Much of the thrashing and bashing that’s being done by our VIPs is because they feel a toll attendant, or watchman or policeman is treating them without respect, “Do you know who I am?” they shout, then use their fists.
In that pathetic cry of asking for recognition, there’s much to see.
We newspaper 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, “It’s 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.
We were all hopping mad when Shah Rukh Khan was detained at the New York airport. There he was one of the most famous men in India sitting miserably in a detention room. I had been detained in that same room somewhere in the nineties, 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 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?