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A Concoction of Fate
Sweat pours down my forehead, as tears escape from my eyes. My heart beats- pounding faster and faster until it seems as though I will surely die.
I look around me.
I am in prison.
The walls enclose me in their subduing darkness
They laugh at me…
Haunt me- taunt me…
As they remind me of my misfortune.
But no matter what they say-
I am innocent- and even God cannot deny this fact.
I look around at the prison walls. I am truly afraid. Yet ever since I was a child- I would always write to help me cope with my feelings. It calms me- and gives me the courage to move on in life. But no matter what happens, the clock is ticking, and my time is running out. Whoever shall read this after my death- shall know the truth behind who I truly am.
I was once the cook of the royal empire of the Rajputs- the mighty clan of warriors of India. I would pride myself that it was through my hard work, that the emperor would have the strength to defend the Kingdom.
But most important of all- I was loyal.
Yet the moment I was accused of poisoning the feast of the crown prince- my respect from the King was lost. I knew I was innocent- for my conscience would never accept me if I had ever committed such a crime- yet who would believe me? Once accused- forever stained. That’s what society is like.
At first I heard the rumors- the whispers that blew like a wildfire.
“Have you heard? The Crown Prince has been poisoned!”
For some odd reasons- I didn’t feel good about this. I tried to convince myself that this was all a figment of my imagination. But no matter what I did, my sixth- sense proved me right. There was trouble.
I was arrested. After all, I was the overseer cook- therefore it was natural that I was accused of poisoning the crown prince. I was doomed. How on earth was I going to prove to the King that I was innocent?
For hours- as it seemed, I contemplated the matter solemnly- trying to make sense of the situation. I walked around the prison cell- taking a mental note of the aura.
My heart was beating…
The air was pungent…
And there was darkness…
Not a solace for the fear of my heart…
So I tried to thinking of my new born grandchild. I tried thinking of God- no matter what I did, my efforts were useless, for my heart was distracted with the thoughts of being innocent- yet branded guilty.
Suddenly, a guard pulled open the prison cell gate.
“You have been summoned to court.” He looked at me blankly.
“Can you tell me what this is all about?” I asked. I knew I was innocent no matter what they accused me of. A new confidence surged through my soul.
“You will have to see for yourself.”
As I walked up the long flight of stairs, my arms chained behind me, my feelings couldn’t be described. On one hand, I was confident, and on the other, I was terrified. All I could hear was the great thudding of my heart, as well as the sound of my shoes upon the marble floors.
I then realized that I had entered the court of Maharaj Chandrasekhar- the greatest Emperor of all times.
“Maharaj ki jai ho! Maharaj ki jai ho!”
The emperor had taken his seat upon his throne. When I first saw him, I felt the awe of his presence. He was adorned in the most precious of silks- blue in hue, as his countless necklaces shone like stars in the night sky.
He sat high above us, his eyes surveying the scene. His eyes fell onto me, for I was directly in the middle of the court, awaiting my destiny.
I then looked into his eyes- and then I realized his anxiety. He was pale with the pain of worry.
I bowed my head in presence of the king.
He then spoke.
“Chitrasen,” He looked at me- his words piercing through my soul. “You are the royal cook of this palace- and my son has been poisoned- and in this situation, the royal physician is helpless. It was your responsibility to oversee the food, therefore you are suspected of poisoning my son. For this reason you were arrested. Do you have anything to say to this?”
I nodded my head, slowly choosing my words in my mind.
“Maharaj, not only am I innocent, but I am loyal. For generations, the people of my family have served you with their full heart. I have no motive to kill the crown prince; therefore I haven’t committed this atrocity. There must be an assassin, in the Kingdom. I have always suspected Rajeev- your new cook! You must believe me sire- for I am innocent!”
He looked at me skeptically- as though I was making this up to save my life. I was then suddenly reminded of my father- who was skilled in Ayurveda.
I then quickly added-
“However, I would like to inform you that I know the antidote of the poison- and I can bring it to your son.”
His eyes enlarged as soon as he had heard my words. I must have convinced him.
“Antidote? You know the antidote!”
“Yes- for my father was skilled in Ayurveda- the ancient art of medicine.”
“You have pleased me. I give you permission to find this antidote. My soldiers shall accompany you.”
“As you wish” I bowed.
I then left the court thanking God for saving me. Indeed, the Emperor was kind to let me off. Confidence surged through me. It was now my duty to find the medicine, and save the prince. The weight of the dynasty was now upon my shoulders, for without an heir, the Kingdom would perish to dust.
I embarked upon my journey to find the Sanjivani- the antidote of the powerful poison. I would then squeeze the plant into a juice, and serve it to the prince. My plan was laid out perfectly. Everything would work out. I knew it would!
After several days of searching for the plant, I found the Sanjivani, deep in the thickness of the forest. My heart beat with the thrill of new life. Surely the Prince would be saved!
The soldiers then accompanied me back to the kingdom. I sat upon the chariot as the horses pulled away. The soldiers followed us in rhythmic suit.
And then something happened…
As we rode into the great city of Rajasthan, something clearly wasn’t right. There was a gloomy aura to things.
Not a bird chirped in the sky…
As no one was seen upon the streets…
The doors were shut, as though pushing out evil omens…
My sixth sense started to kick in. I could tell that something was wrong. I held the Sangivani plant carefully- hoping that it would save the prince from the clutches of death.
God help me!
The guards bid me way to the chamber of the prince. Maharaj Chandrasekhar was also present there, his eyes eagerly awaiting my arrival.
I then set out to finish my work. I placed the leaves within the large stone mortar and, and began grinding them. The crisp leaves soon turned to a paste, from which an oozing green liquid came out. My task had been proved fruitful.
I then poured the concoction into a small brass cup, and took it to the prince- who was lying asleep upon his bed.
I tried opening his mouth to pour in the liquid- but his face had turned cold and pale.
I felt his pulse.
The crown prince had died before I could have saved him.
The crown prince had died- and now the moments of my death come too. After the King had heard of the death of his son- his grief and anguish knew no bounds.
The queen of the Rajputs however, could not contain herself.
She felt as though it was my fault that her beloved son had not survived. As she sat upon her throne- her eyes soon turned into an unholy red, conveying the rage of her anger.
“Chitrasen! I award you the death penalty- for it was because of you that my son is dead today. Had you done your job more efficiently as the overseer- my son would have survived!”
After that, I was taken back to the familiar setting of the dungeons. So here I am in the prison, awaiting my death.
The clock is ticking, and my time is running out, and these final moments, I shall voice my opinion.
Maharaj, if this memoir of mine ever reaches you- then hear my words:
I suspect Rajeev as the rivalry or an assassin- for I never did anything wrong. I always tried to protect you in all of my work, but the slip of poison was something beyond my control. Although I have no evidence to prove him guilty, I have a strong feeling that it was him.
You have ignored these words of mine before. Don’t neglect them again!
Your loyal servant,