Tuesday, August 4, 2020
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The Magic Potion

A pale moon glimmered outside her window. Yellow. Jaundiced.

She sat hunched in a Baroque chair. Pensive. A grim smile dotted her thin lips.

A storm was brewing outside. Inside her too.

***************************************************

Rajyalakshmi Verma – the daughter of late chief minister Rajan Verma – was appointed the chief minister after his untimely demise eleven years ago. She’d since been elected twice again. By far her reign had been flawless and non-controversial. The various departments in her government ran like the well-oiled cogs of a machine. She had created a highly structured and efficient system within the party also. She ruled her people with an iron hand but she still had them eating out of her hands.

Over the years, her clout in the party had risen tremendously and she was already being touted as the next prime minister. ‘You have all the qualities and traits of your illustrious father’, Pawar ji – a fellow CM had complimented her at a meeting called by the party high command to discuss the elaborate media campaign for the upcoming elections. He had slyly hinted at supporting her claim for the top position, with the right offer, of course.

She was going to trounce the opposition again.

If only the new entrant was not bent upon ruining it all for her!

‘You and your old-fashioned welfare state ideas! Time to retire and hand over the responsibilities of governance to young blood, isn’t it?’ he had commented cheekily at her proposal of a new reservation scheme for backward communities. ‘They are leeches sucking at the state’s resources. And they’re multiplying at an alarming rate. Stop feeding them, for God’s sake. Socialism doesn’t help anyone’.

His haughtiness singed her. His insolence frightened her. She saw reflections of her own past in his brown eyes.

‘Let me handle the burgeoning population if you can’t do it’ was so reminiscent of her own fiery self years ago.

Was history going to repeat itself?

But how dare he even think of taking over everything she had so painstakingly built over the years? Would she – the most powerful chief minister in the country – let a newbie topple her throne so unceremoniously?

But would she be able to stop him? He – who was her own creation, her own protege. She had nurtured him with love, trusted with her well-kept secrets, tricks and strategies. He was ambitious, a firebrand leader in the making.

‘Is he going to be my biggest regret?’ Thick lines creased her wide forehead.

Did she have a choice? He was raging like a vicious tornado…wild and ominous. Would she allow him to trample over herself, just because he was her own?

No. She knew how to tame the wildest of storms. She would write her own history. Once again.

It was not a happy choice, but less grievous than letting herself be ruined.

She picked up a glass and poured her magic potion. For her son.

Just as she had done eleven years ago. For her father.

***

The above story is an entry into #TheChoice a Five00 entry.
Check out event guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/five00-6/

***

Photo by Bence Boros

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Seema Taneja
Seema Taneja
Seema Taneja is a former teacher of English. She expresses herself through fiction and poetry in English and Hindi. She also writes on matters concerning politics, economics, gender and lifestyle issues. Photography is her other love.
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