Oh, those forms of address! 21/02/2011

I am amused  when I am addressed  by my first name  by people  half my age, irrespective of their gender. But I must confess it makes me feel happy and younger than what I am. I t also   amuses  me when people especially ladies nearer my age address me as aunty. Perhaps I look much older than what I am  or  ‘they’ derive a vicarious pleasure in doing so! Some women  of my generation  address me as Madam or maam  when they  could just call me mrs.rao if they prefer the formal  way of address. My husband’s  colleagues and friends  irrespective of their age also  address me as Madam or maam  and very few call me or refer to me as  mrs.rao.

Again  Sir/Saar  has come to stay as a suffix  to their name  when men of eminence/ seniors  in age or status are addressed or referred, it is a  form of respect.   Hitherto the practice was to have a   prefix  —   Shri  so and so. But that has given place to the suffix, I am yet to understand why.

While on this  topic I am reminded of an amusing experience with an American lady, who had come to Chennai to conduct a session on  Achieving Excellence. I had interviewed her for a women’s magazine and sent her a copy in which the write up  had appeared. She promptly wrote me a letter thanking me profusely and complimenting on my ability to put things in the proper perspective. What amused me was the way she had addressed  me: dearest  raghavendra and  signed it with her name accompanied by   a   heart  icon.

Again it amuses me   when I introduce myself as  mrs. so and so, prompt comes the query  as  what  ‘he’ is  doing? For a second  I  would look blank but  now I got used to ‘who’   the ‘he’ in their query means.

n.meera raghavendra rao



2 thoughts on “Oh, those forms of address! 21/02/2011

  1. V Raghavan

    Amusing write-up. The American lady might have had a genuine confusion about the first names involved. Or, she might have had a “crush'” on “he”! The second possibility cannot be ruled out, especially with the heart icon at the end!!

  2. You are right about the first part of your comment. The second possibility doesn’t arise as Kathy Alls ,the motivational speaker didn’t have an occasion to meet the ‘he’

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