• Mohana Prabhakar

Do you know who I am?

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

I don’t think you can say you have lived, unless someone, somewhere has greeted you with some version of ‘do you know who I am?’. I am putting a question mark there, but it’s worth pointing out that usually a sentence like this is never a question.

It is a total beating-of-chest and screaming-from-the-rooftops kind of statement in most scenarios.  In others, like in the case of my mother, it is a simple statement of fact that manages to convey a sense of instant annihilation in case you disagree.

It’s been a fun week for me and while in that mood, I decided to compile my favourites in this category, or at least the ones that make me smile.

• The young man who called me after I asked his wife to send some samples of her writing because she wanted to write for The Week: ‘Have you any idea who you are talking to? Whose wife you are asking to prove herself?’

• The important driver of an important man from an important country who had blocked my space in our office parking lot: ‘Of course I am not moving. Who are you? Do you know whose car this is?’

• The man who came to invite me, but thought I was the receptionist as I was sitting at her desk: ‘You better make sure you give it to the right person. Actually hand over your labour card – I will take a copy and if you don’t do your job, you will find out who you are dealing with.’

• The ambassador’s wife who conveyed her husband’s ‘does she know who I am’ moment to me: ‘You know who he is. And still you put more photos of X’s event than ours. He was very upset and said he will have you deported. But don’t worry - I convinced him that it will not look nice.’

• My history teacher, after throwing out my Archie comic from the fourth floor window of our class: ‘You seem to think you can bring this trash into my class. Do you know who I am? I am the World.’ I am guessing she meant she was our World History teacher and I got taken to the Principal for giggling at that point.

• My mother after my 800th assertion that I was studying and not secretly on the phone to my friend (who I married four years after this conversation): ‘Do you know who I am? If you are the one that moves on the branches, I am the one who moves on the leaves.’ (This is loosely translated from my language in which it sounds a lot more profound).

• The flight attendant who took offence to the fact that I had said, not very quietly, that it was wrong that the crew’s baggage was on the carousel before ours: ‘You people just sit on the plane. Do you know who we are?’

Some are absurd, some just funny and others defy classification. But they all have one thing in common: I couldn’t think of one snappy comeback at that moment. Minutes later is another story, but it seems that the only one who will know how amazingly clever I can be, is me.

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