Feb 29, 2024
Feb 29, 2024
by Vinod Joseph
The Prime Minister of Tawa –- 37
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Rhymala did not like the newly autonomous Seedaland. Not one bit. The initial tranche of money had been used to refurbish a few government buildings and ministerial residences. The governor’s residence had been cleaned up and redecorated for use by Hanoleeyan, the First Minister of Seedaland. Rhymala too was offered a bungalow since she was also a part of the council of twelve ministers. She was not too keen on the house, but the small house owned by her parents had been destroyed by the Tawan army many years ago and she had nowhere to stay. She could not continue to stay with other people. Whatever money was left over after redoing the buildings was used to buy a dozen SUVs for the use of Seedaland’s ministers. Having done all that, the autonomous council of Seedaland awaited the arrival of the rest of the promised money.
Seedaland was in a bad state. The few roads that Seedaland had were full of craters and potholes. The Central Hill District had been considered too mountainous to build a railway line through it and many people in Seedaland had never seen a train in their lives. Electricity supply was quite irregular in Eko and never for more than a few hours a day. The rest of Seedaland did not have any electricity at all. Most houses did not have running water. The few drainage systems that had existed before the insurgency began were clogged and in urgent need of repairs. Garbage collection was erratic, and the smell of uncollected garbage was omnipresent in Eko. Almost all buildings in Eko were pockmarked with bullet holes. Many were in an advanced state of decay. A few had started crumbling, but still had people living in them. Some had actually fallen down, but their ruins continued to shelter people.
None of the ministers had any idea about governance. A few of them were still idealistic. But most of them were not. They were yet to properly divide their responsibilities among themselves. In the interim, Rhymala was in charge of information technology, telecommunications, press, broadcasting etc.
The person who surprised Rhymala the most was Hanoleeyan himself. Within two months of signing the peace treaty, Hanoleeyan decided to get married. What was more, he found himself a bride less than half his age, the daughter of one of his chief lieutenants. It had been a gross sight when sixty-three-year-old Hanoleeyan led his twenty-five year old bride around a sacred grove with a twig from a Konan tree struck in her hair. The Seedas rejoiced at Hanoleeyan’s decision to get married. They had always had tribal chiefs who took on new wives till they died. And Hanoleeyan was definitely more important than any chief.
There were times when Rhymala wished she had never taken up the SFF’s cause. She ought to have stayed on in Hepara and lived a normal life or a life as near to normal as possible. What did the SFF do for the Seedas other than bring them untold misery and pain? They had fought for a principle, but principles were only a means to an end, weren’t they? Thirty years ago, Rhymala would not have agreed with that. But now she did.
Maybe she should also find someone to marry her, Rhymala thought with a smile. It would be so very easy to find a Seeda man willing to marry a sixty-year-old woman, wouldn’t it? She was tempted to express such a desire, just to find out if anyone would come forward, even though she would end up as the laughingstock of the whole Seeda tribe.
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