Ever wondered who invented money? What would happen if they saw the world now? Would they still invent it? That is the idea behind the story. Keep in mind that it is still in it's early stages.
‘What is it Abira?’ the barking grew more and more desperate. Panic struck as she realised what was happening, they were being robbed. Amala screamed, hoping that someone would hear. It wasn’t until later that night when her husband Abhi got home. Frustrated, he pounded his fist against the wall.
‘It’s not your fault daddy,’ he looked up to find his son staring at him, holding out a loaf of bread to reassure him. He managed a half-smile and ruffled Abhin’s hair before turning away, how can I look him in the eye when I am such a coward?
While his family thought that Abhi had been hunting during the robbery, he was actually crafting spears, the only thing that made him feel manly. He was terrified of wild animals, and therefore could not hunt. As a child, he was attacked by a wild boar that had managed to escape from a lion. He shook as he recalled the memory.
The next day, he was anxiously pacing as he waited for the doctor who was talking to his wife. He could hear her crying and he rushed to her room.
‘What is it my dear?’
‘I’m afraid that your wife is very ill, she doesn’t have long to live…I can fix it but I will require thirty of your best livestock.’
‘But, doctor, we just got robbed…we cannot afford it.’
‘I’m sorry, I myself have a family to provide for. We cannot afford hunt like you,’ if only you knew, Abhi thought. He waited for the doctor to leave before banging his head on the wall, what am I supposed to do now? He had known Amala since he was three, they had grown up together and he had promised to marry her. He couldn’t imagine what life would be like without her. As he reminisced, there was a soft knock at the door. And he opened it to find an old lady draped in a dark gown.
‘I understand that your wife is ill.’
‘Yes, but how did you know?’
‘I know many things dear, let me come inside and I’ll show you what I mean.’ He hesitated for a moment but let her in anyway.
She took what appeared to be a crystal from her bag and placed it on the table, ‘Have you ever wondered what the future will be like? How your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will live? Look into this crystal ball and you will see…’
He could only watch with wide eyes as he looked, he saw giant huts lined up side by side, which the woman told him were streets. He then saw large diagrams next to roads and on buildings, one of which had a nearly naked woman on it. This, the old lady explained, was advertising.
‘Instead of barter you see, people exchange goods for money. It’s considered much more valuable.’
‘More valuable than livestock? I must get my hands on this money!’
She handed him some cowrie shells, ‘Here, take this and negotiate with your supplier how much he wants in exchange for livestock.’ Grateful, he thanked her.
Months had passed since the old lady’s visit. The cowrie shells were enough to last a lifetime, but he needed something more durable, easier to carry around…he also found that the more he could buy, the more he wanted. He even began sleeping with the neighbour’s daughter, his wife was dying after all and Akriti was much younger, which meant that she would be around longer. As he thought about her, he was interrupted by a young man at the door.
‘That old lady that came here, I’m her great-great-grandson and I’m here to stop you.’
‘Did she send you?’
‘That’s not important, look what you’re doing, and your poor wife. She trusted you.’
Abhi began to cry, ‘I-I don’t know what to do…I cannot continue like this. Why did your grandmother visit me?’
‘Great-great-grandmother,’ he corrected. ‘I think she wanted to show you that you’re not as weak as you think you are. You may not be able to hunt but you love and care about your family. You were able to provide for them.’
‘Then why is my Amala dying?’
‘She will get better. Here, give her this,’ he handed Abhi a small bottle. ‘It’s medicine, we have many great medical advances in the future. But what my great-great-grandmother didn’t tell you is that people are still poor, homeless even.’
‘Homeless? But how can that be?’
‘Housing is expensive, kids run away from home. But not because they are poor, they feel unaccepted and that has a lot to do with society. Everything has become about money you see, and people care less about each other.’
Abhi nodded, ‘And that is why I must stop.’ The invention of money would have to wait.