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I was asked today, shouldn’t my age and my marital status generate respect? Shouldn’t a human younger to me call me Ms. Shalini or madam? By calling me maam or Shalini ji, does that generate respect? Does that indicate respect?

Would calling me Shalini at my behest without a prefix or postfix show that I am asking to be disrespected?? Do you need to call a person your brother or sister or aunty or uncle, to show respect?? Does respect need all these artificial crutches to stand?? 

Can’t respect be a word which stands alone, with dignity and grace? Is it so difficult to respect people?? Doesn’t a newborn child deserve respect?? 

What is respect? Why does it have so many definitions but in reality, all those definitions are almost never applied. If every woman of a certain age are only supposed to be called respectfully, what happens to the young girls? Shouldn’t they also be called Ma’am? After all in this blogging world, we do not know everybody. 

Shouldn’t every human being on this planet deserve the same respect? I stand corrected, I mean every good human being deserve the same respect?? Why do people have these strange versions of respect?? 

I have seen this very commonly amongst Indian men, they call me Shalini ji and then go on to make an unwanted pass. How does the postfix Ji then help me? Didn’t the man just say he respected me, by calling my name so respectfully? Why didn’t the Ji then protect my honour and dignity?

I am not saying it is a wrong way to address people; I have nothing against calling someone with respect, I do it too.  There are many in this blogging world, I do address as Sir or Ma’am, till they tell me to call them by their first names. But my words are followed by actions too. I do not insult their dignity by my actions, I do nothing which hurts them or makes them feel that way, whatever be their age. 

Empty words have no meaning and just because we have been taught to use them, does not make it right. It probably makes us ‘good mannered’ – though I am not convinced about that. Empty words, which are not followed by action, have no meaning. Calling a woman by their name just says that you are calling them by their identity and you respect their identity. Respect should be for everyone. 

I have always reiterated that words are important, they make or break us. Today I add, that there has to be the strength of conviction to back up those words. There has to be a commitment to those words. 

I have no problems of being called Shalini ji or ma’am or doc, but don’t call me that just because of my age or status. Call every woman respectfully, irrespective of any category, because every woman deserves that respect and so does every man, every living creature, in fact. 

In saying this, I do believe there are bad people in this world, some in real, some hiding behind the anonymity of internet. I don’t think such people deserve respect. Predators of all kinds deserve no respect whatsoever. 

These are my views, and I abide by them. They do not reflect the society or the blogging world. They are purely mine, my beliefs, my convictions. 

Every good living thing deserves respect. It is not an empty word, it has great meaning, respect is based on actions, not age, marital status, work designation or any such category. Respect is being humane. 

140 Responses

  1. I’m inclined to completely agree with you. I think respect is shown in how you treat somebody not in what you call them. I hate being called Mrs, Ms, Ma’am etc I prefer everyone refers to me as Claire. If I go somewhere new with a professional I will always tell them to call me Claire, none of the formality for me, I hate it and it makes me feel uncomfortable. That’s not to say I don’t expect to be respected and I won’t pull somebody up if they are rude.

    1. That is exactly what I was trying to explain to a man and he blocked me saying I am disrespectful as it goes against his mother’s teachings. Gawd.. As if they follow everything what mom has taught them. Then India would be the safest country. I liked being called Shalini. It’s my identity I stand by it.

      1. A man who hides behind his mother’s wishes is an ass (in the British sense). A man who lives his mother’s wishes is a king.

        Well, in the metaphorical sense, where a king is a brave and just leader. That man was / is an idiot, and you dodged a bullet right there. Too many men try to mask their insecurities by imposing their rules. And you can count their following mom’s advice and wishes on one hand while picking up a glass.

        1. Very true. I agree to your statement totally. I am ok with every woman young or old being called ma’am or ji as they do in India, but to say that since I am old, I should be called with respect. So what about the younger ones who blog??? What about the attitude of men who use this prefix yet hit on women. I am calling on the hypocrisy of such men, women don’t do stuff like that. They understand when I tell them to call me shalini

          1. It gives them a respectable mantle to hide behind. He’s calling you ji, so it’s ok. His behavior is perfectly fine, since he’s the patriarch calling the shots. And besides, you should be glad he’s paying attention to you. Not just as a woman, but as someone getting older every year. Because as we all know, you pass your prime when you hit twenty, and it’s all downhill from there.
            I hate people like that. Wish I knew the magic formula to change this. I grew up with similar men. I wasn’t exposed to them a lot, but they kept cropping up enough for me to notice. Old men who think women are only out to get them, and will voice this train of thought in their talk and what passes for jokes to them. And then I move here and see it with the next generation. Yes, the old men were Hungarian themselves, and yes, one of the recent party lines (since forever with a very short break in the ’90s) is that anyone not Christian and European is basically a boor who treats women like dirt. They really don’t see the hypocrisy. And when it’s pointed out to them, they get defensive and mad, because you’re a girl (no matter how old you are, to them
            you’re a girl).

        2. Hiding behind what mother taught, then no mother teaches a man to abuse a woman, how is that not followed… Strange attitude. The post was on that hypocrisy of such an attitude

          1. I meant, that they’ll tell you their mother taught them a woman must stay at home, run the household, all the super conservative values. There are women who want to be at home. But these men don’t ever see that role expanding. My mother did it like that, so my (potential) wife must as well. At least some of the ones I came across.

          2. I have come across the same hypocrisy on India, here it is rampant. I suppose why should the blogging world not have some of those??

          3. I got blocked out of his blog, that got the bells ringing. That asking him to call me Shalini, indicated that I am a woman of loose morals. Gawd… Height of considering himself so alluring to women… And how screwed up are his views, I shudder at the judgements

          4. Sorry to tell you this, my friend, but you’re already a woman of loose morals for blogging and having – God forbid, oh the shock, oh the horror – a picture. Peas-for-brains most likely had enough sense to realize he couldn’t win the argument, so he blocked you. Easy. Like a child scrunching up its eyes to avoid seeing. Because then it’s not there. Though, yes, it is scary to think of these idiots being set loose on the world in general. And of course he thinks highly of himself. He’s a man. Therefore it’s an honor for you if he deigns to take notice of you.

            Disclaimer. I don’t hate men. But I do have no patience for self-righteous jerks, be they male or female showing such blatant lack of intelligence. And by this I mean intelligence, not the diplomas one holds. When I started doing my PhD, I had this theory confirmed once again. Some of the stupidest people I’ve ever met were doing postgrad. And some of the most intelligent had barely finished eight grades.

          5. I agree whole heartedly to your statement… I wish it was polite the middle finger to such people, I couldn’t care less about what he writes. He can take his mush-for-brains, and shove it where the sun don’t shine. They think since they blog, they are somebody… Since 100s comment on their poems, they are somebody. It is sad, the girls who comment on his blog, don’t understand his fake persona

          6. That is truly sad. And people like the edgy ones. Look at Jim Morrison, Morissey. However you spell his name.

            In real life I actually do give the middle finger, politeness be damned. And call them out on it. If I care enough. Online, I just ignore them. They want attention. So I give them the opposite. Evil me. I know. 😁

          7. I tried explaining, he sent me a long poem I didn’t understand and made his post private and blocked me. His choice… But I am glad his words made me think and I could write a post on that

  2. Hmmm… how do we send this to them all so they learn to treat you (and others properly)… perhaps mandatory training with a three strikes and you’re locked away! Sorry, Friend.

    1. Heyyy… People all over the world do not understand simple facts. Our jails would be over run, because practically most men would be found there. Hahaha…

      1. I can neither deny nor confirm… no, that’s not right.

        I shouldn’t disparage the good ones… no, that’s not right.

        I should shut up and say ‘you are right.’

        LOL… in truth, I don’t mean at all to make light of it, as I know from all we’ve spoken about how much an issue that has been / can be. Quite silly… it’s so easy to just be kind, fair and honest. Why anyone goes another path, oy… not enough time to discuss that!

        1. Haha… You can be light and bring BREVITY… O Boy the briefs and its conjugations are never leaving you… Hehehe. I understand what you are saying. I was just left exasperated. Nobody hit on me.
          Now I don’t know if I sad or angry about that hahaha… 😂😂

  3. I agree that all should be treated with respect. However, I have taught my daughters to call their therapists, doctors, their elders and teachers by Miss or Mister. I was raised the same and it just feels awkward to me to do otherwise. Even when I refer to my mom by her name to someone I call her “Miss Ruby,” I never refer to her just by her name. It just feels like that is how it should be to me.

    1. I agree to what you are saying. I also call my elders in the same manner. But when I ask somebody to call me by my name in this blogging world or outside, then to have him/her tell me that he has been calling me by the suffix because I am of a certain age, that didn’t seem the right attitude

      1. Yes, I agree with that too. I know some people who asked my children not to call them Miss or Mister and I’ve told them they need to be respectful of that.

        1. Exactly, Kris.
          When a grown up in the middle of comments and sharing ideas says, mom said women of certain age to be called with a suffix, then how do these men not follow other principles of mom?? It was tone and hypocrisy I didn’t like. Then he blocked his post. This showed his off-attitude. Something is not right with this man then

    2. Kris, I am also very careful in the real world, whom I allow to call me by name or suffix, but in blogging world, while sharing ideas, suddenly I am told I am old so I am called so, not because there is genuine respect… It feels a little off..

        1. Hahaha thank you… I wear my age with pride, as they contain the scars of survival. I have no idea how old as there was no pic of his, so no idea. There was no name on his post but a photo of a man with the head cut off… Maybe that should have given me an idea…

        2. Haha that’s so sweet of you. I am taking a screenshot of your comment and looking at it, when my mirror fails to reply ‘I am the fairest of them all’ 😉😉😘😘

          1. Oh yes, on a Thursday morning at 8 40 am I am grinning widely… Telling my mirror ‘take that’ hehehe great start to my day… Thank you

  4. Agree with your sentiments and the logic here. But I always try to call people ma’am, sir etc based on their age especially when I meet them for the first time. In the professional environment, one has to use it (I believe). I have seen people get annoyed when they are not given some prefix!!
    But I also know that it means nothing to me, if you are crook, you are a crook… no degree or knighthood changes your moral value. But we are in a fake world where showoffs take precedence. I am careful with whom I get close, it doesn’t matter what rank he is holding.I sit and have a drink with maximum 10 of my close people in my whole life. The maid who comes to clean our house gets the same respect as my boss. Thankfully my wife also shares the same values so it’s easy to impart this to our children too.

    1. I agree, Raj. In real life I am also careful whom I allow close to me. But in blogging world suddenly in the middle, if I am told that since I am old and I am married I should be called Shalini ji… It got me thinking, what about the other women? Then when I ask, I am told mom taught him. So he is calling…. How is this justified. Respect comes from within.
      I don’t know your age neither do you know mine. But here when we are talking or typing the answers, we do call each other by name out of mutual respect. Did you ever think I disrespected you because I didn’t call you Raj ji? Similarly calling ji and sending me a long poem in hindi about how women should be respected, does not speak much about his attitude. It shows that he is a fake.

      1. oh… I got it now…Yes, I have seen it a lot in the online world. Especially with women. Trying to get an entry point 😀 Never happens for men though. Respecting others..never have to be taught, everything in the world needs respect, including a dead body. As a doctor you know what I mean. I get annoyed when people share these accident scenes on social media because the way the person got killed was “funny”. Its really disrespectful do it. Same way I have seen countless friend requests coming to my wife saying “Hello sister, you are very pretty, can we be friends!” 😀 I always tell my wife and daughter, don’t believe what you see. You see what other people want you to see.
        Cheers to you now, don’t get bogged down for this, we have to find our way! 🙂

    1. I agree, In real world, I am careful with such things, because in India I have to be. But while sharing ideas in the blogging world, suddenly someone tells me this, that I am called a certain suffix as I am old, then left me wondering what about the young girls who blog, don’t they deserve the same respect???

  5. Respect comes from behavior. I hate being addressed as Mrs. or even Miss. My first name will do very well. I’ve managed to supremely disrespect those I addressed as Mr. and Mrs. and show uttermost respect to those younger than I am. I respect the human aspect. If that’s missing, you don’t earn respect.

    Btw / speaking of which, did you get a reply from me? I sent it three or four times, but it still shows up as draft.

    1. I did get a previous reply…
      I don’t mind being called ma’am as I am frequently called in the real world. But in the blogging world, just to show how young he is and how old I am, I think that pretty much shows the attitude more than respect

        1. Agreed. Some call me ma’am but those words are followed by respect. But there is genuine respect.
          But this guy’s attitude was that I am telling him to call me shalini, so I am flirting with him. Gawd, why would I!??

          1. Ugh. I know the type. You just existing on this Earth already means you’re flirting with him. Obviously. 🙄 I know it’s a huge cliché, but there really is no fixing stupid. Sad thing is, these idiots only understand what’s in their head. And it’s really not much.

          2. Hence the cut off head he had on his pic… I should have understood then. This was the first time I commented on his posts… And I so regret it

          3. You have nothing to blame yourself about. That’s what they want, for you to feel bad. Sounds like he loves to provoke for the sake of provoking, because it’ll make him cool and edgy. But only in his mind. I knew a guy like that once. He was on my course. Stopped speaking to him. Our mutual friends came to a pub literally next door to where I lived then. So I decided to honor the gesture. We talked a bit in group situations, but I deleted him from FB. It’s not worth it.

          4. True that… I don’t like judgemental people. I stay away from them, too negative they are always.
            Being friendly has its cons too.
            I write a blog, I Vent and I forget.

          5. Exactly. I usually try to go with comedy in these cases, because I’m horrible at writing it. So I always swear, “this is gonna be it.” I’m still learning. But I’m writing. And that’s why my blog has the tone it has right now. Hungary is full of these specimen.

  6. Nice thoughts Shalini… You know what, I never call you with suffix or prefix but still I respect you and I’ll always do. You’re one of the lovely soul present on this planet…Love you 💕

    1. Love you babes, that’s exactly what I am talking about. There is respect in your words, in your attitude, and it comes across so well in your words, I wish men saw this and read your comments where there is genuineness.
      when I specifically ask someone to call me by name, I expect my wish to be respected but when he says ‘you are old’ ‘mom told me’ then it is not justified, if he had said that the ji comes automatically with respect, then I would have understood, all woman are called so. The ji comes because mom taught him. Mom taught him other things, how come those are not followed???

        1. How easily women understand and men don’t, yet in India, in some parts, in most parts, women are treated as second class citizen…

          1. Right… But don’t worry we’ll make them understand. At least I’ll change some of them e.g my brothers, my friends and my would be husband ( not decided yet)😉

  7. Nice post. It human nature that we never respect human as being human. We give respect to the money, power etc. All of us deal with different persons differently. For example in my office I talk to my boss, coleages and security staff and cleaning staff in different tone.

    1. That’s nice. It’s great you treat everyone same. I have come across men who use same respectful tones, but their eyes and body language say otherwise. In the blogging world, too, they call me ma’am but then follow it up with an unwanted comment. How is that respect

  8. What you say is SO true . . . I mean, everyone deserves respect, and just not because they’re ‘older’ or in a high position at whatever they do. You shouldn’t respect a person JUST because they’ve reached a certain age or are in a supposedly important position. You should respect a person because they ARE human – young or old, rich or poor.
    This post actually reminded me of something I’d once read – I won’t get to details, but it pretty much said superiors should respect their subordinates just because they’re lower in rank from them and it’s like their duty or something. Pfft. Unlike respecting subordinates just because they’re a freakin’ PERSON. The term ‘subordinate’ shouldn’t even BE used, ’cause we’re all equal in the end.
    Sorry for my rant; couldn’t help. You have great ideals, and I’m all more glad I found your blog. There are way too less people like you in the world, unfortunately🙂
    Great post, as always!😀😁

    1. Haha thank you so much for your kind words. You can rant anytime. Men and women behave differently in the blogging world, esp Indian men. Telling them to call me shalini makes me a person of loose morals. And vice versa. Very weird mentality they have even educated people who blog.

    2. Shreya, I don’t allow my juniors or ward boys to call me shalini, because they take it to be over friendly and then their attitude changes becomes icky. So I know how to conduct myself and maintain a distance. In the blogging world, I call most people by their names, because they are an identity and there is constant flow of ideas.
      If someone puts a condition on respect, a condition of age and marital status, then that person is a fake, doesn’t know what is respect in reality. Does that mean he doesn’t respect women younger to him?? Don’t women younger to him deserve to be called with a Ji till he or she asks him to call by name? How does respect change definition.
      I was told Indian culture is unique, I agree, we are the only ones who believe in Goddesses and worship them too, yet treat the women as a slave or a second class citizen, where she has no freedom to be and is always scared of the father then of the husband. It is indeed unique, that a man cannot take orders from a female boss at work place. It is definitely unique that if a woman stands up for herself, she is always labelled…
      Genuine respect is seen only in few people.
      That’s why I like so many people in this blogging world. My friends have commented on this post. I do not know their ages, but there is so much respect for my views for their views in this post. This is respect.

      1. Well, hypocrisy is present everywhere even in the morden world (along with misogyny, unfortunately).Even though I’m a teen and am not the most experienced person, I can notice this stuff actually happening around me. I really, really hate the way Indians treat women and think it’s NORMAL. 😒

  9. I thank everyone who has commented on this post, understanding my stand, my point of view, and respecting it.
    I thank you all for being my friends, for being there and showing respect to all in this blogging world.

  10. Whoa! Took me a lot of time to get here, at the end of the comments section 😀
    You already know what I want to say, you perfectly do; don’t you?
    I agree to every word you’ve said and all I want to tell is, I’m glad you understand why it’s Shalini for me 😀
    Love to you 🍹🍬

    1. Orange blossoms, my darling girl, I never have any doubts of your love or respect. You have cornered a slice of my heart from day 1, and you know that. Whether you call me shalini or Rockstar or girl, I am cool with it, because every word of yours shows respect for the fellow human being.. 😘😘💗💗

    1. Exactly… I am glad you got that. But I just found out that just because I asked this person to call me shalini, I am ‘wrong’ kind of person. If educated people think so narrowly… Then there is no hope…

        1. I asked him to delete my comments on his blog site, and the attitude I received, I shudder. What happened to the respect he had for my age, now? Hypocrisy at the highest level

          1. I agree… But I am just amazed.. I have met such men and women among the so called young age but with such narrow thoughts. I thought internet and interacting with everyone on the blogging world would make them a global citizen… But I lived and I learnt..

          2. You always havê exceptions. change of mentality is not a one day process .. Yeah people have to broaden their thoughts.. I also keep interacting with all age groups over the globe. Some people accept my thoughts some people doesn’t some understand some don’t .. This continues .. So don’t worry

          3. Hahaha I don’t care about others say. I don’t even think about age, I am a human being… I talk to people as humans and humanely

    1. Akhila, so lovely to hear from you. Wish you a very happy 2018.
      Token of respect without the actual respect is empty. Just respect in action is more than enough. Women get this, most men don’t

  11. An enlightening article Shalini 🙂 Not all that say right, seem right, think rightly and Not all that say wrong, seem wrong, think wrongly, between these many right and wrong men and of course women too (because I don’t see the difference a lot these days..), its quite a world we live in and it becomes a little too damn tough to adjust!! Respecting individual’s thoughts usually comes through the virtue of the being one is, how one thinks and how one reciprocates in doing or talking to others. I am not sure what exactly happened here with you, but what I sense is it hurt you which at the outset looks bad but you know not all that looks good isn’t so good too sometimes 🙂 Do I make any sense at all? If not please ignore and am so glad I read your article today..

    1. Hey Mark, I am so glad to hear from you. Thank you so much for reading and understanding my post.
      I was sharing viewpoints with another blogger, when I asked him to call me shalini. He suddenly indicated that he would call me with a ji as I am old and married(I wonder why he made instant judgement) when I asked him to call me shalini as it is my identity and respect is via action not just words, he indicated that being so free means I am of fre-er morals. India’s new generation with old DNA narrow minded values. Apparently his mother has taught him taught him Indian culture unlike us, uncouth uncultured.
      I was angry more than hurt. An unknown voice in the blogging world can’t hurt me.
      Well that’s the way people are nowadays. Education doesn’t seem to have done much.
      Such is life. Show respect without feeling it, rather than feel respect, then show it

          1. I know. I have to take some decision for work in the next few months…
            Thanks Michael. Leaving for work now. Already a stressful 7 am. Laters…

  12. “Every good living thing deserves respect” if we lived in a world where all humans held that belief and acted upon it how different it would be: respect for humans, and also for animals who we so often mistreat when they have done nothing to harm us. I very much enjoyed reading this post and shall continue to think about it.

    1. Thank you so much for these beautiful and truthful words.. I understand and agree… But I suppose this has been a challenge for years, for good people

  13. I agree. Here in the south, they’ve made it a practice to have “Miss” or “Mr” in front of your first name, or to say “yes/no ma’am,” to show respect. I was raised in the Midwest and we were never taught that. Respect is something you show, not words.

    1. I understand. I have no problems being called ma’am but doing that just to say the words felt a little off. It all depends on the vibes I get from them. 😊

  14. Interesting concept. You made me think. Some highly educated folks think they are entitled to a title. Others demand a title prefix to their name. I love the first name basis myself.

    1. Hello Dwight
      Nice to meet you.
      I don’t use my prefix other than at work. On WordPress I am generally called Shalini. This is the virtual land of words where we are sharing concepts, ideas, and thoughts. Then to be called ma’am in the middle of conversation, to me felt a little off. I call many on WordPress ‘Sir’ because I do not know their names nor have I ever been offered to call them by their name. So I suppose it is a personal preference.
      But I feel if someone asks me to call them by their name, I certainly do so. Some people have strange ideologies.

      1. Yes, I always enjoy being called buy my first name. Here in the south children are often told to address older people by the Mr. or Ms. and their first name. Mr. Dwight or Ms. Ruth. It seems to work well. As a child I remember it was difficult knowing what to call older family friends. Nice to get acquainted, Shalini!

        1. In real life, I too call people in the same way unless they ask me to use their first name. Then I don’t see age or status, I call them in the way they prefer to be called. Calling me ma’am only because I am a few years older(I have no idea what that person’s age was, neither does he know mine) inspite of me saying I would like to be called Shalini seemed off to me.
          It is wonderful to have a conversation with you, Dwight.

  15. “I stand corrected, I mean every good human being deserve the same respect??”

    I too have reached an age in which I am asking these same questions! You may be interested to know that manuscripts have been found in the ancient Egypt and tombs deploring the disrespect of the young! 😆

    On the above observations I would only respectfully and this observation: that if everyone without exception had been treated with a decent amount of respect in their whole lives, many many more would be now worthy of it. For this reason I try to respect everyone without exception.


    1. That’s very true…. I agree whole heartedly…
      I put the word good person because on the internet, I have come across bad people, so I do not respect them.
      There are certain medical studies, which were conducted many years ago which said that some humans are without empathy centre in the brain, they are wired differently, so I don’t blame them for that… But their actions are sociopathic so I in all my senses can’t respect them. I can’t respect a human who abuses others.. At least this is the way I function.

      1. I will never be able to follow that, I would be lying. I can’t respect a man who abuses children/ women whatever be his past… I have seen such men who have been treated well, with respect, yet did not think twice to do the wrong thing, in spite of having choices… And I assure you, they had a good past, they were treated well, they had everything in their lives.. Yet….
        Sorry, I can’t respect such men, my whole mind rebels at that idea…
        I agree whole heartedly that you believe that… I have seen the other end of the spectrum… I can’t respect such men.
        We are a product of our experiences hence…

  16. Very True…. I agree by your statements – I can’t respect a man who abuses children/ women whatever be his past…
    Respect should come from within… we get respect we give respect; only by addressing ji doesnt mean they respect us !!

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