1. Have an Interesting Snippet to Share : Click Here
    Dismiss Notice

Aap Kya Bole, Ji?

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by satchitananda, Dec 10, 2021.

  1. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    17,734
    Likes Received:
    25,673
    Trophy Points:
    590
    Gender:
    Female
    Corona is doing strange things to me and my life. Two years of isolation gave me a sense of tremendous liberation including the determination to stop contributing to the coffers of L’Oreal! I can’t tell you how gleeful I felt about this decision. I could now divert that sum towards better purposes. However, other consequences of this decision are rather discomfiting!
    In this part of the world, it is common place for young vegetable vendors to address a person even in her 20’s or 30’s as ‘aunty’. Imagine the shock when I was first addressed that way! From being treated like the dimwit infant of the family to ‘aunty’. I came home and started counting the grey strands in my head. There had been a time when I treasured every single grey on my head in the hope that it would fetch me some ‘respect’! But ‘Aunty’ in my mid 30’s was still a shock. Which brings me to the definition of that word ‘respect’.
    Long, long ago, I remember an occasion when an elder who wanted to bless me, demanded that I prostrate to him in order to ‘earn’ those blessings. (Thought in my head at that time: Preconditions for blessings? Do I need such blessings?) Much as I did not feel great respect for a person who demanded from a younger person that (s)he touch his feet, I complied. Not that I had a great option without creating a scene. So surely, prostrating to someone does not imply respect.
    There are people whom one feel like prostrating to – they are truly inspirational and have achieved something tremendous beyond the mundane achievement of having lived ‘x’ number of years on earth and ‘y’ number of years more than oneself. That, however, should be left to the judgment of each individual.
    Yet another sign of ‘respect’ is the ‘ji’ which seems to be universally and often mindlessly added to names these days. It especially brings to mind political and Bollywood circles and has an air of not deference but excessive servility. But that is my personal opinion.
    Corona and the resulting refusal to fatten L’Oreal’s coffers has led to undesirable if not totally unexpected consequences. Of late there are many young people who address me as ‘aap’ or ‘ji’. It feels really strange, to say the least. Do I not appreciate ‘respect’? I certainly do, provided it is genuine. I do not wish anyone to touch my feet – it makes me very uncomfortable, in fact I hate it. I would much rather a hug or a hand shake or even a plain Namaste, which seems more egalitarian. I would much prefer love to come my way along with that respect, a feeling of approachability and affection. But it is also difficult to tell someone, especially a stranger, not to ‘ji’ me, for fear that it would be mistaken for vanity!!! Maybe their conditioning makes them uncomfortable if they don’t! Cultural habits are extremely deep rooted. How do I address an elderly stranger? It would certainly feel audacious to address a person just by first name - unless the person explicitly wishes to be addressed that way. Mr/Ms XYZ sounds very alien and formal.
    So the easiest way forward is acceptance – just grin and get used to it. We never choose in life do we? Neither as youngsters, nor when we grow older. The existential problems of life, I tell you!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2021
    Rihana, Viswamitra, Laks09 and 5 others like this.
    Loading...

  2. Metamorphic

    Metamorphic Platinum IL'ite

    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    1,020
    Trophy Points:
    248
    Gender:
    Female
    Satchi, as usual, loved your writing.

    Loved the way you presented the most inevitable unpleasant milestone of life - "being called aunty"

    I had a similar experience when a PG student addressed me aunty in my mid-thirties. Until then I was only used to being called "aunty" by the friends of my son. But a PG girl... ? I was pretty shocked.

    But unlike you, I came home and started to count the hairs I missed to dye ..:smile::smile: because with me, my grey hair was never in line with my age.

    Not to 'ji' me?? :smiley::smiley::smiley:

    yes, acceptance is the key ... it liberates!
     
    satchitananda likes this.
  3. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    17,734
    Likes Received:
    25,673
    Trophy Points:
    590
    Gender:
    Female
    Hey Metamorphic, lovely to see your response here. I don't even mind 'aunty' any more, but it is the 'ji' that disturbs me a lot!!!
     
  4. iyerviji

    iyerviji IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    34,225
    Likes Received:
    28,005
    Trophy Points:
    640
    Gender:
    Female
    Awesome post. I dont like anyone calling me madam but aunty or mami ok. When unknown people call madam no problem but when known people call whom we get in touch with fb I tell them to call mami or aunty.

    But now I have become mother figure to.everyone. Usually some dont like to call ma to others as they like only their mother to be called na. As you know most of the friends in.IL call me Vijima which.gives a close feeling
     
  5. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    17,734
    Likes Received:
    25,673
    Trophy Points:
    590
    Gender:
    Female
    Thanks a lot for the feedback, Vijima. I guess since I have been the younger / youngest in most of my social circles, it is a strange feeling to be referred to as "ji". "Aunty" I am sort of getting used to. I guess these are changing phases of life and do taking some mental resetting! :-D
     
  6. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

    Messages:
    2,032
    Likes Received:
    2,273
    Trophy Points:
    283
    Gender:
    Male
    On a lighter side, if you do not mind. your profile name
    "satchitananda". sounds male and most of the time I am confused about how to address you but then I know you are a female, as is seen in the profile. It is another matter of who is who as no one shows the real face.
    Having said that, it is normal in Northern India to be addressed with Ji after the name as a mark of respect and age. Same with aap.
    It is sort of a joke, if young girls in the locality address me as 'uncle' that is a sure indication that I am growing old.
     
    satchitananda likes this.
  7. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    17,734
    Likes Received:
    25,673
    Trophy Points:
    590
    Gender:
    Female
    Yes indeed, there have been many light moments on this forum when I first joined with a lot of speculation about who this character could be. But the reason why I chose that name is that 'satchitananda' is what all of us are - the Atma swaroop. :) But sadly only men seem to be attributed with that name!!! :-(

    My cousin used to get extremely upset when the neighbour's kids called him uncle and it was hilarious to see his reaction. While I don't find 'aap' so difficult to get used to, the 'ji' seems extremely formal, not to mention how everyone these days is referred to fawningly as 'ji' by everyone - from cads to film stars to politicians irrespective of their age or stature.
     
  8. Amica

    Amica IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    3,037
    Likes Received:
    8,378
    Trophy Points:
    460
    Gender:
    Female
    Satchi, it's nice to read from you again.

    Your snippet reminded me of the first time some kid called me Aunty. It made teenaged me grin from ear to ear. Now I'm used to various honorifics and gladly answer to them all. But I draw the line at having my feet touched. And I get weirded out when random people call me Beti.

    Thankfully, the last time I went grocery shopping back home, the veggie vendors were still addressing me as Tai. Way better than Maushi, no? :eek:
    .
     
    satchitananda likes this.
  9. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

    Messages:
    17,734
    Likes Received:
    25,673
    Trophy Points:
    590
    Gender:
    Female
    Hey Amica, thanks a lot. Really glad to see your response. The first time I was called "Chitti" was when I was 14 and I found it hell awkward, though over the years that title has become really precious. Of course, my 'egalitarian' nephew and niece keep vacillating between my name and Chitti. It is the proximity and the affection that matter the most. Have always been fine with "Tai". Do not mind "Maushi" either, though wonder why "Aunty" sounded so strange. OK now. But "ji" is something I am still very uncomfortable with!
     
    Amica likes this.
  10. nuss

    nuss Platinum IL'ite

    Messages:
    1,523
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Trophy Points:
    283
    Gender:
    Female
    @satchitananda- This was an interesting read and a very different perspective for me. We were raised with "aap" and "ji" for everyone. In my parent's opinion, it was the respectful way of addressing someone. My parents would address us (their kids) as "aap" as well. I remember how my dad used to get furious when our friends will say uncle/ chacha without "ji". So, for me, this is how we addressed everyone including the vendors. "Tu" "tum" we only started using in college. At home, it was not allowed.

    I am the youngest in the family and my nephews are much closer in age. TWo oldest nephews always called me by my name but their friends would call me massi so I was a massi at the young age of 11-12. Bua/ massi never bothered me much and by the time strangers would have called me "auntie", I moved out of the country. Now, when I go back to India people say "madam" and I feel so weird :) but I don't know what would be a preferred address :).
     
    satchitananda likes this.

Share This Page