Is your wallet feeling light or heavy after last week? I have to ask this question because there were two paper presentations by researchers abroad and in India. Both papers were heavily researched, asked the right questions and provided no answers. Both were related to India, Indian Markets and Indian Institutions and of course individual Wallets. The papers weighed heavy on the mind and hearts of those connected to them in some way or the other, and heavy papers make for lighter wallets. Both were written by short sellers and immediately became best sellers. One was written by a true short seller, and the other by a team experienced in selling people short and both were defended to the teeth by their creators. It’s another matter that the teeth were dentures!
Do lighter wallets make for happier people? or do heavier ones? That is the before and after challenge that I seek to answer today. Happiness and pleasure are related but distinct concepts. Pleasure is a temporary positive experience, while happiness is a more long-term and holistic sense of well-being – So the textbook definition says.
Pleasure is sensual – like the feeling that a heavy wallet weighs you up with. Happiness, on the other hand, is when the wallet stays heavy for a long period despite being emptied periodically. They do tell us that happiness is nothing but an emotional state characterised by contentment. But where does this contentment come from – supposedly from Purpose, Meaning and Positive relationships – but all these are possible when the wallet weighs heavy, and not when its lightness weighs heavy on your mind. Right? Abraham Maslow was right – you can get to be yourself only after your wallet weighs you down enough to lift you.
There are many stories of rags to riches and of course riches to rags and just brags to riches. And we love to read them, for we are in between most. Neither up nor down and sold short most of the time. What does short selling mean? The activity of selling shares that you have borrowed, hoping that their price will fall before you buy them back and return them to their owner so that you make a profit: Now tell me, after the last week, do you feel you have been sold short?
Whether you feel it or not, is moot. You have to take a long position on yourself. That’s easier said than done, given the volatility in the life market. What you feel is also determined by the weight of your wallet at any given point in time! A wallet determines your motivation too. A heavy wallet becomes lighter when it is emptied, and only when it is emptied can it be filled again right? That would mean the drive and motivation levels would automatically be upped, while in case it’s already full, the drive and motivation would diminish. But that is where the science of desire deviates. The heavier it is, the heavier it must and probably will become. And the lighter it is, the heavier it must become! But that’s a challenge for magicians.
Filling a wallet can be done the hard way – as our hunter-gatherer forefathers did – or the lite way like most us like to do – the debate rages – Filter Coffee vs Instant Coffee! They had to hunt and wanted to do so hands-free – like when we listen to music or drive – and then gather the loot in a sling bag – that was the original purse.
Purse and Wallet. These are gender-sensitive terms. And remember always that it is the purse that carries the wallet. This is significant in more ways than one. But both are precious for they serve practical, organizational, security, identity, and stylistic purposes in our daily lives. They have become an inseparable part of our lives. If we are parted from them, our lives are in disarray – literally. Like when we are naked and can’t find our clothes on the beach?
Wallets carry our most important possessions – Coloured bits of paper we call cash, that contain promises of equality (“I promise to pay the bearer..”), but in reality, offer only diminishing equity so you require more of it to retain your balance – literally and figuratively. That’s why enough can never be enough perhaps. The modern wallet contains not only broken promises, but cards – Credit, Club, and Identity. If you are without a card these days, you are a nobody. They are like flash cards. You flash them and the information is read! Everywhere. And of course, a photograph of yourself, and your loved ones who might just feel less loving as the wallet becomes lighter. That’s how important it is! and it was always so! Some may think that the emergence of wallets has been fairly recent and its origins go back a long way!
It is surprising to realize that wallets are most certainly as old as mankind itself and were required as soon as we needed to transport important items. The shape of the wallet that we’re all now familiar with, most likely originated around the time we began to use paper money. The bifold style which was the first modern money holder was designed to fold paper money in half for easy storage. Now it becomes half on its own!
The earliest wallets were more like purses than in their current form. Then it was coins and important items for hunting and gathering! The origin of the word Wallet can be traced back to the ancient Greek word Kibisis which was the word used to describe the sack carried by the God Hermes. Kibisis has historically been translated as Wallet which around 1834 became flat and foldable and was primarily used by the Americans! Wallets began to take the shape we are familiar with in the mid-17th century, mainly owing to the introduction of paper currency. The flat paper currency was first introduced in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1690. Earlier, Greeks and Romans hid their wallets in their togas, now we do so in our jeans!
But why go on and on about a Wallet that is getting lighter by the day and may disappear into your mobile soon? It is already halfway there, if I may say so with the advent of eWallets and the digital rupee. There is a reason. Because the other half – the half that still exists might have been affected by the papers presented last week that could not paper over the cracks that were Hidden. Hiddenberg, we call them!
The first was a first in many senses of the word. An American David took on an Indian Goliath with a slingshot. David was a Shot Seller after all. And the shorts have now lengthened into a Pyjama. But sleep is still hard to come by. Pained, but not crippled by the accurate slingshot, Goliath claimed the attack was unwarranted, and an attack on the country and its institutions no less, by small-minded people, much like Gulliver did.
And yet, Goliath could not short the shorter! His Follow on Public Offer was followed on by a Public cancellation announcement and a clamour for an investigation by those normally at the receiving end of such investigations. This seemed strange because in recent times such investigations have not needed any clamour to be initiated. The agencies are keen on them to keep themselves occupied and relevant to the powers that be. But not this time. Maybe they need to give them (or themselves) a little time! Was Hindenburg the iceberg that would sink the modern titanic? Doubtful. Icebreakers surround the Iceberg, and only the tip is chipped. There is much that is hidden below the flowing water It’s the Hiddenberg that might bury it undersea in a port of choice if there is an investigation as clamoured for by those previously investigated! If. (Not Rudyard Kipling’s. Certainly not).
And then there was the Budget. Not sure if anyone even listens to it these days, or reads it, other than those paid to debate it on TV and of course the accountants – it keeps them happy because every year it adds new complexity to a simple plus and minus game and keeps them in business! It was just another paper presentation that used ChatGPT extensively! Not literally perhaps – but the bot is trained that way – to use the word growth as a keyword in appropriate places! In infrastructure and health, and of course tax. A new regime to replace the old. One that is still full of it… Tax!
Now check your Kibisis – Is it lighter than last week?
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connection with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.