Tuesday, June 03, 2008

of equality and hierarchy!

she pointed to the cat in the hat. she had been having a loud chat with him while i read my book, and chatted with the characters, in my head.

"main isse tu bol sakti hun?"


the other day she said to me, tu kya karti hai?
i raised an eyebrow, mummy ko tu bolte hain? not very nice.

papa mujhe tu bolte hain, to main kyon tu nahin bolun?
the father tells her you can call me tu. i am trying to get him to say aap to her. i realise that i am pretty strict about my aap and tum, but i say tu to the father of the child.

complex notions of politeness, respect, hierarchy and equality. but she is getting it.

on her own she replies to her question about the cat in the hat.

isse tum bolna chahiye na? that nice? ( yes we dabble in the english language quite a bit but eat up the articles with ferocity)

par main aap bolungi. nice nice?

the cat in the hat
aap imagine that

4 comments:

dipali said...

The cat in the hat must be mighty pleased.

If only Hindi could remain as intimate as it is without the complications of hierarchy! I grew up in a home where my parents both addressed each other as 'aap', and my sister and I used 'tum' to address each other. When we got married, hubbyji was mostly 'tu', sometimes 'tum', in company usually. I'd say 'aap' only in formal company or if I was really mad at him. Little kids mostly 'tu'.
Sanah, aap toh kamaal ki bitiya hain:)

SUR NOTES said...

dipali: i actually like the politeness of aap and use it liberally.

she has been using tum with ease. and the moment i began introducing aap, she began testing waters by using tu.

its a trip watching
her figure this delicate balance between being a buddy, being rude, and being polite.

dipali said...

Aap is fine if you also have a chance to use tu as well! In most of my favourite bhajans,God is addressed as 'tu'.

I also love the formal politeness of most Urdu speakers- it sounds so good.

SUR NOTES said...

dipali: you are making a strong case for 'tu'. the father of the child will be happy, and if he reads this he finally has one good argument for the two of them using 'tu' for each other. :)