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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Survival Strategies

My stepsister and I have been best of friends. We’ve looked out for each other and I have never considered her as my stepsister. However, ever since I told her about the man I am seeing for a few weeks now, her behaviour has undergone a drastic change. She avoids me, is unnecessarily sarcastic and even makes nasty remarks at times. It is a shocking change, the years of trust and love suddenly seem in vain. I have tried talking to her but.... What must I do?

Name and address withheld

Do nothing except try and change your lover. Look, two things may have happened: the first that she may believe you should have taken her into confidence earlier and/ or that she was/ is fancying the same guy. Now all you need to do is take a clinical call: do you really care for your stepsister? In India, even blood siblings at times don’t care, so, why are you trying to become a role-model? Or if you really love this stepsister of yours, then dump the guy and find another. Beyond that, if there is nothing in the will that will make you poorer, to hell with your stepsister!

Three months ago I married the guy my parents chose for me. He seemed to be a very nice man — loving, caring, responsible and everything one would want a husband to be. However, a few days ago I came to know that he had been married before but only for a few days. I feel devastated that my husband had kept it from me. I feel betrayed. What should I do?

Name and address withheld

You can’t do very much darling. The fact is that both your parents were dolts not to do any due diligence. Surely your husband was living in this country and not Fiji and how difficult is it to probe into someone's past? Our not-so-bright government even figured out Baba Ramdev’s Nepalese connection in 24 hours, so what on earth were your parents doing? Having said that, it is clear that your husband is quite a suave con man so, you will have to be more than just on your toes and see how it all goes. I suggest you start stealing from him now itself just in case you have to leave the house all of a sudden. Money being taken away hurts most men than even his woman being taken away.

HELP AT HAND

Alcoholics anonymous

10A, Nandan Road, Near Ganja Park, Calcutta - 25,
Ph: 2419 1174
For free help on alcoholism
E-mail: akolkata_ig03@rediffmail.com
(2p.m. to 6p.m. Mondays through Saturdays)

Al-Anon (for families and friends of alcoholics)

Ph : 8420738682
(2p.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays)
www.india.al-anon.alateen.org

Narcotics anonymous
(Kolkata area helpline)
Ph: 9836223071; www.nakolkata.org
Email: info@nakolkata.org
Self-help group of recovering addicts

HelpAge India

1800-345-1253
Free helpline for the elderly for social, legal, economical, financial counselling and also access to government schemes and policies

Lifeline Foundation

Ph: 2463 7401/ 2463 7432
Free helpline for the depressed or suicidal (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturdays)

Sparsha

AE-36, Rabindra Pally, PO: Prafulla Kanan, Calcutta - 01
Ph: 2591 0334, 2591 3852, 6529, 9856
Free tele-counselling and one-on-one counselling on personal relationships and HIV/ AIDS (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Mondays through Fridays)

Pronam

38/1, Beltala Road, Calcutta - 19
Senior Citizen’s Emergency
Co-ordination Control Room
Ph: 2419 0740