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Agony uncle

HT City columnist Anupam Kher helps solve your problems.

entertainment Updated: Feb 10, 2009 18:36 IST

HT City columnist Anupam Kher helps solve your problems.

My mother is a hoarder. She has retained some of her possessions for decades. She is stubbornly unwilling to throw anything out because she says everything has some thread of emotion attached to it. I stay with her, my wife and my ten-year-old son, Arnav in a three bedroom-hall-kitchen flat. My wife, son and I sleep in one room, whereas my mother has occupied the other room. My mother is unwilling to give up the third room where she has been storing all her things. How do I convince her that Arnav needs his own room now?
—Saahil, Ludhiana

Anupam: Having lived rich, long lives, many seniors become hoarders to some degree, a fact which ignites household upsets. Of course, the operative word here is degree. If your mother is more clingy about her material possessions than others, you have to walk a fine balance between getting your way and not injuring her emotionally. I would suggest, talk to her gently and work out a compromise. Coax her initially to yield half the room to Arnav for his use and assure her she can use the other half for her storage purposes. Sensitise her to Arnav’s growing needs even as you sensitise your child to respect his grandmother’s idiosyncracies.

I am a woman in my 30s and am managing my household as well as my profession. My husband has been unemployed for a couple of years now; and refuses to work unless he gets that ‘perfect’ opportunity. On the other hand, my flat lease is going to end soon and we will have to pay more now — which I cannot afford. My husband is suggesting we shift to the outskirts of the city, but that would be far from my office. How do I convince him to work at any decent job till he finds the right one?
—Sonali, Gurgaon

Anupam: While it is fine to be fastidious and wait for a job that satisfies, one also has to be realistic. Probably you have been dealing with this issue with a soft hand. Two years is a long enough time for him to have remained unemployed. Without losing your cool, point out the sacrifices you have had to make. Be assertive and demand that your husband take up any decent work and contribute to the family kitty. You have allowed him to get away easily. If you continue doing that, you will only be inviting bigger problems as time passes. Situations such as these have to be treated soon and not allowed to run amok.