Boxed in

  • Agonyaunt

Oct 3, 2017-


Dear Aunt, 

I am a 24-year-old guy living here in Kathmandu. I moved back home after spending four years in India for my Bachelors and have been working at an organisation here for the past six months or so. I’ve always been a bit quiet of a person but I think my stay away from home has really made me socially awkward in a way that I wasn’t before. These festivals have really been very painful and I couldn’t wait for all the social functions to be over. I used to be a pretty extroverted kid, but somewhere along the way I started really disliking large gatherings. I think a big part of it has to do with me living so independently, with my own circle of friends, for the past four years. Now living at home once again, I feel like I am back to square one. I have very little personal space and my mother in particular is always on my case whenever I am out socialising on my own. I have been contemplating trying to live on my own, but that would come with all types of stigma in my conservative family. Is this just a phase I am going through? How do I learn to enjoy spending time with my family again?

—R Joshi

Dear R, 

You have been back for only half a year and it is too soon to say if it is just a phase, or something that is here to stay. Only time can tell.  If you think staying with your family has become unbearable on a regular basis and that you’ll explode if you don’t get your space, maybe it is time to move out. Inner peace is more important than what the society has to say about you and your family, or even what your family has to say for that matter. Just make sure that you can afford to get your own space with the same facilities you enjoy at home. However, if you’re only feeling claustrophobic because of the festivities then there are ways you can avoid getting crowded.  Festivals can be a difficult time, and kin and kinship can be a lot to handle for people who need personal space all the time. The good news is that the festivities are here only once in a while; bad news is that they are here every year. You have got to work your way around it. The best way to avoid getting crowded altogether is packing your bags and travelling during the festivals. If you feel like you can’t travel, you can only attend functions that are really important to attend and only hang out with relatives that you get along with. If that is also impossible to do, go wherever you need to go and stay as long as you need to stay; all you have to do to avoid getting crowded is just plug in to a movie in your phone. The most rational thing to do however is being patient and waiting it out. Because this too shall pass, everything does.  


All’s not well

Dear Aunt,

I am an engineer and I married at the age of 25. Now I have a seven-month-old son but still my relationship with my wife is not going well. As my marriage is a love marriage, my wife constantly thinks that my family doesn’t care about her. She often is discussing, and complaining, about my family which really angers me and the conversation always turns sour. Still, I am trying my best to work things out for the sake of our family.

The main problem, I feel, is that she has a very supportive family of her own and her family doesn’t advise her to compromise on some aspects that are parts-and-parcel of marriage and living with the in-laws. This has made it an “us-VS-them” situation and I fear things will spiral out of control if left to fester. 

I have tried to talk to her and advise her on every level that I can but still the situation remains the same. How can I address this issue so that all member of my family are together and happy?


Dear Abhishek, 

You have to understand that it is not always easy for the wife to leave behind her family and lifestyle to move into a new house where she has to live by her in-laws’ rules. And it can be very easy to overlook the compromises she is making to keep the relationship afloat.  Make sure that you appreciate and acknowledge the adjustments she has made so far. While complaining and pointing a finger at a spouse can easily turn things sour, appreciating them for all that they are doing has just the opposite effect. When you sit down to talk to her, don’t tell her what to do. Instead, help her see that how you appreciate what all she has already done. Also, help her see how your parents are also making the effort to make sure that she is comfortable. Don’t make your conversations about what is wrong in the relationship. Simply focusing on what is right will make a difference. Also, do the same with your parents. Help your parents realise how your wife has made compromises big and small to make sure the family doesn’t fall apart. You have to change the way you look at your family. The tension might have also arisen because of the baby. It is a huge leap for both of you and your lives must have taken a completely new turn, a little chaos is expected during this phase. You are both trying to adjust into a completely new set of major life choices. Keep calm, stay patient, try to look at your partner through an appreciative eyes, you’ll get through this. 

Published: 03-10-2017 08:21

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