Do you know who I am?

MUCH of the thrashing and bashing that’s being heard of, done by our VIPs are because they feel a toll attendant, or watchman or policeman is treating them without respect, “Do you know who I am?” they shout, before they use their fists. “Do you know who I am?” In that pathetic cry, there’s much to see.
We columnists are quite fond of our bylines and feel mighty proud when someone recognizes us, and sometimes, rare those times be, even quote from some or other of our writings. Says one very famous lady newspaper writer, its quite often I go to a party and introduce myself and expect the person who I’m being introduced to, to be floored by my name, but am stupefied when he says, “Ah, is that your name, and what name do you write under?” Do you know who I am? No we don’t, says the world. We were all hopping mad about Shah Rukh Khan detained at a New York airport. There he was the most famous man in India, sitting miserably in a detention room. I have been detained in that same room, for all the wrong reasons, namely my beard, and I know the feeling of helplessness, even hopelessness, in that awful place you are a nobody.
Do you know who I am? You scream in silence at the emigration officer who in all probability carries on doing his work, leaving you even more fragile and shaky. You can make all the money in the world, be the world’s richest man, take the most number of wickets, act in all the Hindi movies in Bollywood, but somewhere, someone in authority cares a damn, because he just doesn’t know who you are. What do you do?
That’s the time for you to know who you are. I think of Gandhiji, wearing almost nothing, standing in front of the might of the British Empire, I know he won because he knew who he was: Kings, lords, viceroys and prime ministers felt the might of his presence even without him having to raise his voice. Gandhiji worked within before he ventured to work outside himself. He made himself peaceful inside, beautiful within, and that peace, beauty and magnetic power exuded out and people felt his presence. Never did the father of our nation have to shout, “Do you know who I am?”
The world knew, through the peace he exuded. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you or I also could stand in front of an officer in some strange city and he knows who you are without you having to tell him. That your stillness says it all. How beautiful for people to know who we are, without our having to tell them..!

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