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The Wallet

An amusing story involving my grandfather Prafulla Kumar Basu.

TAGS: WHERNTO: heedism 

image of The Wallet

My mother related this story to me about my grandfather. She lived in his household as was often customary with East Indian families in the 1900s. These extended families were usually quite closely knit and often mutually supportive. My mother adored her father-in-law and it was through her that I found out about his character.

One day he came home with a large collection of Indian sweets. Everyone in the large household was surprised. It wasn't anyone's birthday. There was no religious festival. It wasn't even dinner time! What was this all about!

He was nowhere to be seen, so his wife directed the servants to set the sweets out. Lured by the spread, the rest of the household migrated to the very large table, but didn't partake in the goodies because they didn't know if they should.

After a short time, my grandfather showed up and encouraged everyone including the servants to help themselves! He was always known to be a most honest and kind gentleman, but his generosity usually had some rationale behind it. So between munching, the others kept asking him why he had bought all this for them!

Finally, he said with a mischievous smile, "My wallet was stolen today."

The congregation went into the typical hysterics that good family members are supposed to display at such a time of crisis. The servants, who also loved my grandfather, were quick to offer their sincere sympathies as well.

After recovering from the shock, my grandmother put a few pieces together and sharply asked him "Why are we eating sweets when your wallet was taken?!" This was followed by a similar chorus of inquisitiveness from the throng!

My grandfather ushered them to calm down and said, "I thought we should celebrate. The person who took my wallet probably much needed the money and will be able to celebrate with his family tonight. I wanted to celebrate his good fortune with my family!"