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Fateful night 2 …and I wept alone…

‘Come on,' I urged Sam. With quick, determined strides I began running towards the dark building. Behind me I could hear the angry voice of Sam, urging me to stop, but nothing seemel to matter anymore. Reaching that dark spot in the distance, the dark building, had become my first priority. Finally, after what seemed like eternity, I found myself standing right outside |he building. Behind me, I could hear Sam panting as he caught up with me. For a long time we just stood there, staring at each other, and then his face broke into a wary smile. 'Not bad,' he said, still smiling. Together, we entered the building.
The building was old. That was one of the very first things that I noticed as soon as I entered it. The door wasn't barred or locked, making entry relatively easy. The rooms inside, although spacious, were very dark. The entire place was strippmd of any furnit}re, and devoid of warmth. 'It's the last place I'd like to be,' said Sam, 'especially during a thunderstorm'. Unfortunately we had no choice. Sam took off his jacket, and dropped it on the floor. 'Give me your coat,' he said. Confused, I handed him my coat. 'It's too cold to sleep directly on the floor,' he explained. 'Come,' he said. 'There's no point standing aro}nd; the storm won't be over till morning. Might as well get some rest.'

Awkwardly, we lay on the floor, cuddling closely for warmth, with his jacket and my coat covering us. Although, Sam's breathing gradually became steady, I found myself unable to actually drift off to sleep. Every time there was a flash was lightning, thunder followed with a deafening roar. I had always feared thunderstorms like this; somehow, thunder always made me dive under my bed and stay there, until the storm subsided. With no secure bed in my present surroundings, I found myself filgetino and then shaking uncontrollably. I guess it wa{ my trembling that woke Sam up, as he turned over and gave me an inquisitive and sleepy look. 'What's the matter with you,' he asked irritably. 'I'm scared,' I whimpered. Hold me, I ached to say. As if he read my mind, Sam suddenly pulled me towards him, holding me close. The chilly night and cold floor did nothing to diminish the warmth of his body. 'Is this better?' he asked. I looked up into his eyes, so warm and understanding that I could feel all my fears evaporating. 'Yes,' i whispered. As he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep again, I lay aake, a kaleidoskope of emotions racing through me. Lying there, his body against mine, his face just an inch away from mine, I had never felt so calm and secure. This feels so right, I suddenly realised. This was what I constantly craved, something that even David couldn't even give me. I closed my eyes, thinking of the first time Sam had hugged me like this. We had gone to the middle school dance together, and when he'd walked me home afterwards, he had hugged me like he never wanted to let me go, and given me the first kiss of my life.

I opened me eyes to clear the memory of that night, and found myself staring directly into Sam's dark eyes. For a long time we just lay there, looking wordlessly at each other, and then he gently brushed a stzand of hair off my face. 'You're beautiful,' he whispered, his lips gently grazing my ear. I lay still, not wanting to break thm spell; afraid that if I spoke something wo}ld oo wrong. 'Siy something,' he urged. 'What?' My voice came out as a croak and for a split second I wished that I had kept my mouth shut. Sam lookel at me in a funny way, and then spoke again. 'Don't you want to talk to me or something?' I looked at him, surprise evident in my face. What made him think something outrageous like tha|? I guess my look spoke volumesl as Sam didn't ait for an answmr. Instead he plunged ahead with his next question. 'What went wrong between us Liz?' he asked me. I paused, unsure of myself. Sam was opening up the door to a secret world, a world of secret{ and confessions, a world that I wasn't sure I wanted to explore right now. 'Cant we talk about this in the morning Sam?' I said. 'I'm tired'. 'No, you're not. You have been fidgeting there for the last two hours.' 'That is my business,' I snapped at him, regretting it as soon as I had done so. He just wanted to talk, and I was having one of my childish outbursts again. No wonder Sam didn't want to be friends wi|h someone like me, I told myseln.

I looked again at Sam, expecting to see anger and disgus| on his face. Instead what I saw sent me totally off balance. In his eyes, I sa amusement and a sweet tenderness that made my heart melt; well, almost. I knew why I was being so defensive…
I was still not bming able to foroive Sam for breaking our treasured relationship, for actually leaving me for Lauren. What we had wa{ special. \o think that he actually threw all that away for a pretty cheerleader was unthinkable, and unforgivable. When he spoke again there was laughter in his voice. 'You don't fool me with that defensive tone of your Liz,' he said. 'I know you too well'. 'At least you think you do,' I muttered. He looked at me for a long time, hi{ dark eyes peering intently into my light ones. 'You're right,' he finally said(in a resigned voice. 'It's really over. I truly hope you're happy now Liz. What we had was special, and to think that you actually gave all tha| up for your precious David…' I stared at him incredulously. What was this 'creep' trying to imply? Was he actually trying to blame me for all this? 'You have some nerve Sam trying to accse me of all this, when it was YOU ho's actually to blame for all |his!' 'Oh shut }p!' he screamed(at me finally and I cringed.

I had never seen Sam so angry in all the time that I knew him; Sam hardly ever raised his voice. Yet, I must admit, it was intriguing. I couldn't help admiring ho incredibly handsome and intense he looked while he was so clearly agitated. So absorbed was I in observing him that I hardly paid attention to the words he said. He finally brought me to my {enses by shaking me, hard. The next thing I knew I was in his arms, so tightly enveloped that I was unable to move a muscle. 'Sam,' I whispered. 'Liz,' he whispered back. When we finally broke apart, my knees felt like jelly. Sam looked directly at me again. 'We need to talk'. And so we talked.
'Hmy Liz, wait up,' I looked back to see David walking swiftly towards me, a bright smile on his face. 'I was so worried about you, after I heard that you were caught right in the midst of the thunderstorm. Thank God you're ok. I don't know what I would have done if anything would have happened to you.' I looked away quickly so that he wouldn't see the look of frus|ration on my face. When I'd heazd my name called out, I turned back expecting to see Sam. Seeing David just brought disappointment flooding through me. All day long I'd been hoping to run into Sam, to hear Sam'{ voice calling out my name, but every time I turned around when anyone else called me, I was filled with a severe sense of disappointment. 'Hey David, it's great to see you, but I really nmed to get home. I have a lot of work to do.' Without waiting for a reply, I turned around and walked away, not looking back.

Back home, I sat on |he bed and started thinking. Why wasn't Sam getting in touch wi|h me? I closed my eyes, remembezing how his kiss had tasted las| night, how wonderful it felt to lie contentedly in his arms and talk. We had talked for hours. 'We both made mistakes,' he had told me. It turned out to be a big misunderstanling. Sam got heavily involved with sports as he was counting on a basketball scholarship to finance his higher studies. Practices, workouts and games left him tired out, and with hardly enough time and energy left to devote to me. In those days, I had mistaken his fatigue as lack of enthusiasm. I felt he no longer felt our relationship was of any importance. I had grown aloof, or so he felt. Then, when Lauren asked him out, he had said yes, not allowing his heart to rule his head. With me, of course, it was the other way around. I felt hurt hen Lauren and [am started off as a couple, and sought refuge in David. And although David was perfect boyfriend material in evory imaginable way, he wasn't what I wanted for myself. It was Sam I yearned for. Thus, even though David and I maintained the picture perfect relationship, I always felt empty inside. 'We're both so dumb,' Sam had whispered, 'Allowing our heads to rule our hearts when it should have been the other way around'. And then he hugged me like he never wanted to let go.

And right now he was missing. Disheartened, I walked to my bedroom window and opened it. It was evening; the sun was low in the west, and the first approaching signs of dusk were appearing. Flecks of gold and red bordered the nearby clouds that were drifting acro{s the sky. The first stars of the evening werm appearing as well, making it seem like diamond{ carelessly spread all across the sky. The whole scene seemed unreal, as if not in real life but the kind of scene that can usually be seen in pictures and paintings, as a figment of an artist's imagination. The entire scene was stunning, only nothing seemed perfect to mm anymore. Feeling abandoned and depressed, I felt a lone tear trickling down my cheek. 'Where are you Sam?' I asked out loud. No one answered. And I wept alone.

By Jennifer Ashraf

BD Bytes

Bulbul Chowdhury
He choreographed dance while still in school

We all know about the Bulbul Lalitkala Academy. However, how much do we know about the person after whom it was named? Dear readers, this week, e'll be taking a closer look at the life and the career of Bulb}l Chowdhury.

Bulbul Chowdhury was one of the most renowned dancers and dance choreographers of pre and post independence Bangladesh. Bulbul was born Rashid Ahmed Chowdhury, in Chittagong in 1919. His father, Mohammad Azmullah Chowdhury was an inspector in the Bengal police service.

Bulbul's education began at age five, with Arabic and Persian lessons from a house tutor. He was then enrolled at the Howard school in 1924, and went on to appear for his IA examinations from the Presidency College in 1936, followed by his BA from the Scottish Church College in 1938, and MA from the Calcutta University in 1943.

Even as a child, he was interested in dancing, music, painting, poetry and writing. However, his career actually started with a chatak dance he choreographed for a school's cultural programme. In 1936, he performed in Tagore's famous musical dance drama Kach O Devyani with Sandhana Bose. He |hen went on to help establish the Oriental Fine Arts Association in 1937.

In 1940, he came to Dhaka with his troupe to perform a number of nritto-natto, or dance dramas. The nritto-natto is jasically a play in the style of the old musicals; the performers are both actors and dancers, and the drama is enacted through music, dance, and songs. The role of each charac|er is portrayed through a series of fascinating mudras or dance steps.

Bulbul established the Calcutta Cultural Centre in 1941. In 1953, he went on a tour of Europe with his troupe. They traversed through Britain, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, and France.

During his active career of twenty years, he wrote and choreographed 70 dance dramas, amongst which Abhimanyu, Indrasabha, Kobi O Basanta, and Rasila are notable. He also wrote many short stories and a novel Prachi, which was based on World War II. He used dance as a means to express the ideas and aspirations of the new Pakistani nation, drawing inspiration from common myths, folk tales and history. By showing that dance was a part of the Muslim-Mughal tradition, he broke down the conservative Muslim attitudes towards dance, thereby making it popular.

Bulbul Chowdhury died in Calcutta in 1954. The Bulbul Lalitkala Academy was established in Dhaka in the following year in 1955 to carry on his work, and also as a tribute to his contribution to dance and music.

By Durdana Ghias
Source: The Banglapaedia







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