lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Friday, April 07, 2006

You can call me madam, young man! Part II

The more I muse about manners and addressing people, the more befuddled I get; along with picking up a truck-load of observations.

None of my female friends, whatever their age, have a problem calling me by my name. Whether it is the banker girl or the Wonder Girl whose only problem seems to be her obsession with Harry Potter, whether it is another retired poet or a young man seeking to change his gender; they all address me by my name and they don't seem to have gone through agonising protocol/etiquette rationale to arrive there.

My young friend, that brilliant kid, shocks her granny every time we talk. 'She is an older person; don't address her by name. Don't be so argumentative'. I hear the background outrage each time when she says 'Lalita' and talks to me, arguing about things we have in common.

Personally, I'd rather be Lalita to somebody who chats with me, picks my brains, nags at me, keeps me abreast of news in Harry Potter Land, and more, than be 'Auntie', or Missus Em to somebody who can't string two sentences together without the aid of Wren & Martin or somebody who is polite and politically correct and totally devoid of opinions.

But there are emerging trends, folks.

Girls use my name, and so do most friends from overseas. Friends in the northern part of the subcontinent have no problem using my name and being familiar. It is the young men from South India who befriended me who have trouble with overcoming their upbringing and conditioning enough to address me by name.

Oh, they are raucous in dissent and trenchant in their opinions, they are contemptuous in their judgments and scornful at my typing speed and obsession about avoiding typos ; but they can't bring themselves to address me in the familiar 'you' which is a distinctly different thing from a formal 'thou'.

In a spirit of enquiry, I asked some of them why.

Respect towards elders that seems to have been bred in the bones. That is why.

They have called me an utter romantic fool, a clue-less misfit; they can and do make disparaging remarks and they ask if I carry a certificate to be included into the species homo sapiens. They call me names, but they won't address me by name.

Go figure. :D



Blogger Rimi said...

How are you with Lali? Being an Obsessive Shortener of Names, that is my first reaction to Lalita :-)

And oh dear, how contrary people insist on being. Have you read my latest on names, by the way? (Yes, I advertise myself. Sooo?)

12:55 am  

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