a rose by any name ……

the other day, I was called “aba” for the second time in my life by a seismic supervisor of a shooting team where I went to visit on safety rounds

I felt erie to be addressed as “aba”, especially as for me it denotes something different from others because ko ko and I called our father “aba”, which is a strange thing

it began as a result of ko ko’s nanny who taught him to call father “aba”, probably their Kadu way

she was a Kadu and ko ko was born while my father was posted in Katha and they had her as housekeeper and later nanny until they were transferred to Pathein / Bassein where I was born

the house keeper / nanny was the wife of a railways worker in the rail department at Katha and they stayed on in Katha and I did not have the opportunity to meet her

but her teaching to ko ko was handed down to me and I also called our father “aba”

that was why I could not call anyone “aba” as our Sayar U Hla Myint was called by all others

and of course, the term is not really used commonly in Yangon where I grew up

the first time being called “aba” was in Yangon while I was buying something for home

the girl addressed me as “aba”

previously, all others called me “OoLay

after being called “NyiLay”, “AhKoGyee”, I was called “Oo” at first

but later girls mostly addressed me as “OoLay”

maybe with the modern usage of “OoYe. Mee”, they find calling someone “Oo” difficult as I have difficulty calling others “Aba”

I also had a strange feeling when I was called “uncle” for the first time by new employees

although friends of my sons have called me “uncle” and I am used to it, I am being used to be called “sayar” at work, since I was a house surgeon (intern) and later a GP, demonstrator, Camp Doctor of different companies

being used to the term “sayar”, since 23 (now 58), the knowledge (AhThi.) of age escaped me until I was called “uncle” by some new employees a few years back

it struck me right on my chest with the reality that I had ignored

yeah…

I am old

older than I realized

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