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Dear Aunty D: November 2020

by Aiden

Aunty D advises you on matters of life and love.

Dear Aunty D,
Since I received my MD in dermatology, my social life has been a nightmare of awkwardness and interruption. I didn’t study medicine for 12 years to be inundated with innocuous requests at all hours. I have found myself saying “No Aunty Ji, I do not want to look at your rash” far too many times for comfort. Whether it’s at family gatherings, or out and about with friends, unsolicited questions about skin conditions or demands for a diagnosis will always crop up. The most asinine of these requests came from my own mother no less, who was very concerned about some yellow blotches on her hands. As it turned out, they were turmeric stains. How can I escape this horrendous situation and regain control of my free time?

Dear Rash Decisions,
Regrettably, even sans your white-doctor-coat, you are not permitted to discard your professional mask and relax like everyone else. The best solution is to be prepared with a few funny rebuttals. They must be stated straight-faced, with
a wide grin, but with a firm resolution not to succumb to analysing ugly skin conditions outside of office, not even
for dear mummy. An excellent example would be, “Today, I had a case with a highly dangerous and contagious skin problem and I don’t think it is wise to inspect your condition without the necessary sanitising methods and the essential gloves and masks.”

Dear Aunty D,
I occasionally babysit my sister’s child when she’s busy with work or needs a night off . I’m not a parent myself and definitely not an expert in the field of child rearing, but I have some concerns about my sister’s approach to child-care. My nephew has a serious problem with night-time incontinence. It has gotten to the point where I’ve had to stock up on nappies everytime I know he will be staying over. In previous years this would never bother me, but he’s just turned nine and I’m starting to get a bit concerned. Is this normal for a nine-year- old? Should I bring it up with my sister? I’m worried she might be offended.

Dear Wet Blanket,
Your sister must first, acknowledge the problem, and then, analyse whether the poor boy is being bullied or harbours some real or unreal fears. He might be hiding some trauma, or reliving a major jolt, like death and divorce. She also needs to be totally honest about whether her home is a warm, loving place and the boy is receiving adequate love and attention from both parents. Diet, too, is a very important factor to be looked into; it should not be tamsik or heavy and stale, which would induce sluggishness and an unnaturally deep sleep – thus, the incontinence.

Dear Aunty D,
My son left home last year to attend university in the UK. We struggled to adjust to his absence initially but eventually managed to settle into the new household dynamic. Since last month, however, my husband has been acting out of sorts. Namely, he has started sleeping in my son’s room. He has always been very guarded about his feelings and rarely expresses his emotions so it’s hard for me to ascertain why he has begun sleeping separately. He claims that he uses the bedroom to play on our son’s video game console but I’ve caught him sleeping in my son’s bed on several occasions. With the recent COVID-19 situation in England, I’ve been missing and worrying about my son even more than usual. Does my husband’s behaviour stem from the same issue? Or perhaps there are relationship problems I’ve missed?

Dear Bed Sore,
Bless his soul, he’s giving you the space you craved for. Now, the whole bed is yours, as is the A/C remote. You can now adjust the temperature to your menopausal need of the hour. There’ll be no disturbances from snoring and ‘gas-bombs’. Best of all, you have complete freedom to get up and go to the loo as often as you want, read a book, call a U.S.-based friend, or grab a midnight snack if you can’t sleep. So, do both of you a favour and settle him completely and comfortably into your son’s room.

Have an etiquette question? Send your dilemmas to tom@masalathai.com
Write “Dear Aunty D” in the subject line.

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