Student-instructor relationships differ quite markedly in India when compared to the West. Professors here are showered with an abundance of “sir” and “mam” when they converse with students, who are expected to show marked deference to people who hold authority. Calling a professor by first name would most likely be seen as appropriate if it’s not at least suffixed with “ji” (a term that serves to mark respect in Hindi) or with “sir”/”mam”. Quite a contrast with the large number of universities in the U.S. where addressing a professor using his first name is common practice.
On the other hand, professors and students tend to grow much closer in India than what I have observed in the West. Professors and students exchange mobile numbers freely and text each other whenever needed. It is also perfectly acceptable for a student to call a professor who is 15 minutes late to know whether the class will take place, or if it was regrettably cancelled. I’ve also been invited to two professors’ houses, and to live with one should I not find suitable accommodation. Amazing!
Note: This guide is based on personal experience and is not a university-sponsored publication. Policies, rules and processes, where they exist, do change and are often applied differently by different staff or colleges. Information here should therefore be used to get a general idea of how things work, and specifics should be validated with university officials.