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     Volume 4 Issue 66 | October 7, 2005|

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Literary Ripples
An evening with Brine Pickles

Elita Karim

“I figured that it would help me grow as a writer and also build an avenue for my creative talent," says Sabrina F Ahmad, a young writer and member of Brine Pickles. With around 20 members, Brine Pickles is a creative writer's group working as a partner with the British council in its Connecting Futures project.

Translated work of a short Bangla story

Even though a very young organisation, Brine Pickles is slowly becoming popular amongst the many young and upcoming writers in the city. Members here write out their thoughts, coming up with poetry, fiction, plays and even musicals! They make themselves aware of issues related to culture, gender, class, ethnicity, religion, faith and the individual mind. A few of these young writers have also had their works published in and outside the country. Some of the members also regularly write for daily, weekly and monthly publications, both in English and Bangla.

On September 30, Brine Pickles had its third literary session at the British Council Auditorium. With an assortment of creative ideas and literary thoughts hovering all around, the evening was spent watching the members present their work in front of an audience of about 150. They read out from their original work and also few translations by the writers from short stories and essays in Bangla.

It was also a session filled with a lot of elements related to theatre, such as voice projection, voice modulation, basic facial expressions, instant reactions to actions made on stage and creating an obvious link with the ideas written and organised on paper with their performance on the stage.

The original poetry and stories were about the every day issues that young people have to deal with in life. For instance, Maliha Bassam's 'Anouk's Sun' was a play about a 16-year-old boy trying to come to terms with life when his parents get divorced. Trying to accept his new step mother in his father's life and trying to be strong for his own mother, this adolescent makes an attempt to grow up faster than he is supposed to. Directed by Professor Tahmina Ahmad, this play was acted out by the members of Brine Pickles. The performances by Ali Anubhab Rajat, who played Anouk and Theotonius Gomes who voiced Anouk's thoughts, were particularly laudable. Gomes, in particular, seemed perfectly comfortable onstage rendering his lines with ease and drama.

Tanvir Hafiz with a story to tell

On a more romantic note, one of the short stories read out to the audience was about a young man coming all the way to Dhaka from London with his parents to attend a wedding in the family. Written by Tanvir Hafiz, the story spoke of this typical confused 'foreign born Bangladeshi' trying to get a grip in this alien culture and dying to go back to London. As he sits and sulks in the middle of all the festivities, his eyes catch a glimpse of a beautiful girl, 'an angel' to be specific, and instantly forgets all his woes and urges of going back to London. He, then, spends all his time looking for the pretty 'angel'.

A two-minute e-drama was presented by Sabrina F Ahmad, Qyazi Zulquarnain and Tanvir Hafiz. Much to the delight of the night birds who spend their nights chatting away online, this e-drama is about two young people meeting online and developing a wonderful relationship with each other. However, when they try to continue this relationship face to face, it simply does not 'click' the way it did online. Besides missing class or being late for an appointment every morning after a nightlong online chat, everything else in life seems to go wrong. "Oh communication skills," exclaims the character played by Sabrina. "Where are you when I need you the most?" cracking up the audience. At the end of the

Theotonius Gomes rendering poetry

e-drama, the actors got together on stage with a message for all the chat-freaks. "Virtual relationships are taking over. Be afraid, be very, very afraid!" exclaimed Zulquarnain.

The show came to an end with a song written by Sabrina F Ahmad who sang it with Hasan Ameen and his guitar.

This group of writers holds regular meetings and shares their ideas and work and criticises each other's write-ups. "Brine Pickles has given me a chance to develop a lot of confidence as well," says Sabrina. "I always suffered from stage fright as long as I can remember. But I speak for the rest of the team when I say that getting up on stage, speaking out my mind and sharing my ideas with a room full of people has helped me believe in my ability to voice the minds of the young generation."

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