Among the various things that The Man from Madras Musings detests is this easy familiarity that leads people to address a person older to them as Uncle or Aunty, as the case maybe, even at the first meeting. And the older MMM gets, the more he dislikes it, for it destroys the image that MMM has of himself as a young man on the threshold of life. Some have said that this is reflective of MMM’s inability to accept reality – he is after all at an avuncular age. Others, older than MMM have pointed out the brighter side, at least in their view. At least nobody has as yet referred to MMM as grandpa they say. They little know the truth. Anyway, MMM decided that he had had enough when someone whom he hardly knew sent him a message beginning with Uncle. MMM then called the nephew-presumptive and said that he, MMM, had not been present at his, the nephew’s, cradle ceremony and since he, MMM, had also not changed his, the nephew’s diapers at a formative stage, it would best if he, the nephew, addresses him, MMM as Mr, or Sir. Message got home and thereafter relations have been established at a formal level. 

The other piece of familiarity that gets MMM’s goat is the tendency to assume that it is all fine to address someone on a first name basis. These are days when MMM gets several emails addressed to plain MMM or even worse MM or horrors, just M! He ignores most of these as they are essentially to solicit some business transaction or the other. But the other day he did pause to read one such message, which claimed it was from someone who is into language services. MMM assumed that this was one of those software languages and so was initially inclined to ignore it. But something made him pause and read the whole email and he must say he was richly rewarded for his labour. 

The mail began by saying that the agency was an acknowledged expert in various languages of the spoken kind and said “here I want to introduce my organisation”. They said the sender, who had assumed that she and MMM had been school together, or at least had a friendship that stretched over the age, were an ISO 9000 certified (who isn’t?) organisation working ‘from’ past 8 years pan India. 

Now, How We Can Help You – thus ran the next line.

Our agency translate in all vertical and every kind of documents, in Indian Regional & Foreign Languages, along with that we also give Interpreter service in all languages pan India locations. MMM was rather puzzled by the reference to vertical – perhaps they were specialists in Japanese, Korean and other East Asian languages? The peculiar English certainly had hints of the oriental. That this was not the case was proven from the next line, which listed several clients (poor fellows, how they must have suffered). The message also assured MMM that “We have affiliated team working with every vertical enhancing the companies with their social media branding, company Corporate Film Production, Testimonial & Product Video Production in 2D, 3D, Whiteboard and Real Picture.” 

MMM’s new-found friend then signed off with an “assure you that I will do my very best to help you out with your needs.” She also wanted to know if an f-to-f could be arranged depending on MMM’s calendar. It sounded terribly vulgar to MMM and so he decided to ignore the invite. It later transpired that an f-to-f meant a face-to-face meeting. MMM decided that he would rather that these events stuck to the vertical.