Politeness.

I take my readers to my blog post My Friends Are Convinced That I Am Over The Hill.

Finally, Grannymar, who was so nice with her comment there with “Ramana if you are over the hill worry not, we are all here already to welcome you!:D”, has decided that I am after all, over the hill and that there is some plain speaking needed.

In correspondence on another matter, she sent me this very encouraging message.

“Excuse me Mister Ramana Sir! We are ALL younger than you and expect you to lead by example. If however that means getting out of my scratcher at 5 a m to contemplate my navel…. there isn’t a hope!”

I am quoting out of context, but I am sure that all of you get the general drift. Be warned that if you accept my leadership, you will be expected to contemplate your navel at some ungodly hour in the mornings.

Some of you are new to my blog, and so, let me give you some background to the “Mister Ramana Sir.” That too is based on another post that I had written about politeness. You can read all about it here.

It will be of great interest to my newer readers to read all the comments on those two posts which should ideally precede reading the next link that I shall give you.

The Economist has this wonderful article “Politeness: Hi there” which has an interesting passage – “……..what seems to be happening is that formal politeness, at least in spoken and written exchanges, is on the decline, thanks to globalisation (meaning the rise of flat, nuance-less English as a means of international communication), to social changes and to technology. Replacing it is a kind of neutral friendliness, where human encounters take place devoid of the signifiers of emotional and status differences that past generations found so essential.”

This is an interesting observation and one that I am now grappling with Gaelikaa who used to call me Ramanaji, a very respectful address in our part of the world, then she changed it to Ramana Bhai when she became my Rakhi sister. When I pointed out to her that Bhai is usually used to address underworld dons in my part of our country, she switched to BS, till I pointed out to her that I found it rather amusing. This was something I expected from Bikehikebabe and Gail and not her. She of course clarified immediately, that it was shorthand for Bhai Saheb. That is where it rests now. Bhai being brother and Saheb being Sir. I had teased Ashok that it was good that he did not address me as Sir Ramana, but now eagerly await what Gaelikaa will come out next with. Sir Bhai? That will be a fantastic play with words, in these gloabalized world and would give me a great deal of status in our local society.

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