Context: Rita and Tim meet Mahesh and Salim outside the restaurant and ask each other how they are.
रीता - नमस्ते महेश जी, आप कैसे हैं ?
महेश - नमस्ते रीता, मैं ठीक हूँ, तुम कैसी हो ?
रीता - मैं भी ठीक हूँ। और सलीम साहब, आप कैसे हैं ?
सलीम - मैं बिल्कुल ठीक हूँ।
Rita - Greetings Mr Mahesh, how are you?
Mahesh - Greetings Rita, I’m fine, how are you?
Rita - I’m fine as well. And Mr Salim, how are you?
Salim - I’m absolutely fine.
The word कैसा how agrees with the gender of the person you are speaking to, so to a man you address as आप or तुम , you say कैसे and to a woman you say कैसी . In Hindi such changes of words to reflect the gender of people are a common part of the language. To ask a man आप कैसी हैं ? sounds quite wrong. You would only use कैसा when speaking to a man who you would address as तू , which is very uncommon, when you would say तू कैसा है ?
You can also ask after people’s well being by saying:
क्या हाल है ? How are things? (Lit. ‘what condition is?’).
This question is less focused on health and is more of a general inquiry about how things are going with the person. This question does not change to show the gender of the person you are speaking to. A common response to it is:
सब ठीक है। All is well.
It is considered polite to add
जी after Hindu names and
साहब after Muslim men’s names. Adding
जी is like adding ‘sir’ or ‘madam’ in English, except that
जी can be used with both men and women. In Urdu the word
साहिबा lady can be added after women’s names, but rarely in Hindi.
Generally speaking people add साहब or जी after a person’s family name when they are a person you would show respect to, but don’t use these terms with people who you don’t have to show respect for. People who you are friends with are often addressed by the first name and sometimes adding साहब or जी after a first name, or title, gives a sense of affectionate respect.