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Don't Mention His Name

One of the first things I learnt about life in India after marriage was that married women (at least married Hindu women in north India) never call their husband by his first name.  Apparently, that  is considered a very uncultured thing to do.  I asked my father in law why.  He explained that husbands are generally older than their wives (mine is all right - eight and a half years age difference between us actually - not that it matters or anything), one doesn't address elders by their first name.

In Dublin where I come from, women don't just take the husband's first name, they very often take the second one as well and shout it out at the top of their voice.  It produces an amazing effect that literally chills the blood.  It sounds something like this:

"Paddy O'Brien, what in the name of God do you think you're up to, messing up my clean house!  Get those beer cans up off the floor right now!"

Or it could be something like:

"Jimmy Murphy, if you think you're getting away without buying me a birthday present this year you can just forget about it."

With this lethal weapon denied to me, how was I going to make a success of my marriage?  I still have no idea.

Indeed I had no idea how much of this culture I've soaked up until last week.  He was going to work and I was seeing him off at the gate.  Then I thought  that I should walk with him up as far as the local shops as there was no bread in the house for my breakfast.  I told him I'd just get my dupatta (scarf) and walk up the road with him.

By the time I'd reached the gate, Yash had already walked halfway up the road.  He walks pretty fast.  He was practically out of earshot.  I opened my mouth to call him, but nothing, yes nothing, came out.

In the end I had to resort to the immortal words "Hey!  Wait for me!"  I remember being taught during my Irish childhood that  it is extremely rude to address someone as 'hey'.

I have absorbed so much of this culture that sometimes it scares me!

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