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.