The best that I’ve learnt in Punjab is the Ji thing.

In Thamizh we have a neutrally gendered appendage to every sentence, which is ‘ங்க’, transliterated as ‘nga’, which when used at the closing of any statement or sentence would be reflecting respectfulness to the person spoken to.

It is not as much the respectfulness, but that to append nga, one doesn’t need to know either the gender of the person at the other end or his/her age or rank.

This Ji thing is used profusely in Punjab and at first I thought it was not merely a phatic palliative but a statement made with utter regard. As time passed by, I understood that it is just an appendage not to give offense.

Aahnji and nahinji are said with the same nonchalance, that without that ji, the hearer would be put to some discomfort.

One can append this ji to anything. Kyaji is may I know what?

This Ji is so very important that while professionally meeting officers, one is caught in a bind as to which batch and branch the other officer belongs, so as to Sir him or Madam her! But Ji solves all this dilemma, and after ascertaining discreetly the seniority through identification of common acquaintances and batch mates, superciliousness or obsequiousness could be resorted to safely.