Empowerment. Engagement. Authenticity.

Prodigal Daughter

“Marriage isn’t a priority for me right now. I like my independence.” On the other end of the phone line, Ashmira heard her mother’s sharp intake of breath, could almost feel the shock jolt her like a lightning bolt. She continued. “I come and go as I please, cook or not if I feel like it. Clean when I remember.” The latter was a deliberate jab. Her mother was a houseworkaholic.

“Well,” she spluttered, “that’s how you feel now. But you must want someone to take care of you. You must want a nice house. And children…what about children?”

“I love children. I’m great with them. And then I give them back to their parents.”

She was breaking all the golden rules of solid East Indian upbringing but Ashmira didn’t care. Syed had the wife and kids, two houses, two cars. Her brother was living the dream…and working his butt off to maintain it. His kids spent ten hours a day in daycare, he and her sister-in-law worked full days, odd nights and occasional weekends so that their kids enjoyed the best of everything.

All the power to them. That rat race was not for her, Ashmira thought.

“So what did you cook for dinner?” her mother asked, going for nonchalance.

“On Sunday, I made pasta with veggies for the week.”

“No meat?”

“Don’t need meat everyday.”

Ashmira could imagine more alarm bells clanging in her mother’s head. First she didn’t want marriage or children and now she wasn’t eating meat everyday? What kind of Indian girl was she? Where had her mother gone wrong?

“You’re so Canadian,” her mother sighed, nonchalance degenerating into despair. “I don’t understand you anymore.”

Ashmira recalled the rush of ziplining across Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics. She thought of the joy of seeing her literacy students read and write a new word for the first time. “Life is what you make it,” Ashmira said. “Not everyone has to play by the same rules.”


 (c) Kristy Kassie, 2016

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Family Rules


Every family or close-knit group has rules. The inspiration for this piece came from wondering what would happen if a character broke one of these rules.

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