again i want your advice. Everything was going fine between us. And then i came to another city for my college and because i was staying with my aunt i was not able to talk to him as i used to (on calls we chat whole day) And then he went to another country for a project and since then for the whole time he was out he didn’t called me nor he would text me.

When i used to text him he would reply as if he was forced to and there also didn’t talk to me nicely. Its OK i understand he was out for some work and must be busy but cant he just talk to me at night at least a good night text. But then also i let it go. Now he is back in the country. He didn’t tell me he was coming. I got to know it from Facebook of his friend. We were in the same city but then also he didn’t come to meet me. That also i let go. That he would be hanging out with his friends or something. Now he is back to his city. But then also haven’t called me. Haven’t texted and even if i text he would reply so late. I am thinking of breaking up with him coz I don’t like being ignored or being taken for granted. If he’s really meant to be in my life he would have put some efforts. And if he really wants to be with me he will do something. I m very confused can u tell me what to do.

 

Beti,

This hurts you and I am sorry for that.  But it seems your “boyfriend” no longer sees himself as such.  He is just too cowardly to say it out loud.  Let me ask you this: If you were dating someone and no longer wanted to be with them, but did not want to say so, what would you do?  Probably exactly what he is doing.  That is really all you need to know.  He is done with this relationship and you should let it go.  I’m sorry, Jannu, for your pain, but I am not sorry he has left you.  You will one day meet a man who thinks the sun shines because of you.  This bechara bazdil is not that man.  Being rid of him leaves you free to find that man who will not make you wonder about his love.  The right man is one who makes you feel securely loved even when you cannot find love for yourself. I am happy that you are now free to experience that.

Jeethe raho- Desi Aunty

Boy Seeks Interreligious Marriage with a Girl who Dates Others

man and woman face each other

Dear Aunty,

I am a student in college, 2nd year.  I am from a Hindu family.  I was not good in studies in my first semester but I passed all the subjects in the next one.  Now the thing here involves a girl, my best friend.  In the first semester, she was going out with me casually and all and it was fine, but she got attracted to some other freakish senior, against whom everyone warned her. But she got involved and I got distracted. She is like the only friend who is that much close to heart. And my studies got deteriorated. But time changed and she broke up with him, got together with me and I almost topped the class in every single test. Meanwhile, some 4th year guy became too sweet towards her and she got a little bit attracted and I got soooooo distracted that I didn’t give exams easily.  She was seeing him since halfway March to end of May.  I could have brought better marks, but I couldn’t.  Seeing her with anyone else who is NOT good hurts me.  And actually, I want to marry her. The problem is that she is from a Muslim family and I am from a Hindu family. She doesn’t want to live without me nor do I, but how am I supposed to persuade my family, her family?  Her parents are damn conservative.  My parents might not be that much but are still, like, interreligion hai to dikkat hai.  I don’t know what is wrong with me. We have classes five days a week and it is fine, but the moment Friday goes away, Saturday and Sunday makes me depressed, reckless and very destructive.  I keep missing her and looking at her pic and I just can’t seem to stay half a day without her. I love her but how do I protect her from getting involved with wrong people?  You know what girls be like, whatever you say to them not to do, the DO that.  I want to marry her.  How do I convince my parents first and how do I stop her from being falsely attracted to bad people?

 

Dear Darling Boy,

I see a few problems here that must be sorted out:  1.  Your feelings are so very strong for her that when she does not conform to them or she is not with you, you feel handicapped in your studies.  2. There is a religious difference between your families and they might not conform to your request for her hand. 3.  You want to protect her from her own desires.  Do I have these correct?  OK.  Get yourself a cup of chai and sit with me.  Let us talk about each of these.

  1.  Your feelings are strong and distracting.  You seem to externalize your success. It seems to not be in your control, but hers.  This is a matter of discipline.  If you cannot take full responsibility for your school work then you  must remove all distractions. Girlfriends come and go (as she has done) but your future is yours alone to decide.  If anything renders you incapable of fulfilling your responsibilities because of your desire, you must eliminate this factor as an alcoholic eliminates alcohol.  Take a break from her.  If you cannot do this, beta, I gently suggest speaking with a therapist. This is not healthy.  What if she never wants to marry you?  You still need a future.
  2. You cannot control what another person thinks, does, or supports.  You can only weigh the consequences and decide your path for yourself.  Can you live without the support of your family and take her from hers?  Can she?  If so, then marry her.  If not, then don’t.  Do not expect to ever be able to change anyone but yourself.  Chacha and I come from different faiths.  We have been happily married for a great many years.  But not everyone can do this and we have always had the support of our families. This surprised me, that my family would agree, but they knew he was the right man for me before even I did.  How will you raise your children?  This is often the hardest question that leads to divorce.  But it can be done if you can compromise on very big issues.
  3. Hai, beta.  You will not like this, but Aunty is always honest and  the truth is, I hope, liberating.   This woman does not need you to “save” or “protect” her from her own decisions. These are her decisions, not yours.  She has every right to see whomever she pleases.  She is not your possession, she has her own will and if you care for her, you must respect it.  Even if you do not care for her, you must respect her will and her decisions. She is entirely, 100% her own person.  She can make mistakes and she can choose another man. You deeply disrespect her when you talk about protecting her from liking “wrong” or “freakish” people.  You have no right to save her from her mind, her feelings or her decisions. Not now, not after marriage, not ever. You either respect her and all of her choices or you leave.  Again, you control yourself, not anyone else.  Frankly your desire to control her is a little frightening to Aunty.  You must work on letting go.  Darling, I say this as gently as I can, but with utmost seriousness: She is just not that into you.  If she was, she would never want another.  When I fell in love with Chachajaan, all other men ceased to exist.  She is not there with you.  This is not healthy for you or for her..

My darling, this is obsession.  It is not love.  From where you are sitting, it might be hard to tell the difference.  My suggestion is to let her go. Move away if you must, go to another school. She is like an unhealthy drug for you.  Someday I hope you will meet a woman who loves you as much, and you will be very happy together.  Until then, beta, jeethe raho- Desi Aunty.

Friend Brings Drugs to Reader’s Home

Dear Auntiji,

I am a professional woman who had a friend growing up I will call “Mithu.”  Mithu was a good friend when we were children. We were neighbors and classfellows.  We played together all the time, but she did not have a stable home life so my Didi insisted we play at our home. We are adults now and I have completed my education. I have a stable life and I am recently married.  Mithu and I still connect through e-mail and we see each other occasionally. The problem is that Mithu uses drugs.  She recently contacted me and said she wanted to get away from her bad environment and make a clean start.  I said wonderful, she could come and stay with me and get away from such wrong influences.  But when she came, she was behaving like a wild woman.  She even used drug in my home.  I do not know what to do. It seems her environment is not her problem, her drug addiction is her problem.  I do not want to make her leave to the streets, but I do not want drugs in my home.  I spoke with her and she said “Of course, I will not do it again.” but by night she had forgotten and was using again. She is drinking and drugging and making a mess of my home.  My home is not peaceful. I have no privacy with my husband because she is sleeping on the couch and now a “friend” is visiting her at night.  I think he is bringing her drugs.  I want to help my friend, but I do not want this in my home.  What shall I do?

Your devoted reader,

Lost and Tired
Dear Beti (I will not call you lost, though you may be tired),

Hai, what a mess Mithu has brought to your home. Aunty is proud of you for wanting to help her, but beti, I think her problems are more than you can handle. This is what rehabilitation facilities are for. They have trained staff and doctors and therapists to help her. Are you any of these things?  If not, then you are not the proper place for her and you cannot give her the help she needs.  Further, if the police follow this drug seller to your home, can you tell them you did not know there were illegal substances in your home?  Nehi?  Then you are an accomplice to a crime.  Perhaps even more, because the home is yours.  No beti. This is not right. There is only so much you can do, and it is not enough to truly help her.  It is not easy, but you must tell her that this situation makes you uncomfortable and she must be gone in one day or two days time.  Do not give more time than this for she is putting your life in jeopardy. Bringing a drug dealer to your home?  You cannot know that you are safe.  She might ask for time, she might ask for help, but since you have no knowledge of how to help her, you would only be prolonging the inevitable.  She is not stopping the drugs. Do you want this to last two days or two years?  The outcome will still be that she must leave, but how much of your life will she ruin before she goes?  This is the only piece you can control.  You can encourage her to go to a rehabilitation facility, but you cannot save her.