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Where nobody knows your name……….

January 31, 2010

You would not think I was talking about my own home when you read this title, would you? But I am. I am very fortunate to be an ex-pat in India with staff. But I don’t think a single one of them knows my name. They call me ma’am because god forbid they get more personal than that – it simply is not allowed. And no matter how persistent you are here about changing the status quo, there are just some many things about India that are simply not going to change – at least not in the immediate future. At least not in the time that we will be here.

And, yes….snicker……snicker…… I am quite sure there are names that they call me – but I am talking about the name my mama gave me. 😉

Seriously, there are at least 6 people who come to my house every single day – they do my laundry (including washing and ironing my underwear), they buy my food, they water my plants, they cook, they clean, they guard the gate, they drive me all over town (ok, the driver probably knows my name – they are a little more tuned in shall we say – but he will never, ever call me by it), they meet my friends, and it is very likely that none of them knows my name.

They know my children’s names, they know hubby’s name (although they will only ever call him Sahib or Sir) – because if the crazy white lady yells them often enough, you are going to pick up on a name or two. They even know my cats’ names. But not mine. Hmpf.

I plan to correct that today. And I can guarantee they will still call me ma’am – but at least when they leave here they can put a name to the face.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tottsmom permalink
    February 8, 2010 8:09 pm

    Did you manage to get them to learn your name?? Kumar, I’m pretty sure my husband would think I had gone off my rocker if I started calling him “Sir” or “Mr. S”.

  2. kumar permalink
    February 3, 2010 1:48 am

    well in India its considered rude to call a person by his name, especially your boss/ teacher/ older person. In fact many wives in India do not call their husbands by name. One of the East -West cultural differences I guess!

  3. February 1, 2010 12:15 am

    I find it very strange too … same issue in our house. ‘Xcept when our cook, Shanti says “Ma’am … is your name Naomi?”

    I giggled and said “of course, yes.”

    She said “people have called the house for you and asked for Naomi and I didn’t even know if that was your name or not.”

    Sad actually ….

    What’s interesting to me is that our staff refers to their former employers by the first name … but followed by “ma’am” (i.e. Jill Ma’am or Sally Ma’am) … reserving just the “ma’am” for me. Does that mean I’ll be Naomi Ma’am when I leave?

    • February 1, 2010 1:11 am

      that is exactly what it means – I hear about Miss Rachel all the time – they will simply call me “Miss what’s her name” ğŸ˜Ž

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