Shiksha S Dheda
South African of Indian descent, Shiksha Dheda uses writing to express her rollercoaster ride of OCD and depression – but mostly, to avoid working on her Master's. Sometimes dabbling in photography, painting or the baking of lopsided layered cakes, Shiksha has had her writing featured in Brittle Paper, The Daily Drunk, Door is a Jar and Epoch Press. She's also The Pushcart Prize nominated author of Washed Away.
When I think about
writing about flowers
The world is falling apart. Tearing itself into pieces. Then breaking those pieces into tinier pieces. It’s chewing itself up. Crunchingly.
Spitting itself out. Vomiting. Convulsing.
Should I be writing about flowers at this time? Should I be getting lost in a garden? In a beautiful world of growth and beauty when war rages around me? Should I write about flowers when the weeds of negativity, of malice, of suspicion, of anger, of desolation are fed by the never-faltering winds of my pessimism? Carried on the backs of minute ants – too small to comprehend that the salty sugar pieces that they carry will create a sculpture of paranoia – of nervous frustration – in some abandoned corner of my mind. Should I be writing about flowers when the anxious caterpillars of my obsessions burrow into my hands – eating them from the inside out, leaving behind beautiful wretched blood butterflies – bared, naked for all to see – to marvel, to mock:
my insanity; a kaleidoscope of my helpless, vulnerable, aggressive, disappointing scars.
Should I really be writing about flowers?
Come, eat. Come, drink.
It’s my party
– everyone’s invited.
Eat this bread.
– from the labours of my love
– from the frustrations of my bored hours.
Drink this punch.
– after months of trying different concoctions
– after days of crying on the floor in defeat.
Sit at my table.
Worn out now
– from days spent trying to be productive
– from nights struggling to sleep, laughing at endless memes.
Lay your hands next to mine.
Cracked and raw now
– from washing and washing, and washing
– from waiting and waiting, and waiting.
Let me hear your voice.
I yearn for it now
– after months of sobriety
– after months of starvation,
let your champagne voice flood my home,
let your streamer hair flow across my table,
let your confetti gaze lock eyes with my parched stare.
It's my party
– everyone’s invited.
I remember the war
– intense, bloody –
I fought for what I thought was right.
Fought for what I thought would make a better country;
a better home.
For all of us.
Wanting to be courageous,
reluctantly so at points,
wanting to carry you;
even if I had to bear you
upon my own weary back.
I thought we had won the war.
I thought it would be worth it at the end.
Stumbling back home,
I see the native flag.
I see my home.
I see you.
– by my wounds –
– my scars –
I cannot bear your silence
– your reluctance –
– your evading line of vision.
I yearn now for the sound of bullets,
long for the uncertainty of spontaneous explosions,
thirst for the imminent possibility of mangled death,
– the opportunity to die a martyr.
A celebrated hero.
Not live as a burden.
– daily –
– embattled –
– at war –
Against this civil society.