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