Change – Lets teach our kids to address not just Dads, but Moms as well with “aap“. Lets not ignore slip ups while addressing Mommys, and pay emphasis that both deserve equal respect.
Its common culture that as kids become more comfortable with their mothers, they start using endearments like ‘tu‘ or ‘tum‘, or even address them by their names. But they wont dare do this with their fathers (any such daredevils exist? :)). Did we ever think why? I dont have any reason for that but I know that such little things more often than not, end up with contributing towards the patriarchal culture in families with members not giving as much importance/respect to their mother’s opinions as their fathers. While this may/not be true in all families, its worth a thought. Its a different story if the family doesn’t use the word at all to address either gender elders.
Aap – Hindi equivalent of ‘you’ in English, mostly used to address elders with respect (my family addresses younger ones also with the same word to show respect :)).
The background story –
So I was talking to my friend the other day over our usual evening tea and this came up. She was narrating some incident about her daughter and below conversation happened –
Friend – ‘Riya(her daughter) ne apne baap ko zyada force hi nahi kiya. If she wont demand his time, wo kyu try karega.’
Me (shocked, surprised and laughing) – ‘baap? hahaha…Riya apne Papa ko Papa ya Dad nahi bolti?’
Her – ‘Are main usko aise hi bolti hun na divorce ke baad se to uski ki bhi aadat pad gai hai…I realised only now ki wo bhi baap hi bolne lagi hai although she doesnt realise that its disrespectful. I should pay attention and correct her from now.’
Me – ‘Are nahi…sabki family ka culture different hota hai…My Mom and Dad address us kids also as ‘aap’ but I know now that its not common in all families.’
Her – ‘Wow yaar! That’s so nice. I will ask Riya also to address him as ‘Aap’. But I will need to explain her first why its important :)’
Me – ‘Yeah. But she addresses you also with name I think. Isnt it?’
Her – ‘Haan but Mummy logon ko to chalta hai na. She is very close to me so I let her call me by name instead of Ma or Mummy. Its ok :)’
Me – ‘Frankly, I dont think its ok. When you’ll tell her she should address her Dad with ‘Aap’ to show respect, wont she get confused why the same rule doesnt apply to Mom? Doesnt she deserve the same respect? Of course she is a kid and she might not understand this but I feel these little things really matter at later stages of life. ‘
Of course this continued for another hour where we started discussing other such cultures in our families and how few practices need to change with time, until both of us have had 3 cups of tea and were totally famished. But those are tales for another day 🙂