In conversation with Shikha S. Lamba

Our readers would like to know your inspiration (or story, if any) behind For My Freedom Fighter Nani.

This piece was inspired by my Nani (maternal grandmother). I didn’t get to spend too much time with her growing up as I was in boarding school, but in my younger years, my mother would leave me with her quite often. This poem speaks of our time together and what I remember of it. 

Tell us more about your creative process in general.

I wouldn’t say I have a process really. I came back to poetry, or rather poetry came back to me after a 17-year hiatus. I joined a writing group two years back where we meet (online) three times a week. During these hours 100% of my focus is on poetry. I read poetry daily, even if I’m not writing. I’ve intentionally made poetry a part of my daily life one way or the other. Apart from that, when I write, I’m usually sitting at my desk, with a candle lit and soft instrumental jazz playing in the background. 

Do you have any creative influences? What do you like the most about their work? Does it have a discernible effect on your writing?

My writing hasn’t been influenced by anyone in particular but there are many, many writers/poets I admire. More than a certain style, I am drawn to writers who tell the kind of stories that go on to have lives beyond the pages of their books. These stories/poems have the ability to create real change in the world. I admire work I am emotionally moved by.

While I don’t strive to do that with all my poems, I am instinctively drawn to writing about topics that I want to raise awareness about, most of which have to do with women’s empowerment and women’s mental and physical health issues. 

Are there any creative genres, forms, themes, techniques etc. you wish you could employ in your writing which you haven’t yet?

So many, really. There is much I still have to learn about the craft. I would love to give ghazals a try. I would also like to write more erasure poetry, it’s the one form I’ve had most fun with. Many of my poems are serious and intense, and I would love to surprise myself (and my readers) with poems that contain more humour. If I feel brave enough, maybe I would try a short story or two as well.

What are you looking forward to in your creative career?

A cliched but honest answer would be, a collection of my poems published and on bookshelves around the world.  More than that my dream and hope is to keep writing, book or not. I would also love to collaborate with other poets on meaningful projects.

Shikha S. Lamba is a jewelry designer and poet living in Hong Kong. She is also the co-editor of an online magazine, Coffee and Conversations. Shikha has contributed poetry for various publications and anthologies in Hong Kong, the US, the UK, Bangladesh, Indonesia and India. Passionate about raising awareness about women’s health and mental health issues through her writing, her poems often touch on themes of feminism and social injustice.