I created Sehri Tales in 2016 as a coping mechanism for some melancholia I was experiencing at the time. I knew that the exercise was calming and centering for me, but I didn't quite think about writing's potential to heal until I partnered up with the online readers' community Litmosphere, in 2018.
Every night, I was amazed at the areas explored by these early Talers – frank confessionals about childhood abuse, bullying, depression and more. I wish I could be half as brave as they were, to be so publicly vulnerable. So many reached out afterwards, saying that being able to speak their truth, and be in control of their own narrative helped them in ways they had not thought possible. It was a most gratifying experience.
This year, as I cope with both parents affected by Covid, the Sehri Tales keep me company on sleepless nights in the hospital. From Tareq Adnan's exploration of existential crisis, to Shehtaz Huq's personal vignettes; from Shamima Nasrin Liza's snapshots of a sugary romance to the delightful concoctions of verse by Sabiha Younus, this year's crop of Talers, both the newbies and the vets, have really raised the bar. I hope, dear Readers, that you're enjoying some of the highlights we're publishing on the Star Youth, The Daily Star page every day, and stay tuned for more amazing stories for the rest of the month. Talers, if you're reading this, keep doing what you're doing. Your words are magic.
The author is a writer and journalist, and the creator of the annual Sehri Tales creative writing challenge.