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The Story Of My Wallet

The Story Of My Wallet

10 mins 305 10 mins 305

Seriously speaking, I never harbored a wallet in a real sense, though I did try it a few times in my life. More than my real nature it was a miserable effort to imitate one aristocratic uncle of mine whose occasional visits to my big village Parbhani from his metro city Bangalore always left me impressed. The impact factor of my uncle's style was due to his money studded wallet and the way in which he operated it every now and then. His dancing golden stone studded fingers were ever ready to pull that brown-colored semi worn-out leather wallet at every drop of a hat. The dancing gyrating golden necklace around his neck only added glitz to his audacity and chutzpah. He exhibited an inimitable personal display, which left me tailing around him most of the times. During his summer visits, he had a neatly tucked cooling glass, hanging teasingly around the second from the top button of his shirt. Come winter, a black swinging coat with zippers totally unemployed and sleeves half folded upwards, left me gaping at him and he resembled no less than the living legends of the silver screen of that period. My youth was nascent and devoid of any rebelling hormones then.


Oh let’s not divert away from the focus point for the article which is his wallet. Of all the displays he performed the one which left an indelible impact was his wallet. Two things were prominent regarding his wallet one that, was always bulging with real money and second that it was old and a bit wore out, which gave an indigenous authenticity to its operational experience. ‘Behold the holder and the thing held – my mind’ always said. The wearing off of the wallet too gave me an impression of its functioning capability, which unfortunately was amiss when I had purchased my first ever wallet. I too never could reproduce that dignified worn outlook in my once newly purchased wallet. Mine always remained brand new to date. Nowadays that once upon a time wallet of mine is used as a toy by my son, who harbors all kinds of stickers and newspaper cutouts ranging from Doremons, Ninja Hattori’s to fake rupee notes, bus, railway and exhibition tickets with some old outdated coins in that most ambitious but failed “wallet-project” of mine.


It was long after my uncle’s impression on me exhausted, I could really know what contributed to that ‘worn-out’ look on my uncle’s purse. His bravura spoke more than his desire to spend the money inside it. The bulge of the wallet always maintained its weight as that came out and went inside his hip pockets more often than the actual time it came out for spending. It never lost weight. He seldom departed with his beloved money. Though he was rich he was most apathetic to depart with his currency. He did spend once in a blue moon and when he did it was an amount spent in exchange for some profitable goods. Every penny saved was that penny earned remained his motto and I think that revealed his knack of remaining rich. Poor guy, what a waste being rich, I used to ponder.


The way he used to flip his opulent thumb and first finger in style and insert in his back pockets to pull out that rich bulging wallet with an air of attitude always mesmerized me. After it came out, the right-hand thumb went flip-flip-flip as it opened in style. Once my Uncle hastily had rushed to the bathroom which had an attached commode and didn’t return for twenty full minutes. When he had been to the bathroom and I had stealthily explored the magical wallet for a full ten minutes and its magnificent engineering still rules my mind. It was, later on, he learned that a day before he had consumed low-cost spicy roadside Bhujiya’s at the street corner and as it was late in the evening the hawker had found easy meat to dispose of his unsold goods. Eating was a cheap process but disposal turned out to be an expensive affair. Even as he returned from the bathroom he was so dehydrated that he was least bothered for his wallet. When I handed him his wallet, he had lazily tossed it on the table, which was so unusual behavior of him towards his beloved purse. I had fallen to the beauty of the wallet at first sight.


The wallet embraced three compartments, in one it had a small diary with alphabetically ordered pages, in which he meticulously maintained phone numbers of kinsfolks, in the second one with an inner flapped chamber and a small transparent plastic display he had a black and white photo of my aunt and cousins minus his own. The third was a more attention-grabbing chamber. It was a small jingling pocket hidden under a triangular flap funneling into a small leather piece of the belt holding the tapering flap. And as my Uncle’s thumb swapped the flap upwards the small pocket opened and went inside Uncle’s thumb and the first finger again, the same which were used to pull the complete wallet earlier, and stylishly came out few shining coins on to his thumb. It was magical for me, a teenage boy. The horizontal section was further compartmented by three partitions. I had appreciated the methodical arrangement and the distinctive feature of each note. The bluish hundreds on the last row standing tall graciously with self-esteem, pinkish fifties just peeping out ready to serve in the middle, red and gallant twenties and yellowish-brown truthful tens hidden as if they were simply the last resort to move out of their chambers and in the naughty jingling noisy coins, and as their namesake frequently changing companions in the small pocket. Adding to the glitz the telephone diary and the photo, all these had straightaway resulted in, me fantasizing of possessing one.

When I went to college I tried to emulate my uncle by placing a New Year gifted synthetic leather wallet, with the cloth merchants' name embossed boldly on it. I tried to keep in my back pocket, though it was most uneasy and irritating. I had painstakingly raised a few ten rupee notes from my pocket money for the purpose. Somehow these brownish-yellow beauties though were the same species as in my Uncles wallet, but mine lacked that relative glamour. Misery struck me when, after fifteen days, I just lost it, simply could not remember where I had removed and misplaced it and due to loss of habit simply did not pick it back. The poor little thing departed with fifteen rupees in it, one ten-rupee note, one-two rupee coin, and two one rupee coins and two fifty paisa coins in it to be precise. That poor piece of synthetic leather never witnessed a tribe like mine who had once returned a bulging wallet to the owner after searching him and had to remain contented with his new owner.


I was so disheartened that I never had the nerve to obtain a wallet again. This mindset changed when my Uncle resurfaced again. This time his visit was after a couple of months I had acquired a non-granted Lecturers job in a private college with peanut salary. He had the same wallet, only which it was a bit more pleasantly worn out like my gracious old grandmother. My granny’s gray hairs and soft wrinkles were the attributes I loved the most, it gave her a distinctive character, and authority which no one else had in my house. The wallet resembled the same. Being grown-up I was bold enough to ask my Uncle to show me his purse. He had given me pompously then. I had checked its engineering and like a bolt of lightning struck on my head I suddenly regained the urge to get a new wallet again.


No falling for freebies, this time, I had promised myself. I am going to buy one. I am a grown-up earning man now. Yes! Why did not I think of this earlier, maybe I should have bought one with my first ever salary, I thought. I went to the most expensive a gift shop in the town, bought one expensive leather wallet, though I never got the ditto color as my Uncle’s it was compromisingly satisfactory. The manufacturing was a bit different, but I loved it, except for the fact that it was rough and hard as compared to my Uncles soft one. I had inquired for a softer one and the seller had exhibited one which was soft as cheese but ten times more costly than the one which I was holding. Ah! It will just tear out, I want a rough and tough one and moreover it well matched my brown and tough Woodland’s leather shoes, I thought in a sour tone of mind. I closed my wandering mind and happily got it. In the shop itself, I had placed the remaining amount returned by the shopkeeper into my new wallet. I cautiously tucked it behind my hip pocket. I felt it heavy, without much money though, that desired feel was already there. Its hardness gave me an uneasy body feeling. I was a healthy man in the early twenties and my already round physiology was highlighted as one of my hips was bulging. I was ashamed a bit when I went to my friend’s house and my buddy coming from my back had expressed – Hey! Fatso – What’s up?? I asked why this new title, he said because I looked like one. I immediately removed the wallet and placed it in my shirt’s chest pocket. Not even one day and the glamour was robbed.


Later on, I tried a few clumsy styles, but I could never equal the natural panache my Uncle possessed. As days passed on neither the wallet bulged with money nor it lost its freshness. I used to deliberately use it while my hands were oily or dirty, but it retained its newness just more than ever. It even did not turn soft either and in my hip pocket, it was turning to be a real pain in the ass. It never allowed me to enjoy movies in the theaters and always sat in my shirt's chest pocket as if it too was interested in seeing the movie. Most of the times I had to put efforts in remembering it to carry to occasions. Even as I had retained it in my hip pockets, mostly I used to take out a few needed money and keep it for free availability in my shirts pocket. The basic purpose of the wallet was beginning to get killed. It remained here and there in my cupboard, drawers, bookshelves, once it got retrieved even from the dust bin. I was losing interest in it and was beginning to neglect it. It was becoming a difficult thing to maintain.


One fine day after many years (present time) my son happily came holding this very wallet of mine saying – see papa what I found! Can I keep this? I had said yes, it’s all yours, with a smile. But I remember saying in my mind – Go Ahead son make your day, for I could not make mine. It’s been two years since then my son lovingly harbors the wallet. He never seems to be tired of it. He had kept every imaginable thing under the sun inside it. Once I had found a colorful dead butterfly in it. He said it was lying dead on the terrace flower pot. Maybe some things find their rightful owners, there right lords. I think my wallet did find his. I was not the man suited for the purpose. Attitude is not inherited but it gets cultivated and it does at a very young age. Still today I have free notes in my shirts pocket, I could never maintain a wallet, my father never had any, but it looks like times change fast and things evolve, only one must be ready to accept. Today my son to loves a wallet.   



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