Monday, October 22, 2007


Pronounced Miz. Whoever introduced this salutation ought to be awarded some prize or have something named after him/her, something good. Whenever I fill in some application or some other form I always smile inside if the salutation options include Ms apart from the usual Mr/Miss/Mrs. Ms lets the world know that you’re of the feminine gender but reveals nothing about your marital or non-marital status. You could be single, engaged, married, divorced, widowed, married x number of times, in a steady relationship, have just broken up with someone, be on the prowl for love/romance, be sick and tired of love, anything, we all fit under the shade provided by the umbrella that is Ms. Ms embraces us all without irritating questions, without raised eyebrows or snide remarks or condescending stares. Being a Ms is so liberating, so refreshing, so exhilarating, so mysterious, so equal rights, so girl power, so many things. But don’t get me wrong, I am no bra-burning feminist. Miss, Mrs are fine, in fact they are very good. Would people still be as hooked to Agatha Christie if Miss Marple was Ms. Marple? Or listen to Simon & Garfunkel or watch The Graduate if Mrs. Robinson was Ms. Robinson? You get the drift. Each to her own salutation, I say.

If only there was a Mizo version of Ms so that all Mizo women could enjoy some anonimity! It would be especially beneficial for divorcees; it would let them escape the undesirable “nuthlawi” tag. Because being a divorcee in a Mizo society is a dreadful thing, with some kind of social stigma attached to it, people seeing you as a woman of questionable character, no matter what the reason for your divorce or separation was. You are assumed guilty unless proven innocent. And the “nuthlawi’ tag doesn’t help you one bit, it just adds fuel to the fire. If there was a Ms or an equivalent title it would at least save face but not reputation because the place is so small everyone knows everyone else and your reputation always precedes you wherever you go.

I don’t know exactly when this new found appreciation of Ms struck me. I was happy being Miss, going on with my life, but lately I find myself liking Ms more and more. Could it be blamed on advancing age? More and more of my friends getting married and having babies? People snickering and making bad jokes about being unmarried/unengaged? “Well wishers” telling me to get married as if husbands were something you could pick up from a supermarket shelf, as if marriage was the be-all and end-all of life, the culmination of youth? I am free to make my own choices, and for the moment I chose to remain a Ms. That’s what being a woman is all about, free to make your own choices and decisions, free to call yourself whatever you want, and the freedom to do whatever your heart desires.


  1. How about madam? I've always felt uneasy everytime i'm required to say "madam" to teachers; bcoz here, outside Mizoram, it's considered impolite/offensive to say that to married women!
    In Mizoram (i dont know-maybe only catholics school where i went), it was always just "miss" to any women teachers; unmarried or otherwise
    I've read that its's the other way round in the States - that saying "madam" to any woman (not excluding middle-age married women)is considered to be impolite/ saying "hey old woman".
    But we're India!!.. weird things happen here.. hehe
    Nice post.. 'll look fwd for more [:)]

  2. dwewy chunk: Thanks for visiting. I'm not so sure about "Madam" being offensive to married women outside Mizoram, but "Ma'am" being very commonly used, I think it could be the Indian equivalent of Ms.

    mnowluck: Mami=Ms? I pi rual kha "Mami" tiin i ko don emi? Ms tih chuan kum engzat poh a huam vek zawk lo mi?

  3. Ms is for malsawm min van ngaisang. I lehkhabu kha ka hrereng a nia. Ka hman veleh ka lo la ang :-)

  4. "“Well wishers” telling me to get married as if husbands were something you could pick up from a supermarket shelf..." You probably don't want any more comments on this so allow me to just snigger heh.
    I don't really have any strong emotions about the Ms part but I have to concur with dwewy here...I definitely don't like being called madam. Ma'am is fine but Madam sounds really vulgar to me...the brothel connection is a bit too close.

  5. J: the brothel connection hahaha... I can just picture you heavily made-up, wearing some Victorian dress showing a lot of cleavage, smoking a cigarette and greeting your gentleman clients... hehehh...

    On a serious note, I am quite used to being called "Madam", "Ma'am", sometimes "Didi" but thankfully never "Aunty" by everyone here from the shopkeepers to autowallahs to cab drivers to strangers on the streets. I never quite linked it with a house of disrepute, just accepted it as something normal.

  6. Haha! Sawmpuia kha chhang ve la :)

    I was brought up outside Mizoram, and throughout my education, we never used to say "Madam" ! The word we use is "Ma'am", and then this May 2007, I went to class for the first time in Mizoram since class 3, for an MCS Coaching class at MU, Chaltlang. It really did feel awkward when all my classmates would call the teacher "Miss". And I was the odd one out calling her "Ma'am". Yes the other students did laugh behind my back for that :-(

    I also felt awkward when they would all chew "kuhva hring" right there in the middle of the lecture and even during the MCS exam!!!! but then, that's a different story.

    Anyway, I hear you regarding the stigma faced by the Nuthlawis. If you have time, it would be great if you can go through a poem I once wrote, dedicated tot he Nuthlawis of Mizoram.

    Chp 113. A poem for women. I wrote it after a good friend of mine became a so called "nuthlawi".

  7. sawmte: tihpalh lutuk ka lo chhang har che. Nia lehkhabu chu i duh hun hunah lo la roh.

    Kima:why dont you write something about the "kuhva hring" bit? I find it so disgusting, not the chewing itself but the stained teeth it brings.

  8. Kima: I read the poem, it makes me sad and feeling sorry for all the nuthlawis out there. We have seen it happen to many people we know and what is maddening is that there is nothing we can do about it.

  9. Hehe, I guess thats another blogpost for another day, but yes I will definitely write about it one day.

    It was so shocking for a person like me who have studied in Mizoram only till class 3 to see people in the examination hall (and mind you, this was no ordinary exam but the MPSE exam, the mother of all exam) openly eating kuhva and "applying" sahdah, and even sharing the kuhva, sahdah and tuibur with their examination neighbors right in the middle of the exam!!!! :)

    By the way, you look good at the Mizo Bloggers Directory *Evil Grin*

  10. u aduh,dam a?hmanni ka blog i comment ka hmu ve hlol mai.a last para hi ka duh vang ve..

  11. Oy Kima, what's my pic doing there at the Directory??

    Babie: Thanks for visiting. Nia, inlak van ve deuh hi a ngai alom. I blog hi ka lo link ang chu i phal em?

  12. Well put,Kadz, Well put.

    But me thinks it's your way of saying "I can't find a hoo hoo"....lolzzzz

  13. ok lo link rawh.ka phal e ;-] kalo link ang che keipon

  14. On the flip side...once at a meeting the women participants were introduced with all three as Miss, Mrs, and Ms - the last seemingly meant for those with dubious status!