The Ashes

She stood on the banks of river Varuna, holding her father’s ashes close to her heart. It was hard to let go of his last shred of human existence. The man who had cooked her a delicious mutton curry just ten days ago, was no more. Her heart was filled with a giant hope that he had only renounced the fabric of one life, in a journey of thousand such lifetimes. That his weary soul took off on a correctional path leaning into the vastness of the universe in order to restore its balance. And, when he was ready, he would once again choose another life, in a different form. His ashes rode flamboyantly on the shimmering waves. So close to the way he had lived his entire life. High spirited. That even his death was a statement. He had chosen to leave the ailing body much before it could drown his gigantic spirit.

She had once heard the astrologer’s prediction that this was his last human birth. What animate form he would take, she began to wonder. There was a bird laying a nest next to her window. Could it be her father watching over her? A homeless puppy clinging to her feet one stormy night suddenly seemed more than a mere coincidence. Was it her father looking for shelter? A new sapling growing in her garden kindled her interest. She could no longer pluck a flower for an offering or crush an ant coldly with her feet. He was everywhere.

A night before he died he had opened his eyes, lying still on the hospital bed, for a very brief moment. She had gently massaged his head telling him to let go of the enormous pain he was silently going through. He smiled, like he had read her mind. Their eyes spoke. He told her he would return to her. And, she would wait, graciously, as long as it took for the universe to promote him into his next human life. It was in that moment, she had precisely known why she was not blessed with a child for so many years. He was the one her womb had been waiting for. He would rise from his ashes, one day.

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