The playful waters of Ganga flowed by merrily, making noise as children would. ‘As Baba would!’ thought Mrs.A.

            It was very early in the morning, and Mrs. A sat on the banks of the cold, and divine Ganga, watching other people bathe their sins. Taking one dip in the pious waters of Ganga washes off the sins of all the incarnations. One is freed from the circle of life and death. One gets moksh!

            Mrs.A wasn’t a particularly religious woman but she somehow believed in this folklore. Ganga’s waters were pure. Anyone would be cleansed at just one glance of it, let alone a dip. Ganga seemed to cool the restlessness of the mind that Mrs.A was experiencing since she had landed in Rishikesh. In fact, Mrs. A’s restlessness dated way back, when she and her husband Mr.A lost their only child, the 5-year-old Baba, in a freak accident. He fell off a toy horse and died because of an internal brain hemorrhage.

            It had been 18 months since Mrs. A’s loss but she still struggled to deal with it. Mr.A blamed Mrs.A, and Mrs.A blamed Mr.A for the mishap, but both of them knew that no matter how much they fought or blamed each other, their son will never come back. Since none of them was able to look the other in the eyes after the accident, Mr. and Mrs. A officially separated. Mr.A moved to Delhi from Gurugram to live with his parents, while Mrs. A bought a house on rent at Gurugram where she worked as an IT professional. The house they had bought together after they were married 8 years ago had too many memories: Baba was conceived in the house, in fact, Mrs.A had given birth to Baba right on the living room floor. After that, it was like every inch of the house belonged to Baba. Mrs.A had painted his favorite children’s book’s characters on his bedroom wall – a tiny giraffe, a thin elephant, and a donkey. Baba always loved donkeys, and it was the machine donkey he was riding that short-circuited as he was sitting on it, and the poor child was thrown off it rather forcefully, to land on his head a few yards away. ‘Mummy!’ was his last, painful word before he fell unconscious, dying within 30 minutes, in Mummy’s arms. His first happy words were ‘Papa!’.

            Mr. and Mrs. A sold off that house and distributed the amount equally between the two. And it was only last month that they decided to make the separation legal when Mr.A sent her the already-signed divorce papers. It was Mrs.A’s turn now. She hadn’t signed them immediately. Instead, she had brought those papers to Rishikesh with her, on the banks of Ganga.

            Mrs.A looked around as she saw happy families laughing, smiling, and taking dips in the holy river. Mrs. A took out the papers and looked at them. A pang of loneliness suddenly enveloped her heart. Their marriage was over the moment their child left this world. In fact, this was just a formality, even for Mrs.A, but for some reason, she couldn’t bring herself to sign those papers. What would happen next? Will she die lonely? There was no love, sure, but what about companionship? Mr.A was a good companion. They had a wonderful friendship before getting married, a friendship that their marriage had ended. Will she miss Mr.A? Should they give another chance to the already shriveled plant of their marriage? What about Baba? Is Baba happy where he is? And..where is he?

            Indecisiveness and sadness plagued Mrs.A’s heart. She knew she had to ask Mother Nature.

            She took a handful of Ganga water in her palms and murmured a prayer. “Hey Maa Gange, if divorcing Mr. A is the right decision, kindly give me a sign. Should I sign the papers? What will become of me? And how is my son?”, her voice broke as she prayed, and suddenly she felt someone sniffing her toe. She looked down to see a cute, little black puppy, looking at her longingly. With the water of Ganga still in her hands, Mrs.A couldn’t stop staring at the puppy. The puppy licked her toes lovingly and then hopped onto her lap. And then the puppy did something that cleared all the restlessness in Mrs.A’s heart – it looked straight into her eyes!  Mrs.A immediately melted. The puppy’s eyes were innocent and had all the love in the world – just like Baba’s eyes had. Not losing eye contact, the puppy curled up comfortably in her lap as if it always belonged there. Mrs.A couldn’t move for a while. The puppy’s eyes found her palm full of Ganga water, still upright. Playfully, the puppy pulled the hand down, and licked the water off her hands. A sudden rush of warm affection filled Mrs.A’s, cold heart. Tears started flowing from her eyes and the only word that she managed to say was “Baba!’, and as soon as the name was uttered, the puppy once again looked straight into Mrs.A’s eyes – as if agreeing to it, and gave a little bark. Then he playfully rolled over in her lap, jumped down, and played around its new mother.

            Mrs. A had received her answer. She wasted no time in taking out a pen. She signed the divorce papers. She had now made up her mind to raise Baba – the little, cute, black, fury puppy who she had just met – on her own, the exact way she would have raised her own child.  ‘Baba’ called Mrs. A to the puppy playing a little farther, holding a biscuit, and Baba came running, eating the biscuits off her hand, then curling up again in her lap. Mrs. A happily got up, took Baba in her arms, and walked off – with Ganga playfully flowing, as if merrily laughing at the cosmic reunion of the mother and the son.