Looking for a bridge over troubled water? Krithvi Shyam, our young psychologist, addresses your worst anxieties.

I’m a working professional and there are ten people on my team in office. Only coffee is served in our office during breaks. I am intolerant to coffee and hence cannot have it. There are no shops nearby for me to go and have something from there and I also don’t have the luxury of time to travel a little further. So for the past few months I’ve resorted to bringing some biscuits from home to appease my hunger. The problem is, I am unable to eat these biscuits without sharing it with my colleagues but since there are ten of them on my team, I have to buy atleast three packets everyday which is stretching my budget. How do I deal with this in the most courteous way?

Confused

I’m pretty sure your colleagues would have spared you a fleeting thought (“Why does this girl wander around with three packets of biscuits in her bag all the time?”) at some point, before proceeding to chomp their way through your salary. Limit yourself to taking a couple biscuits only, or a small bowl of sliced fruit. Perfunctorily offer the food around during the break, and if your colleagues are Decent Human Beings and not Disney Villains, they won’t expect you to share two biscuits among ten people. It’ll be awkward at first, because you’ve trained them to expect tea-kadai level of snack provisions from you, but if the topic comes up, just smile and say the expense was eating through your wallet, and that it would be great if everyone (including you) could contribute a small amount towards the group’s snack funds that could be used over the month. As for the bit about intolerance to coffee, maybe you could switch to teas that taste good are milk-free and require just hot water, like oolong, earl grey or chamomile. Carry it in a flask with you, or keep a few sachets in office.

I am studying in Std XI and my dream is to become a journalist or a photojournalist but my parents want me to do medicine. I’m not interested in medicine and I have told them about this many times. But they insist that journalism is not suitable for our family. I want to know how to convince them that photo journalism is suitable for girls.

Aspiring student

If you’re not interested in medicine, explain to your parents that sending you to medical school is an extremely expensive investment to make in your future, and an investment that is likely to leave you with regrets. Do your research on journalism, preferably by speaking to journalists too – what degrees do you have to earn? Where do you have to intern/look for jobs? What would your salary and opportunities for growth look like? Your parents are probably apprehensive about the field since it is a hitherto unchartered territory in the family. By giving them more information on it, and explaining its advantages over medicine (eg., not having to study for a hundred years, earning a salary pretty early on etc.) you may be able to convince them.