Shiksha Dheda uses poetry (mostly) to express her OCD and depression roller-coaster ventures. Sometimes, she dabbles in photography, painting, and baking lopsided layered cakes. Her piece, ‘My Mother’s Tongue’, can be found in EPOCH Issue 03: Roots, available to purchase here.
Why do you write CNF, and do you explore other genres in your work?
I mostly write poetry. A large portion of my poems are seeped in reality, so technically a large portion of my poetry is CNF. However, to answer the question; I write CNF because I find it extremely liberating. Often, we feel ashamed and invalidated because of our feelings. Sometimes, we feel no one will ever really understand how we feel. Sometimes, we feel no one will think our feelings are justified. When I write CNF (and poetry in general), I feel more ‘seen’, more visible, more ‘real’ in some sense.
Did you have a piece already written when you learned about Epoch’s theme, or did you write a new piece? If so, how did you approach the theme of Roots in the creation of your work?
I had a piece prior to seeing the call for submissions. When I saw the call, I realised the piece that I had written would be a great fit. My piece centres around how a “foreign” accent creeps into the English dialect, unbeknownst to the speaker. For me, that is a representation of how our roots, our traditions, our ancestors are still a part of us whether we acknowledge that(or them) or not.
What is the biggest challenge when writing CNF?
The biggest challenge in my opinion, is how to make something that is relevant to you [as the speaker] and is subjective, have a universal and/or objective message that is relatable to everyone(or a large audience, at least). We find (as we progress through life), that we are more similar to one another than we think. The feelings we experience are universal; even if the experience(s) itself is not. Trying to convey this is the biggest challenge, I think.
What’s your favourite piece of art in your home?I do not come from an artistically inclined household, hence we have never really invested in artwork. I do, however, remember buying a ceramic dodo piece in Mauritius a few years back. We had to buy the piece as my younger sister dropped it by accident in the gift shop. I glued it back together when we returned home from our vacation. If you look carefully, you can see the cracks in the dodo’s head. That piece brings back so many memories of that vacation; that is why I enjoy looking at it.