A tarot card depicting a tower that is crashing. Lighting striking it and there are flowers growing at its base.
A tarot card depicting a tower that is crashing. Lighting striking it and there are flowers growing at its base.
The tarot card “The Tower” (From Amrit Brar’s deck)

“How strange and devouring our ways must seem

to those for whom life is enough.”

―Rainer Maria Rilke, “Part Two XIV,” from Sonnets to Orpheus

There is no Fall here in this coastal city I currently call home. There are many failings, many fallings in the wake of Covid but no obvious Fall. At least not visibly. Not even in terms of a temperature differential from whatever monsummer (monsoon and summer) we experience roughly ¾ of the year. That said, there is something that has turned both crispier and more muted at the same time in the movement of air…

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(Image description: A graffiti of a woman’s face with a rose in her hair and a rainbow ribbon stretched across)

After Bhanu Kapil : “To write the disaster as a mode of revision: detection, containment, recovery, reconstitution. Translation: 4 kinds of grief.”


“Coherence is mutilation. I want disorder.”

— Clarice Lispector, from “The Departure of the Train”

J is in Wyoming and in one of the pictures she posts, the river she wades through is a song of crumbled amber. The sunlight is humble gold and the trees embroidering the path of water are lilting green. There is a dotting of purple flowers in the bushes where the ripples breathe in the land. It is peaceful in a way…

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(Description: A painting of a reading room with wooden wall-to-wall closets, a portrait of a child-demon and a chair next to a fireplace)

Psychological horror is a redundancy. Violence for me is intimacy inverted. The mind’s dark train whistles through several cratered fiction in this phantasmagoria. Violence is its own origin and completion. The first thing you learn here is that every room is a palindrome. All that you want to transcend never stops speaking back to you in a self-same way from whichever direction you consider it. Every fear is ribboned in scrolls of synapse. It is not what you fear but how — the mimesis of hemorrhaged paint, the darkened orifices of doors aching with batik of blood; you become time…

The author’s photograph as a child wearing a gold and green dress in the sunlight.
The author’s photograph as a child wearing a gold and green dress in the sunlight.

The body knows itself to be pure water or pure burning.
— Emmanuel Levinas,
Proper Names

Content Note: Abuse, death, harm, mental illness and s*icidal ideation mentions

I navigate an illness that makes me a protagonist of clichés.

Sometimes, the thought of release is a dream of falling through clouds. My friend excitedly speaks about watching the northern lights from the cockpit of a plane — the whole kaleidoscopic spectacle; every inch of that cursive diffusion. I remember wondering if death was anything like that kind of calm yet intense speeding through varying degrees of colours. …

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Etymology for pain indicates a rooting in the Old English term for ‘penalty’. On some other level, I also think of the word ‘pine’ when considering pain. That aside, it has always amused me that tenderness is a perfectly acceptable placeholder for pain as per the thesaurus.

A running joke at my boarding school was about me never being allotted the top bunk in the dorimtory. There was a specific reason for this — if you let me sleep on the top bunk, there was a really good chance that I’d fall off of it while waking up. I wasn’t…

A scattering of pink petals along a walking path
A scattering of pink petals along a walking path

Recently, I have taken to growing coriander and mint in discarded egg-trays. It is interesting how almost all of 90s sci-fi films imagined 2020 to be the year of inter-galactic time travel and flying cars and here we are in the throes of a pandemic, sewing face-masks from our grandmother’s handkerchiefs. In any case, my own mini parsely farms are partly an extension to my window gardening experiments and partly a delicate process of staying tangibly connected to some semblance of nature during the lockdown; a desire to remain embedded, even peripherally, in the hope for healing once all this…

Today, We

Today we stay home and practice
a radical vulnerability.
Today we invite a trembling loneliness
to the breakfast table and ask if it likes
its eggs over-easy or scrambled.
Today we begin to unstitch the wringing
seam of our chronic apathy.

Today we don’t throw in the towel. Unless
we just stepped out of a long, hot bath
and the mirror is fogged with the steam of
our solo striptease to a Rihanna playlist.
Today we bless our jaws & our spines with
the acrobatics of some bone-tugging laughter.

Today we are singular in embodying our solidarities. Today we bind…

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(Photo: Dan Meyers | Description — 3 signs put up on a stone footpath that read ‘Don’t give up’, ‘You are not alone’, and ‘You matter’.)

Content Note : Suicide and Self Harm Mention

Finding out that a loved one or a friend online is feeling suicidal or has disappeared via digital channels can be a harrowing experience. Sometimes our heart is in the right place but we aren’t sure of what is the best possible way to approach a situation as complex as this. Here are a few pointers to consider when you are trying to check up on someone in a traumatised state —

1. Avoid constantly tagging their social media handles if you are contemplating on listing help via a social media search…

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( Photo courtsey : Ellijah O’Donnell. Description : A butterfly sits on a man’s soot-dusted hand.)

“I am such a wet blanket, I am afraid of even failing at self-care.”

My client’s closing remark at the end of a therapy session is quite an honest admission. She is a single mom, recently divorced and has a high-pressure job with a media organization. She has survived depression for several years and mostly without much help from family or community. She weighs her self-worth in the currency of “self-utilization” which is sharply at an angle from any practice or habit that encourages her to also consider self-compassion. Her identity is rooted in “doing” as opposed to “being”. …

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(After Édouard Levé)

It has taken me 15 years to learn how not to grit my teeth in a nettled rant when strangers try to correct the spelling of my name from Scherezade to Scheherezade. The first person who dubbed me “Waffles” died earlier this year. I miss the wingspan of his eyelashes. I am a polyglot who often chooses silence. My happy days are when I can wake up to Mahler and lavender roses. …

ʇsnſ ʇuıɐs

scherezade siobhan or scherezadenfreude. psychologist. writer. runs thetalkingcompass — www.thetalkingcompass.com. personal website — www.zaharaesque.com

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