"One fine day, I was booking a cab from my father's phone and ended up accidentally glancing upon his task manager after I was done. I saw messages that made me realize that he was having an extramarital affair and was cheating on my mom with a lady from his school days.
Seeing those messages, I could feel my world crumbling down. I immediately shared it with my younger sister without thinking of the consequences. Some social media research helped to reveal more details about that lady. Both of us decided to break this news to our mother two or three days after her birthday. It was torturous for us to bottle up these feelings inside for those days.
Once we broke the news to her, it was a horrific sight. Her entire world came crashing down all at once. I could see her sob profusely and helplessly. When confronted, my father accepted his misdeed. My mother was somewhat determined to seek separation. I, too, was somewhat in her favor. My grandparents were not supportive of her decision, just in order to save their home from crumbling down and for the sake of the family's reputation.
My parents reconciled on personal terms and decided not to separate while my father promised not to make this mistake ever again. Maybe my mother just compromised for the sake of the future of her children, which might have been ruined otherwise.
My parents didn't want my younger sister to know about this. They are under the impression that she does not know, while she actually does. This incident changed my mother a lot. I have seen her sobbing. She has lost the happy nature she once had. She was once a deep sleeper, but now she has trouble sleeping each night.
All my life, I had respected my father, but this incident changed that for me. On the other hand, the respect I had for my mother increased a hundredfold. Ironically, the day I found out about his affair, my mother was telling her sister-in-law about how I idolize my father. During our confrontation, I told my father how he had lost all the respect I had for him - 20 years of respect, all blown away in a second.
We're still living under the same roof, but life isn't the same for all of us."
"I have a younger brother. I always used to, and still do, wish that I had an elder bother. I have lots of cousins. There was a cousin whom I always treated like my own brother. I respected him a lot because he had sacrificed a lot for his younger sisters. I loved talking to him a lot and also shared my experiences with him and asked him about his.
I had a month-long holiday during which I stayed at my relatives' place for a change. Many other relatives had come too. We all enjoyed our company together and shared a lot of stories and lame jokes. Every night, my cousins and I used to sleep in one room so that we could stay up late at night without disturbing the elders. Some of us had to sleep on the mattresses on the ground because there was not enough space on the bed. They took turns for sleeping on the bed. But I always slept on the bed because I was adamant about it. The cousin I treated as my elder brother, whom I will call 'Q,' also slept on the bed being the eldest one among us all. The third person to sleep on the bed would change each night.
One night, after a long session of gossip and laughter, all of us went to sleep in our already decided places. It was almost past 1:30 am when I suddenly opened my eyes. Something woke me up. I wasn't sure what did it. But, then, the reason soon became clear to me. I froze with fear upon discovering what was actually happening.
I felt something moving very slowly over my tummy. It was pitch dark so I couldn't see anything. I wanted to move, but I was too scared. His hands groped me for some time. I couldn't move or say anything. After some time, I felt his hands moving toward the upper part of my body from my tummy, I couldn't control myself. A tear slid from my eye but I still remained silent. It was horrible. I could never imagine something like this happening to me.
Finally, I collected some courage and took a turn to the other side. He then, suddenly, took his hand away from me. I turned over to my other side and just kept on hoping that he would stop touching me. He stopped. He might have gotten the idea that I was awake, so he turned to the other side and went to sleep.
As for me, I couldn't sleep that whole night. My heart raced too fast that night. It was then when I spent my whole night sobbing with at least eight other people in the same room. My eyes were burning and I had a very bad headache by morning. Soon the elders woke up, along with all my cousins, but I went to sleep only after Q left the room.
When I woke up after some hours of sleep I, again, remembered what had happened that night and felt very sad. I could not cry because the others were also in that room. I came up with an excuse to take a bath and went to the bathroom, which was the most isolated room. I called my boyfriend and told him everything. He got very furious and told me not to cry. I cried for almost two hours and felt very disgusted about my body and my cousin.
Then, I took a bath and joined others at the breakfast table. Q was there too. He seemed so calm and happy just like every other day. I couldn't look at him the whole time because I was sure that if I did so, I would start shouting at him. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to tell everyone about it, but chances were that I would be the one who would be scolded.
You should have taken care of yourself! You are a grown up now and we don't need to tell you where and with whom you should sleep. You are a girl. You should have known how boys are!
I was too scared to confront him. Instead, I texted him:
ME: 'I know what you did! You should be ashamed! Just imagine if someone did this to your own sister or wife or mother or girlfriend!'
Q: 'What are you talking about? Look, I seriously don't know what happened!'
ME: 'Don't lie! I wasn't asleep last night!'
Q: 'Look, I don't know what happened. I was asleep and whatever happened, happened by mistake.'
ME: 'How do you know something happened at night if you were asleep? Don't freaking lie to me.'
Q: 'Look I can explain everything. Just meet me in the bedroom room.'
ME: 'I don't want to talk to you ever. I loved you as my own brother. You proved today that I can never trust a male other than my father and brother. Shame on you.'
Q: 'Meet me in the bedroom. Look, I want to talk to you.'
I didn't respond and went back home on the very same day. I couldn't look into my mom's eyes for a week because it made me want to cry. Since that day, I have never talked to him. That is how I totally lost respect for my only elder cousin whom I loved a lot."
"My husband has a couple of aunts and he loves one of them. He respected her as he did for his own mother. She has only one daughter and used to say that she loved my husband as her own son. My husband used to visit her two or three times a week, whenever she would ask. She even asks him to come for small jobs around the house since there is no male in her family and my husband was always available to her. She lives very close to our place, so she used to call him if she needed to buy anything, if she was getting some work done around the house, and so on.
Three months after our marriage, my husband's aunt told him that she wanted to sell one of the shops she owned. She wanted him to come and take care of all paperwork and discuss with the other party about the payment and other stuff. My husband went there. All of a sudden, he thought of buying the shop from her. Now, he is the main earning member of his family and had taken out a loan for the marriage as well.
We both were earning a decent amount but had some loans to pay first. He asked his aunt if she needed the money urgently or if she could wait for a few months as we paid $50,000 a month over six months. She agreed to this. We paid the first installment of $50,000. Meanwhile, we told one of our friends that we needed some money and he offered to give us some so that we could pay the amount in the following six months. My husband was so excited.
A few weeks later, he got a call from his cousin saying that the aunt wanted to sell the shop to another person who offered $50,000 more than what we were going to give. My husband was shattered, not just because of the shop, but because of the trust he had in his aunt. He could not believe it. He had become emotionally attached to that shop and was planning to take care of it. But his aunt did not think twice before saying no to the man who was always there for her when she called in the middle of the night without having a second thought.
We got our money back along with what we had invested. We just lost a shop, but his aunt lost a son for $50,000 and she will never get him back."
"A few years back, my wedding was arranged and I was in constant touch with my soon-to-be wife. I used to work in Bangalore while my wife worked in Hyderabad. We were both from Mumbai. Incidentally, my wife's younger brother also worked in Hyderabad. My fiancé was open to moving to Bangalore after our marriage, which we discussed and mutually agreed since Bangalore had more IT jobs. I had given an idea of this to my parents, but her parents were unaware of this agreement between us.
Sometime before our marriage, my parents met my mother-in-law at a mutual friend's place for some event. The conversation naturally shifted to the upcoming wedding and what my fiancé and I had decided on for relocation, since continuing to live separately while married would not work out in the long run. At that point, my mother-in-law interjected, saying that I had decided to shift to Hyderabad because her daughter did not like Bangalore and would have preferred staying in Hyderabad. My parents were taken aback a little as they had heard the opposite from me.
That evening, I received a call from my mother. She gave me the details of what had happened. Upon hearing this, I was aghast and angry at my fiancé. I thought she had needlessly lied to me instead of discussing her apprehensions with me. I immediately called her and told her what I had just heard. I asked her if she did not intend to stay in Bangalore, why did she not tell me about it and lie to me instead?
She started laughing and said not to take her mom seriously. She said that my mother-in-law wanted her to stay in Hyderabad so she, instead, used her daughter's name in the conversation to strengthen the case.
'Do not worry,' she added, 'I am very eager to shift to Bangalore as job prospects are good there.'
Later, after our wedding, I learned that my mother-in-law wanted me to stay in Hyderabad. Both of her children were already working there and she thought that having her daughter and son-in-law also in Hyderabad would aid her son whom, otherwise, would be left alone after her daughter shifted to Bangalore.
At that point, I lost all respect for her. As a matter of principle, I hate people who tell lies to serve their own selfish needs. The thing for her would have been to discuss with my wife and I's consideration to settle in Hyderabad instead of telling lies."
"My story starts with my wedding. During the initial days, my husband and in-laws all were so supportive and so nice to me. I thought I was so fortunate to get such a loving family. Everything was so colorful, so merry.
Two years later, at a check-up, I learned that I was one-month pregnant. This news came as a tsunami of happiness for the family. I was very excited, but I was still going to work. A week later, my husband had to travel for work. Since I was carrying and still going to work, I could not accompany him. Everyone decided that my mother-in-law and sister-in-law would be staying with me.
Everything was going smoothly. I was going to work and, as much as my health would support it, I would also do the household chores. But, suddenly something changed: my behavior, my attitude, everything changed. As I was pregnant, I had unnecessary cravings and mood swings, so I used to act weird. I would go to work and come back tired with swollen feet. Since both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law would usually be in bed by the time I got back from work, I would have dinner alone and just go to sleep. I was seven months pregnant by then.
This kept going on. I tried talking to them, but they would behave as if I was a stranger in my own house. I discussed this with my husband over the phone. Obviously, he was not ready to believe what I had to tell him. He blamed me for not being able to build a smooth relationship with his mother and sister. He thought that they were forced to do all the household work while I just came home eating after roaming in the office. I was extremely hurt and did not know what to. So, I cut all ties with them.
At the last stage of my pregnancy, I was all alone in my own house and living with strangers. I couldn't believe myself how someone could be so rude to someone who was carrying a child. At least my mother-in-law should have understood, being a mother of two.
This was one of several incidents which prevented me from getting close to her. Now, even if wanted to forget things and make our relationship better, I am unable to do so. Everything comes back to me in my memories. We don't fight, but we don't talk either. I do not know when everything will be good, but now, we have accepted this and have made it a part of our lives."
"My sister and I dance competitively and have been since we were 10 and 7 years old. It cost a lot of money, but my parents supported us both because they knew that we absolutely loved it. As I grew older, I knew I only loved two things: dance and theatre. My sister, at 12 years old, knew she wanted to be a veterinarian and have a stable career. I, at 15, only loved the performing arts, but I loved dance the most.
I wasn't exceptional. I knew that from the beginning. I wasn't an amazing dancer, or a fantastic actress. I was just... good. I came into dance later than most people, so I had to work extra hard to catch up, something I struggled with every day. School wasn't fun for me, but I managed to get straight A's in my freshman year of high school. I was very proud of that and so were my parents, who knew I had trouble with school, especially in the math and science department.
I want to preface this by saying that my dad and I had a very close relationship from the day I was born. We spearfished (something we cherished very dearly), hiked in many places, and traveled a lot. I wasn't embarrassed by hanging out with him like many girls my age were embarrassed by doing things with their dads. My sister was really much closer to my mom, so I was my dad's girl. Even though he had outbursts of rage that I couldn't explain as a young girl, I loved him a lot.
Then, in my sophomore year, something happened - my grades started failing. It could have been the combination of my teachers in school not being great, or the fact that my dad (who is very strict about grades) somehow obtained the password to the website with my grades on it. I had also developed some signs of depression and suicidal thoughts that I could never explain to my Russian parents, who didn't believe that anyone with a family and a roof over their head could have any mental problems.
I now had two B's in my first semester, as well as a C in AP World History. My dad wasn't happy, needless to say. I was ashamed of myself for letting my guard down and for not trying hard enough. I promised myself that I would do better and that I would try harder than ever before. I was always an okay student, never the best, but never at the point I was then.
January was theatre month. We had an annual theatre event to go to, a faculty musical, and a showcase to do. My grades started falling again. Three B's and a C in World History. My parents didn't care about history at that point, though, knowing how hard it was and how bad my teacher was at the subject. I had just come home from a dance event on a Thursday night when my dad called me into his office.
He showed me my grades, and I panicked. He yelled at me that I promised to do better, that it was only January, and my grades were falling AGAIN. He asked me where I was that night. I quietly told him that I was at a dance show. He yelled that I should have been at home, studying, not going to so many theatre events when I KNEW my grades were not the best. I should not have taken on so many performing arts nights in combination with my dance classes, he said. I began to tell him that I had not changed anything in my schedule from last year, that it wasn't my fault, and that I had terrible teachers.
But, then, he yelled out, 'YOU KNOW YOU'LL NEVER BE A DANCER, RIGHT?!'
I froze. I couldn't say anything. Tears rolled down my face.
What does this even have to do with my grades?
'RIGHT?' he yelled at me again, eyes filled with a horrific fire that I had never seemed to notice before.
He expects me to answer?
'Yes,' I said quietly. He continued to yell at me for 10 minutes or so. In the end, he forced me to quit theatre for the rest of that year.
I was not mad at him that he yelled at me about my grades. I was not angry at him for making me quit theatre. I was not even mad at him for not listening to me trying to justify the reason for my bad grades. I lost all my respect for him when he told me that something I had loved to do the most was impossible. I was angry at him for making me say, out loud, that my hopes and dreams would never come true.
I had worked so hard. If he was trying to steer me off the track of an unstable career choice because he was worried for me, he could have done it in so many other ways. He could have introduced me to new options and played to my interests. He could have outright said that if I was going to pursue dance, he wouldn't have paid for my college education. That STILL would have been less hurtful than the fact that he outright told me that my dreams were not possible.
I cried to myself for weeks and I gave up on dance for a while. My dad had outbursts before, but even the ones where he threw things around had not compared to this."
"My cousin, whom I saw literally more than anyone in the past six years, bought me drinks twice for my birthday on two different days. One was supposed to be an early birthday present. I didn't even ask him to get it for me, but he paid for it while I was in the bathroom. I was very grateful. Then, he asked me to pay him back a month later, along with one other time when he bought me food.
I told him that I did not have anything in my account, which was true. I was trying to quickly pay off student loans. At this time, he had recently become employed at a much better paying position as well, so this was just ridiculous to me. I didn't even ask him to buy me anything. Even though I thought it was ridiculous, I said that I would get it to him as soon as I had it.
About a week later, he asked my little sister, who he never talks to, to pay him back because he really needed it for his retirement fund. She said, very nicely, that it did not make any sense because it was her money and I had never even talked to her about it. She told him that she would talk to me when she was out of work. He said that he really needed it. He asked her to just quickly send it to him through an app because she's my sister and it would easier for her.
'You're his cousin,' she said to him. He called her a wiseacre.
I reached out to him and told him how she had nothing to do with any of this and that he was being really strange. He responded late and sent me a picture of him and his new girlfriend at a basketball game and told me that was why he was late. He then asked for me and my sister to meet up with him to get a drink.
Like we actually want a drink with him now!
I said that I could not, but asked him to please, at least, just apologize to my little sister. He just told me that we're both being sensitive. I had no response for that.
A few months later, I am guessing that he broke up with that girlfriend. He reached out to a mutual female friend, who is overseas in China, and asked her if she would come to America for a week to have relations with him if he paid for her plane ticket. She thought he was joking, but he continued to go with it and insisted that he really just wanted to make love. She sent screenshots of all of his messages to me. I just could not believe it. Disgusting."
"There is little that would cause me to lose respect for someone faster than an individual showing no respect to others, especially to my wife or myself. That is exactly what happened and it came from someone whom I had previously respected. It seems that respect was misplaced.
In the spring of 2015, I found myself unemployed. My wife also had not been working for a couple of months. Eventually, we found ourselves homeless. We pondered moving to an extended-stay hotel at which we could pay weekly. However, that would likely have been too expensive for us to maintain for more than a couple of months. My sister, aware of our plight, offered to let us stay with her and her husband on a temporary basis until we could figure out a solution.
My brother-in-law is a minister. One of the reasons I had grown to respect him was that he and I did not knock heads regarding religion. I am an atheist and he knows it. While he would ask questions from time to time about it, he never made any attempt to 'convert' me. I took that as a sign of respect and his apparent respect earned my respect. However, I would soon learn that he did not respect me after all.
It began when he came home from work, at his church, and asked me the strangest question.
'Why don't you leave your car running when you're not using it?' he asked.
'What?' I replied.
'Why don't you leave your car running when you're not using it?' he repeated.
'That's a strange question,' I said.
Him: 'Maybe, but why?'
Me: 'Well, for one, I can't afford to burn fuel unnecessarily. For another, why on Earth would I want to leave it running?'
Him: 'So you don't leave it running because it would cost money?'
Me: 'Yeah, I guess so. What's your point?'
Him: 'Why do you leave lights on when you leave a room?'
He was being arrogant, condescending, and disrespectful. How about a simple request, adult to adult, asking that I please try to remember to turn lights off?
Then, there was another incident a couple of days after that, when he came home and said, 'I feel like I've been duped.'
'Duped?' I asked him.
'Yes' he replied. 'I assumed that you would be looking for work while you were staying here, but all I see is you on the computer and on the phone all day. Members of my congregation are telling me there are help wanted signs all over town. There's no reason you couldn't be working right now. I want you out by the end of the month.'
'I have been looking for work. I put applications in every day.'
'There are jobs all over the place and you are, what, looking for a $60-an-hour job?'
Then I was angry. A minimum wage job would do me little good. I was getting more than that in unemployment. Furthermore, being a computer professional, OF COURSE, I was on the computer all day. You don't just go to the nearest grocery store that has a help wanted sign out and apply for a programming position. That's not how it works. I had been customizing my resume for dozens of positions and applying for them. I was putting in a minimum of five applications daily. That time on the phone - 70% of it was phone interviews and another 20% was recruiters. The remainder was largely a combination of seeking new housing, networking, and other activities related to getting out of the hole we had found ourselves in.
In between all of this, there were frequent jabs, snide remarks, and ridiculous complaints. Did my sister tell my brother-in-law to lay off and be respectful? No. She was the dutiful wife, backing him up every step of the way.
Within a few days, I had landed a position. I waited to say anything about it until I got the offer in writing. Then, I told my sister and my brother-in-law that my wife and I needed to talk to them. We all sat down and I laid it out to them.
'I received a job offer,' I revealed.
'That's great!' my sister exclaimed.
I then said, 'I have decided to reject the offer because it's not as much money as I was making before.'
Silence. Shock. Disbelief.
'I'm kidding,' I said, breaking the silence. 'I accepted the offer. We have a place to stay.'
'That's more money than I could ever dream of making,' my sister said, in reference to my new salary.
'That's because both of you think too small.'
Perhaps I should not have said that, but, by that time, I had lost all respect for my brother-in-law and was none too happy with my sister, either, for failing to get him to tone down the condescending attitude. I do not really blame her. After all, he is the man of the house, and that is exactly how they look at it. Then again, I am her brother.
I have forgiven my sister and have actually visited with her a couple of times since this all went down. As far as my brother-in-law, no. He no longer has my respect. He is an imbecile."
"My entire family is religious, Baptist to be exact. My mother is a very opinionated woman and she thinks that she's right almost all of the time. She is very anti-LGBT, as is my entire family, excluding my father, who isn't as bad. I was raised to be like them. I wonder if the thought of their only daughter being pansexual ever crossed their minds.
I had figured out last year that I was pansexual, so I decided to test the waters with my mother on her stance on the LGBT community. I thought that, due to the support online, she would stop being close-minded in this since I had. I was apparently wrong.
I cautiously asked her if she knew what a non-binary person was. She said no. After I asked, she looked up what a non-binary person was and she scoffed. She is very 'only two genders'-minded, apparently. After she looked it up, she told me that I was an idiot for thinking that they existed and that there are only two genders: male and female. That ticked me off and rightfully so, in my opinion.
Of course, I didn't forget what she said. I never forget things like this. But, a few months later, she sent me a picture she found on Facebook with a message that read, 'This reminded me of you.' The picture something along the lines of, 'People who don't support Trump believe that there are more than two genders. Isn't that crazy?'
I was mad. I sent her a screenshot of a list of biological genders in response. She called me a liar. I am still angry. I think the worst part of it is that she knows that it upsets me when she says derogatory stuff like this. I know she does. I wish she could understand that people sometimes have different opinions than other people do. I hate that I don't feel comfortable sharing my thoughts in my own home.
I could be wrong, but I believe she thinks that because I'm 13, I don't know what I'm talking about. I don't understand that, and how could I not? There are many, many people who agree with me, so I'm not alone in this line of thinking.
I am no longer religious and I don't think I'm planning on coming out anytime soon."
"My cousin is the only child of his parents, he came as 'a blessing from Lord almighty' after they'd celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary. They pampered him so much that he grew up like a spoon-fed mama's boy.
He was a failure in the academic field. He never scored high marks and failed many papers in college. He was constantly teased by many of our other cousins and he always lived in a shell which only his mother had access into. He is 14 years older than me, but we used to be very close since I was in the fourth grade. I know him very well. As a person, he is good, soft-spoken and loving and caring. But, he is very much an introvert and has issues socializing.
When he reached 24, his parents started looking for a suitable bride for him since they were getting old and weak. However, their search was extended to seven years and had reached nowhere. The problem was that he had no job as well as his 'mama's boy' image. They wanted a girl with a job and good money. Looks were not an issue because my uncle was more inclined toward money.
After more than seven years, they got a match. The girl, 'Asha,' was from a reputed family and had a very good job as an assistant engineer. She was also dark skinned. Her father was a retired labor commission officer who had many contacts to help my cousin find a job. They became very happy. Soon, they tied the knot.
After their marriage, some issues happened at her workplace. Asha refused to hand over a document because her bosses had not produced the proper authorization letter. Those morons even tried to kill their own employees by setting the office on fire. The authorities granted her leave with salary until they found a solution.
My parents and I saw them at my other cousin's daughter's first communion party. I was close with Asha, so I was talking and spending time with her. My maternal aunt was also present there. She didn't know my cousin's wife because he was from my father's side of the family.
After a while, my aunt called me to a corner and inquired about Asha. I told her that she was my cousin's wife.
'Oh,' she said, nodding as if something became clearer to her. 'I heard he got a big dowry for marrying this Dalit (a lower caste in Indian society), didn't he? What an ugly face she's got.'
I looked at her in shock and replied, 'Aunty, she is dark skinned but not ugly.'
'Look at her,' my aunt replied. 'With those features, she's got this much arrogance. Imagine how arrogant she'd be if she was fair.'
'Is she arrogant?'
'She's the reason why they set fire to that office.'
I lost respect for her in that instant. That lady is fair but her husband is darker than my cousin's wife and her kids are dusky. Still, she calls the other girls ugly because of her dark complexion. My cousin's wife has long dense straight hair, looks equally beautiful to a Bollywood actress and is a very good singer too. When will this society stop judging people based on complexion? When will they judge others by their heart and not by their looks?"
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