Should you adjust or compromise?

Life is dynamic with changes happening continuously. Unfortunately, no one likes changes. We may make peace with it, react to it with displeasure or cope with it to the best of our abilities. But it always leaves us feeling unsure, perhaps bitter or dissatisfied with an emptiness within of having lost a way of life.

Most relationships allow for two people to entwine their lives with each other while creating a space for themselves within that twosome. This process is facilitated by either adjustment or compromise. The words are used interchangeably and are considered to be the gospel truth (read advice) that most elders pass on.

Adjustment is the adaptation to a particular condition, position, or purpose while compromise is a settlement of differences by mutual concessions and reciprocal modification of demands.

Depending on one’s state of mind, listed below are a few everyday things that might call for an adjustment or compromise. In some instances, the differences aren’t given due importance because it is believed that they’re inconsequential no matter how much they annoy you. But for others they’re game changers leading to a break-up.

New set of parents – from having one set of parents (and your baggage of issues with them), suddenly you inherit another pair. Often your feelings get transferred or you may develop newer issues! Alternatively, if you’re making an effort to be extra nice, your parents might feel offended that you’re paying them more attention. Simultaneously, blinkered thinking like ‘my parents can do no wrong or they truly want what is good for us,’ can also lead to friction.

New House and a new way of living – in most Indian families it is still expected that after marriage, the girl will live with her in-laws. Being the newest member it is commonly believed that she should adjust and compromise. What isn’t acknowledged is that the other family members also find themselves suddenly having to accommodate a new person they may know nothing about. Thus, an instinctual survival mechanism kicks into gear for everyone. The girl believing that this is her new home (the operative word being ‘home’) tries to recreate her parental home while the others try to instil in her the unsaid rules and regulations of their lives. Clashes begin when there is a discrepancy between the two and each tries to manipulate the other into living their way.

Food – the most essential requirement for living and living well. Interestingly, both partners claim that their mother’s cooking is the best. No matter how well you cook, you can never measure up! Potentially the number one reason for discontentment, is it stupidity to even try? It often starts here and gradually moves on to feelings of intrusion in other areas. So, what whets your appetite? Fish head cooked with lentils, spicy food, experimenting with different kinds of meat, eating nearly raw food, too much sugar or bland food, ‘healthy’ eating. Are you irritated with coffee brewed incorrectly, whole garam masala in your food, inconsistency in the thickness of dal, tea not strong enough, or frying onions and potatoes together not separately? Life of course, gets even more interesting in a regional marriage!

Sleeping habitsThe early bird catches the worm or early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise, may ring true for some people but not if you’re a night owl. Do you prefer to sleep hugging a pillow or on your stomach or tend to rotate or slide down the bed? Do you kick in your sleep or dream aloud or simply snore? Is your partner constantly reminding you of how much sleep you require? Do you like to read or surf the net or watch TV before going to bed?

After sex rituals are as stressful as the inability to reach orgasm or making love in certain positions. Do you rush to clean up immediately after? Do you light up a smoke? Do you turn around and start snoring? Does the sex act make you feel alive and awake, so you go watch more TV or read? Do you put a pillow between yourself and your partner after you’re done? Lying spent would you rather sleep in the buff or wear your clothes? Do you like to be hugged and fall asleep in your partner’s arms or would you rather sleep comfortably by yourself?

Bathroom habits – Do you like a clean and dry bathroom before every use? Do you finish reading the paper (physically or online) or play a mind game (perhaps Sudoku) while at it? Do you screw back the toothpaste top after use? Do you mess the entire basin area or mirror splashing water? Do you keep the shampoo and conditioner name facing front after use? Do you always forget to switch off the geyser or your towel before a bath? Do you suffer from constipation or irritable bowel syndrome or anything else ensuring that you’re always in the bathroom? Where do you hang the wet towel?

Shopping evokes different feelings. One might go shopping armed with a checklist while the other loves window shopping or buying whatever fancies them. Do you shop to relax and unwind? Do you love mindless walks through malls? Do you enjoy checking out newest gadgets as soon as they’re launched? Do you shop at full price or during sale season?

Your sense of style can vastly effect your interpersonal relationship. Do you dress for comfort, to be presentable or follow fashion religiously? How often do you groom yourself? Is your wardrobe styled to cater to different occasions or do you look the same wherever you go, no matter the occasion? Does your shoe and belt always match? Do you love bright floral prints while your partner likes subdued colours?

Entertaining patterns can be a bone of contention. Do you entertain regularly or only on weekends? Do you always entertain at home leaving you responsible for cleaning up? Or does your partner prefer the newest eateries in town? How often do you catch up with mutual friends, or office colleagues or family? Does it irk you to constantly spend time and money entertaining the same people?

Choice of relaxation – differs between partners. What’s your ideal holiday? Are you an indoor or outdoor person? Do you like adventurous sports or relaxing on a beach? Do you like a scheduled itinerary when travelling? Closer to home, do you like to laze with a book on weekends or catch up on the latest release? Does it bother your partner that you’re most happy ‘doing nothing?!’ Must you meet up with family and friends together or do you like to do your own thing?

Money matters and your attitude towards it impacts your financial health. The belief that your money is my money and my money is my money can be equally problematic as your money is your money, my money is my money. Some couples agree to mutually break up home and living expenses while some crib that they contribute more than the other. Money gives a sense of power, position, control and stability. Couples can hold differing opinions about how money is earned, what its spent on, the concept of saving and what it offers.

Religious rituals – Each family has its own way of praying, celebrating or making an offering. How tolerant are you of your partner’s religion? Do you have an altar or prayer room at home? Do you take a bath before praying? How often do you visit your place of worship?

A life of togetherness can be lots of fun when you see eye to eye on these matters or else, it becomes a constant battle. Sometimes humour helps dispel these differences. Instead of compromising or adjusting you may simply want your partner to stop or change the annoying behaviour.

The irony is that however you choose to handle the above or react to the problems arising from them determines the longevity and health of your relationship.


The Homemaker


Growing up years I mostly interacted with women who were employed and financially independent. This was my parents’ social network and of course I also wanted to be someone who attended office every day, did ‘important’ things, attended off sites, office parties, had colleagues and friends of both sexes, had a ‘life’ outside of home and made money. Many of these women worked long hours in offices and then returned home to care for their families. Some did their own cooking, took care of the children while others had help and support from in-laws or domestic servants. I saw how they managed their time and efforts to manage their personal and professional lives with ease. So I knew that it was possible to be married, a successful professional, be happy and live a fulfilling life.

Like my mother I was a firm believer in women’s rights and my ideology was framed by Ashapoorna Devi’s notable trilogy (in Bengali) Prothom Protisruti, Subarnalata and Bakul Katha. As an introverted little girl I loved to play by myself the role of a housewife with long hair, wearing a sari the Bengali way with sindoor (vermilion) and shakha pola (conch shell and red wax/lac bangle), with the safe keys hanging on my waist, cooking and looking after everyone at home. I would be educated and so would spend my afternoons reading novels and magazines, painting, having engaging conversations with learned men and women. I would have a mind of my own, someone who commanded respect by virtue of the kind of person I was. Everyone would love me and I would be a happy and contended. Guess I visualised myself like many of Rabindranath Tagore’s heroines. Therefore I knew that I could be married, a housewife, be happy and live a fulfilling life.

Growing up as I had very little interaction with women who were solely housewives, perhaps I missed some of the intricacies involved in their reality. Interestingly, after my marriage I came in contact with many within the immediate and extended family from my husband’s side who were. By then I had already been working for 6 years. I didn’t need to do any housework since my mother and sister (till she got married) took care of the house. I didn’t understand the nuances and so my initial gut response was that I was different from these women and we would never understand each other. I wouldn’t be able to converse with them discussing my work, the pressures of meeting deadlines, dealing with office politics and being accountable for timely delivery of projects. Nor could I understand how they spent their time at home with nothing else to do!

housewifeHad I become prejudiced? Yes! Somewhere I had lost the plot. I felt that only women who worked outside did equal amount of work at home too. When you’re a housewife then you couldn’t possibly do that much work since you only had to deal with the housework and that too had the entire day to do it!  Yet being a firm believer in women’s rights I was also a strong supporter of women who choose to stay at home. The operative word of course was ‘choose’ – I didn’t understand the concept why someone couldn’t exercise the option to work outside or someone who had the opportunity to work outside wouldn’t want to.

The immediate repercussion of this was a mismatch of expectations – mine vs. my in-laws! Although my in-laws were never against me having a career, they expected that I would also play the role of the dutiful daughter-in-law – i.e., take care of the house and family, participate in domestic chores, be active during pujas and festivals. I had a problem with that since I hadn’t played that role before. Also, I earned enough money and so couldn’t understand why we couldn’t get hired help to take away some of the pressure. Why did we have to do it all? Although I did try, there were times I didn’t want to since I was tired after a long day’s work and just wanted to put my feet up and relax. No one had pulled me up for this at my parent’s home and I couldn’t imagine anyone taking offence at this behaviour at my in-laws!

Similarly, although my husband and some of his contemporaries within the family had wives who worked outside most of their impressions of a wife was someone who could play both roles with relative ease and élan. They had grown up seeing their mothers – the first women in their lives. She was always present efficiently taking care of their everyday needs. Then came their interaction with women in the professional space – girlfriends, colleagues, persons of authority – all strong, efficient women who knew their minds, earned as much money and to an extent were their equals.

To begin with, there is nothing wrong with this assumption. Like me, he too must have felt that I can manage both. When I wanted to relax he didn’t think there was anything wrong because that was what he did when he was tired – put his feet up and relax. When he saw the shift in dynamics with my in-laws he felt that I should try harder, be more accommodating and travel less on work. And so began a certain rift because I felt that he didn’t understand me or respect my work enough.

After we moved out of his parental home to another city, the onus of managing the house fell on me. But this time, the advantage was that as we were creating our ‘own home’ for the first time we both got equally involved with the chores. We hired help to lend support and that also gave us the opportunity to spend quality time with each other, put our feet up and relax! 10 years after our marriage when my daughter was born I choose to become a stay at home mom to take care of her.

Today I’m a homemaker and prefer that designation rather than housewife. Understanding the origin of the word homemaker helps to explain why I find it more acceptable. The word homemaker of North American origin denotes those, particularly women, who had to leave their paid jobs and take care of their families. I manage the home, take care of my daughter and also work as a freelancer. I have help so do get time to do my own thing. Therefore I feel that the term is a lot more inclusive and being gender neutral it feels right.

A recent article in Youth ki Awaaz reminded me that even though I had done much play-acting in childhood, I would have never said housewife if questioned about my future plans. Yet today I have experienced being both a professional and a homemaker – each are equally demanding jobs and require an attitude and mind-set change to be effective. Neither is easy. If anyone comments now how I don’t have to wake up early in the morning to rush to work, I want to scream. They don’t see that my daughter wakes up intermittently at night which means I don’t get a full night’s rest. Taking care of her is a 24×7 job and there are no weekends! I’ve had to make some adjustments, compromises, re-assertion of viewpoints, let go of certain personal needs, changed my outlook to fit my role. From being DINKS to a single earning member with child, my husband too has had his own share of adjustments and compromises.

We’re still struggling to learn, un-learn and re-learn but yes we’re happy!

Moving Out

Are Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek moving out of the Bachchan residence?

Recently read this article about possible friction between Aishwarya Rai and her mother-in-law and felt compelled to write about it as it brought back memories.

news agency highlighted “…for 6 years now after their marriage, they have been part of a traditional Indian joint family. As Mr and Mrs Bachchan Junior, they have lived with Abhishek’s parents Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, celebrating Diwali, Karva Chauth and birthdays together.”

In yet another, Abhishek Bachchan is seen denying this as a rumour. I’m not here to question their decision or to pass moral judgement – but it’s interesting to note that pretences continues to be a part and parcel of almost every other Indian marriage! Whatever the truth why does one feel compelled to deny, perhaps a simple truth? Why is moving out frowned upon so much? Why isn’t it acceptable that a couple for whatever reason may want to live on their own?

In most instances, even today moving into the family home is tradition, a natural progression for newly wedded couples. Sometimes I feel that it is the fortunate few who skip this step if they happen to live in different cities. Just hope someday this becomes a choice that is openly welcome. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the norm since there are families who adapt well, find enormous emotional and infrastructural support during emergencies and crisis and live together in harmony while there are others who are compelled to stay together because of business, financial or personal reasons.

Marriage is a new phase, a new beginning for every couple including those having a love marriage. When I married it was assumed that we would be living with my in-laws. It was a natural turn of events and at that point in time there was no need or reason to exercise the choice to live separately. I knew and accepted that the onus to adjust, compromise and integrate into this new way of living had to be mine as I was marrying into the family. It was a complete change for me – new home, new set of parents and family, new lifestyle, different customs and eating habits while for everyone else nothing drastically changed in their lives or lifestyle except an additional new person joining them.

I had known my husband for 7 years before our marriage, yet; even then it was a life changing experience for us learning to live with one another. Today, after being together for almost 19 years I can openly say that had we continued to live with my in-laws we would have definitely parted ways. And in case we hadn’t I’m certain that we would have become two very bitter people. It was a challenge learning to live together as a couple but even more challenging was learning to live with the in-laws!

Like the Bachchans, living in a traditional Indian family, we too celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, puja together. The problem occurred when it was assumed that we would want to celebrate them with the same set of invitees, the same way, and every year! There was no option to do it any other way. I know for a fact that to my in-laws it was simply tradition to do it their way; it never stuck them that we could perhaps want something different. But on my part, it felt like an obligation. Why do people automatically make a judgement call if a couple want to do their own thing during such occasions? Specifically citing that for six years the Bachchans celebrated together, did they want to insinuate that in future if they lived separately they wouldn’t want to do so? In my case, I would have happily invited the same invitees like my in-laws but perhaps have been happier to be given the ‘choice’ to do so!

Expectations to conform was too pressurizing for me to cope. Like many newly wedded couple, I wanted my ‘space’ – both physical and emotional. I wanted to feel free to lead a lifestyle that I was not only accustomed to but also one which I wanted to explore and experiment with my husband. But my marital home belonged to my mother-in-law. She had practically spent a lifetime making it her own after her mother-in-law passed away so there was no way she wanted any changes when I came in.  I did enjoy freedom from domestic chores and kitchen politics as I didn’t have to do any of that but still didn’t want to conform to my mother-in-law’s lifestyle.  I wanted to have my own. Seemingly I was always allowed to do as I pleased but the subtlety with which displeasure was shown was very skilful. I was frustrated and angry, sometimes gave in, coped, fought, struggled and then just gave up on being able to live in peace with my sanity intact.

Moving out was the only choice I had but one which was totally unheard of in my marital home – it was not only unacceptable but morally wrong to even think about it. Although I had entertained the thought at length it just wasn’t a viable option for us till my husband was offered a job out of town. It was a way out – an ‘acceptable’ way out of a difficult situation. Even then, it was frowned upon for a long time. People assumed the worst that I had broken up the family and taken their son away. No one even for a moment openly accepted or acknowledged that perhaps for professional reasons this was a wise decision.

Of course I must add here that the couple should be in unison when wanting to move out or else the blame game can get ugly at a later stage. I bore the burden of breaking up the family for some time till I forced myself to stop thinking about it. I refused to hurt anymore. It was a difficult phase but today we’re happy. Simultaneously my husband has always been well aware of his responsibilities and duties as a son. Distance has made no dent there. He’s never shied away from that and I’m proud to say that I have never been a spoke in the wheel when he’s wanted to reach out to them. I behaved that way not only because I loved him and wanted him to be happy but they were an important part of his life and I had no right to question his commitment to them. Even on occasions when my opinions differed or I’ve been uncomfortable with his decisions – I’ve told him how I felt and we’ve discussed at length but in the end I respected the fact that it is his family he is caring for.  It wasn’t my way to prove my in-laws wrong or show them how big-hearted I was, to me it felt natural. I believed that we might not live together but we were still part of the family.

controlThat to me is the true essence of family life. A sense of togetherness, as a family is crucial as it has wider long term impact on everyone’s life.  A successful marriage needs a nurturing environment. It also needs patience and tact to deal with different personalities under the same roof. If one feels differently and is unable to negotiate this minefield of complications then instead of creating a scene, being bitter and back-biting, its best to come to a truce and maintain separate homes.

I strongly feel that the issues which majorly gnawed at me when I lived with my in-laws seem minuscule non-issues now. Living separately has brought a healthy distance between us. This in turn has also allowed us to assert our own individuality. Today when we get together sometimes I’m happy to do their bidding since I know that it’s temporary – we will soon be going our own ways. Simultaneously I’m open about my opinions if I don’t like something and having lived separately for some years now they have come to accept it.

While writing this post I received an email from a friend who too was in the same situation years ago. He writes (I quote), ‘…read your posts, somehow, I find a lot of similarities my wife faced with her in-laws. We did manage to get out of the morass by me securing a scholarship to study abroad. We too were on the brink of breakup, but survived and prospered by our flight, just like you. Will complete 45 years of bliss together next year’.

Moving out doesn’t mean something is wrong with the family. It doesn’t mean one has failed to do their duties or is being disrespectful. Nor does it mean that they are bad people. Moving out is definitely NOT the end!

My friend’s email is an affirmation that moving out is sometimes the best option and does work wonders.

The First Lady – Part II

Since I’ve received so many shares, likes and feedback to the post The First Lady, I thought I should add a sequel to it.

As I’d highlighted every “mother-in-law – daughter-in-law” unit is different and each have their own ways to deal with their situation. I’d like to share some experiences that my close friends have had with their mother-in-laws (MIL). The intention here is not to question if they’re right or wrong – it’s simply to say that they dealt with their situations to the best of their abilities, judgement and the only way they knew how – that’s exactly how it should be. You experiment to find if it works or not. You assume and you might be right but in most cases you’ll be wrong, much like my first experience with my MIL.

Immediately after the wedding, having moved in with my in-laws, I had assumed that this was now my new home and went about re-decorating the house.  I wasn’t wrong to assume that – it was in fact my new home but what I’d failed to understand is that the initial few days was a testing time for everyone. Everyone at home including my MIL was trying to figure out how I was as a person, how they should react to me, how would I adapt to their life and way of living, how much leeway should they give me knowing that I had come from a nuclear family, with a different religious background. I should have ideally given it a bit more time like my friend’s wife did.

They were married in 2007 and since our families were close I’d visited them quite often. Mashi (my friend’s mom) kept the house a certain way – I didn’t like it but it was home to them. I always found it unkempt – even with things in their place, it felt as if something was missing. Even when the house was painted and decorated for the wedding nothing changed. This year in August when I visited them I was pleasantly surprised. My friend’s wife had drastically changed the entire look of the house! She sold some old furniture, bought new ones, and re-arranged the set-up making the house look amazing. After years it looked fresh and inviting. I loved it and I was reminded of my folly. She had taken years to develop a great rapport with her MIL, slowly taking care of her needs and everyone else’s in the family. It wasn’t something she did because she felt she had to, like it was her duty – but she did it because that’s the kind of person she is – someone who loves to include everyone and live for others. Today her MIL is totally dependent on her and was full of praises about how she had transformed the house.

Yes, she too had assumed that this was her home now but she was prudent enough to understand no one likes changes – the best changes are those that happen over time, so slowly that you accept them as natural outcomes.

Another friend who lives independently with her husband and children doesn’t get along with her MIL but in times of need (whatever it might be), they are dependent on her even more than their son! She regularly calls them, is aware of all their troubles, always accompanies them for check-ups and hospital visits – she’s also taught them how to use Facebook! Is she more tolerant or is that just a role she plays? I know her as someone who derives her strength and reason to live by stretching herself for others – she can mend a situation without thinking about herself. Does that make her well-adjusted or a martyr? Whatever it might be the open lines of communication between her in-laws and herself makes all the difference in their relationship.

Another friend lives with her MIL – she’s a homemaker and between the two of them, they take care of the two children. I always felt that they were the ideal “mother-in-law – daughter-in-law” duo till one evening she opened up about the issues she was facing with her MIL. I was taken aback more so because when you saw them in public and even when we visited them at home, you could never sense any tension between them. Nor did their interactions seem put-on. They were genuinely nice and civil to one another. That opened up another interesting aspect – whatever their worries and issues it didn’t concern anyone else but them!

MILs are generally made out to be she-devils but more often than not they’re simply women who too are trying to deal with their situation the only way they know how! Suddenly there is a new addition to the family – someone younger, with a stronger hold on her son and a mind of her own. As an open minded new-age MIL she has to be more accepting and cover up her own insecurities about her changing world. Similarly the daughter-in-law too sees a senior and stronger experienced woman within an established set-up. She’s as insecure about this life changing experience – will she be able to befriend her MIL, will she be accepted, will she fit in?

At times like this ideally one should be calm, believing in themselves and their abilities, no point in repeating the pattern of how they (either the MIL or daughter-in-law’s mother) as young brides were treated – unfortunately that’s not how things work. On either side, there is always a long line of well-meaning friends and family waiting to support, guide or stoke these insecurities! As Shobhaa De in her book Spouse: The Truth About Marriage reaffirms when co-existence is inevitable it helps to mark out the territories, define and share domestic duties, treat each other with respect, giving one another time to get used to the family and way of life. Although dealing with the one common factor in between – the son / husband does lead to some natural emotional outbursts – possessiveness, jealousy and competition – unnecessary power games help no one.

My friend’s wife who is loved and accepted by her MIL, is openly praised by her for changing the way the house looks – even today elicits moments of unhappiness for her MIL. Her MIL feels upset when she sees her son return home to first talk to his wife before her. As his mother she sometimes feels like he doesn’t love her or need her as much. Yet she is unable to take it out on her daughter-in-law who genuinely is a nice person. Now that’s one crazy situation to be in!

Being senior and more experienced, it is the MIL’s responsibility to make the first move. She should remind herself constantly that her daughter-in-law is entering a new zone and needs support, reassurance. After all her reactions and behaviour can establish her expectations from her daughter-in-law and reaffirm how she would want her household to run. Similarly the daughter-in-law too should rethink her own attitude. No matter how independent or ‘advanced’ she might be – she must accept and acknowledge her MIL’s position in the family.

The best way therefore to broker acceptance and peace in the family is to define expectations, be open about feelings, adapt to the rules of the family and wherever possible meet each other halfway.

Family vs Family

Now, that was the heading of an article by Vijay Nagaswami. It reminded me of the many conversations with my husband, especially when we’re in the mood to either have a good laugh or hurt each other.

What is it about the ‘family’ that makes these conversations difficult? We’re either overprotective or hypercritical – each trying to outdo the other.

When we were married, we realised that we were mere pawns – incidental to the marriage ceremony. It was our families that were playing the major roles and in no uncertain terms, we were told to keep away. So we both learnt the ‘art of silence.’

I lived with my in-laws for about 2 years before we moved out. My husband got a job in another city and I joined him, gladly. Sometimes I feel if we hadn’t perhaps we wouldn’t still be married! Interference was an understatement. We were not considered a couple who could spend time on their own or do our own thing. Everything had to include the family. Sometimes it felt good while at other times it was a challenge. Why did it seem like we were going against my in-law’s wishes when we wanted to do something on our own? Even if we decided on the spur of the moment to have dinner outside, I was made to feel guilty for having not informed my mother-in-law in advance. She wouldn’t have cooked for us. I was bluntly reminded that “it was a waste of her time.”

I remember the birthday and anniversary celebrations when the same set of people got invited – it was never about our friends or going out to celebrate ourselves, perhaps over the quintessential ‘candlelit dinner!’ It had to be celebrated at home with a home-cooked meal – which ultimately felt like an obligation.

Similarly, my parents too had their own set of expectations from us. In fact, most often, their expectations were in competition with my in-laws! So on most occasions, it was a balancing act for us – sometimes we gave in while at other times the pressure was on me to balance with my husband, his family and mine!!!

Even though we had a ‘love’ marriage, we actually ‘re-discovered’ each other when we began living on our own in a different city – it meant being away from both families. The only connection was a phone call every now and then. It didn’t matter much then because we exercised selective information sharing – what they didn’t know didn’t affect us.

Dr Nagasawami was absolutely right to suggest that ‘the resolution of the ‘family vs family’ conflict can only begin when the couple starts to think in terms of ‘We and Our Families’’. He says, “…couples should define their mutually comfortable marriage space and establish boundaries between this and the family space, thereby making the marriage space sacrosanct, inviolate and inaccessible to anybody other than both the partners.”

As a couple, we realised just how much happier we were, away from all the family drama. Family in small doses helps to build a stronger bond. But did this mean we were completely exempt from their influence? Far from it! Every phone call brought back memories and with it the feeling that we had so desperately run away from.

Yet, those earlier experiences gave us enough ammunition for future reference. We continue to use them liberally. Sometimes we laugh at each other’s expense while at other times it is a way to create maximum hurt.

The struggle still continues :-p