Asha Thanki

Asha Thanki's work has appeared in The Nation, Cosmonauts Avenue and The Spectacle. She lives in Washington, D.C., working on short fiction and creative nonfiction while tweeting away at @ashathanki.

December Nonfiction: "Divine Menageries" by Asha Thanki

All we have for divine guidance in this world are the stories our parents pass down, the hope that the rituals we think matter actually do. It’s both comforting and terrifying how fallible our gods are.


At 16, I declared myself an atheist. My sister, quite surprisingly, was most put off by the announcement. She had never shown an indication towards devotion or tradition — not more than our family required of us — but something in her saw this as a betrayal. When she looked at me, perplexed, I could nearly read her mind: Are you ashamed? Are you shedding something?

Should I be shedding something, too?

My mother simply nodded and said, “Okay. Do what you’ve got to do,” as though she felt, somehow, that I would inevitably return to her side of this debate.