August 12th, 2015

book flower

Hindi honorifics/forms of address

I have a scenario that's taking place in a fantasy-esque version of early 1800s India, so all my Google-fu is rather useless in looking up honorifics as I mostly get modern ones that revolve around professions or have English influences (Dr., aunty, uncle, etc.) or are mainly used between people who are on similar social standings or related (baba-ji, didi, etc.).

I'm looking for an 'traditional' honorific or form of address that a young man might use to address an older woman very respectfully, without knowing her name. Through a lot of various googling of 'Hindi forms of address/Hindi honorifics/addressing elders in Hindi' I've come up with devi-ji as being the closest, as meaning 'respected madam', but I'm not sure how accurate that is (because back-googling that term doesn't yield the same results at all). I also need an honorific for the woman to use back to the man, also without knowing his name, which I couldn't find anything at all for via similar search terms. I've also combed through some Bollywood movies to see if I could find any similar situation in which relevant forms of address might be used, but no luck. These two people aren't related and are meeting for the first time, but being very respectful of each other.

Thanks in advance for any help!