My Father’s Wallet

You can tell a lot about a person from the contents of their purse/wallet.

  For a man with so many accomplishments, My Father was at heart a simple man. He wasn’t very tall or well-built or stylish. But he has a presence that was unmistakable. He had a command on his work, on his expertise. One could not mess with him or be ill prepared. He rose in his accidental career because he had no choice but to invest himself deeply into it to support a huge family. But his needs and wants were very simple.

 The days after my father passed away were a blur of activities and people coming and going. When you are in pain, especially after a sudden loss, you don’t register much. You go about these activities and meeting people and talk in a haze, almost on autopilot. I had the kids to take care of, which gave me some distraction and well …that was as much in a haze as well. 

 One thing I do remember is opening the drawer of Daddy’s table and seeing all his personal items. His stationary, business cards, writing paper, his wallet and his watch. I used to pick up his wallet and feel its smooth leather, smell its familiar scent and then keep it back. A few days later; before we left for Mumbai, I opened it.  

In his wallet were pictures of his grandchildren, a picture of mum and him, a small card with a prayer on it, his business card,  few stamps and crisp notes not even adding up to Rs.100.

Just re-read that sentence and let it sink in. 

I think it defines him. I think it tells stories of what his heart thought and prayed for. I think it shows the Man he was. He still is for me. 

And it also boils down to this… 

  • When we are young we chase the illusion of success, we covet the worldly things we feel is attributed to that successes.
  • we may also believe other people’s perspective of what success looks like 
  • we travel looking for answers and vision
  • At the end of it lies the truth that – if you go by “People’s” standard, ‘it’ will never be enough.
  • We take nothing when we go.

So I’ve come to a conclusion that to understand who and what we care most about, we don’t have to look far. We will go through life instinctively collecting little things that remind us of them. Maybe in a wishful or hopeful attempt to keep them close to us.


My Father’s wallet, watch and some of the pictures.