When Shikainah is not practicing as a psychologist with the NHS, where she specialises in trauma and refugee groups and contributes to the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s global clinical practice network, she works as a freelance writer and theatre reviewer.
Shikainah speaks fluent Hindi, Urdu and Tamil, devours Agatha Christies, visits non-touristy places, savours Earl Grey tea at 4pm and cooks for her family and friends. She held on to her little Nokia phone until early 2019, at which point – and after much kicking and screaming – she was finally forced to upgrade to a smartphone in order to keep up with her work.
As a Story Terrace writer, Shikainah interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
Not Just a Cup of Coffee…
“And to all those lovely people out there who helped me… you know who you are!” says a famous actress on TV upon winning an Oscar award, blowing kisses to the audience, watched by millions. I see this, but that line suddenly makes me high-speed rewind to a time in my life when a cup of coffee was a luxury…
In my mind’s eye, a woman appears: an ordinary woman working at the till one morning at the local café. She asks us what we want. We look at each other for what seems like eternity, but is actually only a few seconds, and we arrive at the same decision independently. When she hears that we want one cup of coffee and one cup of hot water, she looks at us one second longer than she would her other customers. We are there waiting for a friend, but we don’t have enough to buy a coffee each. We take a seat at a quiet table and wait for our ‘orders’. Presently she comes and with two steaming cups. She sets them down gently – one has the coffee and the other the hot water – in two identical cups. A small twist of lemon and a spoon accompanies the hot water. She could have been serving the Royals a gourmet dish on a silver platter, such is her demeanour. She is determined to make the cup of hot water a drink in its own right. Presently she asks if all is OK, then goes back to the till.
I realise that the ‘you know who you are’ line that I hear now on TV has taken me back to this incident. I should like to tell that lady, “You don’t know who you are. You don’t know what you did. But I will always remember. I will never forget how you treated us like you were serving royalty, fully knowing that we were nothing of the sort.”
Get in touch today to work with Shikainah!