Monday, January 23, 2012

Mrs = Mistress?

By now, everyone who knows me, is well aware that I hate wrong usage of English Grammar. What I hate more are the people who do it confidently.

Recently, I went for a regular check-up to my endocrinologist. While waiting for my turn to come, I was sent to the assistant doctor/intern who usually does the basic like check the BP, weight, symptoms and put them down on the prescription sheet. Here is an excerpt from the conversation with this certain lady, the assistant, which I guarantee shall leave you in splits:

[Note: I shall refer to the assistant as Ass, since that is what she ends up being!]

Ass: Naam?
Me: Mrs Samarpita Sharma, file par likha hai
Ass: Age?
Me: 30
Ass: Aap married ho? [looking very very doubtful]
Me: Err…haan
Ass: Fir aapne Mis’ess kyun bola? aap toh mistress hain.
Me: Uhh…nahin Mrs ko Mis’ess bolte hain. Mistress is an offensive word.
Ass: aapko english nahin aati theek se. aap check kar lena!
Me: It is a contraction of Mistress, but when we refer to Mrs, it is for Mis’ess and not the other offensive word you just used.
Ass: Aap galat bol rahe ho. Mrs ko mistress hi bolte hain.
I laugh and leave it at that, deciding I shall take up this offensive [not as much coz she referred to me as mistress, but more coz i had to interact with her] with my doctor whom I know very well. When informed about this funny incident, he was flabbergasted…but in a country with so many dialects and regional languages, it IS very difficult to find qualified people who have the basic knowledge of the English language.
You may ask, so whats the big deal? English isnt even our national language!! Ho-hum! But its used more in any profession, compared to any other regional language! Deal with it!!
[To those who are still ignorant of facts:
“Mrs” originated as a contraction of the honorific “Mistress”, the feminine of “Mister” or “Master”, which was originally applied to both married and unmarried women. The split into “Mrs” for married women from “Ms” and “Miss” began during the 17th century.]

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