Well presented at work, vagabond at home

I see so often so much effort and care taken in the beginning of relationships to look good, smell good, put your best foot forward etc and then over a passage of time, couples don’t make the effort anymore. They laugh and say “ghar ki murghi dal baraabar”, or “now we’re married, why bother”. I think that’s terrible! It’s almost like what was in the window display wasn’t what you bought into.

Of course, there are days when you can’t make the effort because of health reasons or time pressures, or sometimes you’re just off mood, but those days should be a tiny percentage. We make the effort every day to dress up presentably and go to work or out with friends. We make the effort to smile and greet people in the workplace.

We make sure our grooming, our body language and our charm is turned on and that we are fully focused on our goals for the day. We do this because it makes us happy to be achievers and to enjoy success and to bring the money home. But why does the effort or niceness have to be turned off as soon as you get home? Or if you’re a housewife, why would you not want to be well dressed and in a buoyant mood when your husband and kids come home? I don’t know why people say, “it’s too much effort, I just want to be natural, and feel at home”. Is it natural to them to be smelly and unkempt?

Whether you put on a grubby kaftan or a nice dress it’s the same amount of effort. It takes just a couple of minutes to make your hair look good and to smell nice. It’s so easy to put on a smile and greet everyone at home positively rather than a bored look. This is your home. I always say what’s around you reflects what within you. Do you want your home to be your dump yard, or your paradise?

1. I have been married for the past six years and my in-laws keep insisting on having children. I am not yet prepared for a child and I have tried explaining this to them in several ways, but it seems that they cannot understand. Because of this, my husband and I keep fighting every day. I am already tired of this marriage. What should I do?

Children should only come into a marriage when both parents are ready for a lifetime of responsibility and caring. If you can give them a timeline to work with it might help the situation, but if you are not sure you ever want a baby, then you may need to have a serious chat with your husband as to whether the marriage is workable or not.

2. I am a 34-year-old single mother. My husband and I divorced when my daughter was 2 years old. She is now 5 and keeps asking me where her father is. Though he has visiting rights and does meet her, he has insisted that I never tell her that he is her father. He meets her as an uncle. I have thought of remarrying again while she is still young, so that she gets the love of a father too. But my ex-husband says that if I try to do that, he will file a court case on me and will take away the custody of my child. What should I do?

He needs to decide if he is a father or uncle. How can he take custody if he’s just an uncle? The child has every right to know who her father is, and you have every right to remarry. Record his not wanting her to know he’s the father, and document what an amazing single parent you are. He won’t have any basis in court with such evidence. If you find yourself a wonderful new man, you must move on with him.

3. My parents and I have recently moved into a new apartment complex where mostly senior citizens live. My work involves me coming back home late in the night because of which the society people have started raising objections. Though it doesn’t bother them, indirectly, they feel that this might lead to a lapse in security at night. They have asked us to vacate the flat and move somewhere else. I have even considered lodging a formal complaint but I am not sure if I should speak to the society people first. What should I do?

Tell them the job of building security is to protect you and them. They cannot pick on you for your timings be it for work or for party reasons. Have a talk with them about how you’re a single girl staying with her parents and earning a decent living. If they seem hostile on any level make a memo of the situation and the conversation and send it to the society for their “records”. If they harass you on any count, write them another letter stating you’re being harassed and that if they persist, you will take this to the police.