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An unconventional friendship

Nicole sat next to the window like a statue, oblivious to her tears and the entrancing moonlight that filtered through the window. Even though she was there, her mind had drifted back to the past…
more than a year back when her life had abruptly turned into a rollercoaster ride…
Nicole was elated when her mother allowed her to join a new coaching centre where all her friends went to. To her it was like hanging out with her friends in the guise of studies.

Nicole was a sweet, fun-loving, good-humoured girl. She was one of those girls who always kept her promises, took care of her friends and stood by them through thick and thin.

Being a new student, she was eyed with a lot of curiosity and interest by everyone. When she had first joined the class she had the perfect life. She had a boyfriend with whom she had been going out for over a year, a loving family and heaps of friends.

One evening, Nicole and her friends Michelle and Lisa were walking in the coaching centre's campus when a guy walked in. He bumped into Michelle and didn't even bother to say sorry instead looked at her with repugnance. Nicole said audibly,

"What an arrogant moron!" He looked at Nicole with contempt but at the same time with a spark of astonishment in his eyes. His eyes bored into hers but she glared back without flinching. Suddenly he gave her a bemused smile and walked away.

Nicole found him quite repulsive and she said to Michelle and Lisa without any hesitation,"Uggghh…he is so yuck!I wouldn't dream him even in my worst nightmare." And they all started laughing.

Lisa then made some interesting revelations since she has been studying there for a long time. She told them that his name was Evan. He was one of the most brilliant students there and also had the prettiest girlfriend. She told them that everyone was scared to even talk with him let alone call him names and glare at him. Nicole instantly said,"Well Lisa…you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure that out. With an attitude like that he's bound to freak out everyone. No wonder everyone moves away from him like he has the plague." Lisa then said,"Nikkie I admire you for your guts since you are the first girl to treat him that way. You sure have some nerve!"

Lisa introduced Nicole to Saria-Evan's girlfriend. Saria was one of those stunning girls who never failed to turn heads wherever she went. But she sure had bad taste in men or else a doll like her wouldn't be going out with a monster like Evan for almost three years. Now she knew why people said that love was blind.

When Lisa said that everyone thought Evan had a very cute smile, Nicole said with a smirk,"You should all get your eyes tested."

After about a month Nicole broke up with her boyfriend and was extremely depressed and lonely. She started to keep to herself mostly. Her sweet smile which never failed to make others smile was replaced by a fake plastered smile which never quite reached her eyes.

She started observing things around her more minutely. Among the many trifling things she had realized, there was only one thing that hit her like a ton of bricks and that was Evan.

At first she had dismissed it as a figment of her imagination. But she couldn't ignore it forever. Evan's eyes flicked towards her more often than necessary. He started to hang around her classroom although he was more than three years her senior. After some time he even started to smile and wave at her which he rarely ever did to anyone. In fact, whenever he entered a noisy classroom everyone hushed up and gawked at him-awed by his sheer presence. It was a mystery why he had such an impact on people. He was an enigma with astounding charisma.

Nicole was even more shocked by her reaction or maybe attraction towards him. She not only smiled and waved back at him but also decided that he was a rugged sort of good looking guy with a dangerously wicked streak. He seemed to give off vibes that no one else did. It was ironic that the guy she once found utterly repulsive was the same guy she suddenly found immensely intriguing. She couldn't comprehend what was happening to her.

Before she could get a good grip on her traitorous emotions they had started talking on the phone on a regular basis. Actually that was the greatest understatement of the century. They were on the phone 24/7. When they were not on the phone they were at either one of their places. Even when they were in class, they always somehow managed to sit somewhere from where they could see each other and speak in sign language. They were an inseparable duo. Whenever they were together the day's weariness would evaporate and the day would seem way brighter. A single smile from Nicole would fill Evan with happiness and vice versa. When they were together they even found the mundane bits of life exciting.

Nicole helped Evan to make friends with people without scaring them off. She made him more approachable to people. Everyone sensed the sudden drastic change in Evan and the magical bonding between Nicole and Evan.

Like all good things, their blissful friendship also came to an end. Numerous rumours and suspicions started flying around about their friendship which had flourished in a short span of time-six months to be precise.

Evan had uncountable fights with Saria about it and they broke up for a little while. But Nicole forced Evan to patch up with her since everyone would think that she had snatched Saria's boyfriend.

Nicole and Evan struggled to keep their friendship alive-aware that it was falling apart rapidly. They tried but it was futile. It was inevitable. They couldn't escape from the inextricable fate that awaited them. They were also aware that what they felt for each other were not normally felt by friends. It baffled them. They couldn't categorize their friendship as neither a typical friendship nor as a stereotype love affair. Even Saria realized the extent of their intimacy and gave Evan an ultimatum. It was either her or Nicole… It landed Evan in a dilemma. Nicole being his "bestest friend" couldn't watch him in agony. She told him that it would be best for everyone if they just stopped talking because Evan's friends and family had started to give him the cold shoulder for her.

At first he objected but Nicole eventually got through to him. Evan again became his old self-insensitive and indifferent toward people. He told Nicole that he would call her whenever he felt lonely or missed her and asked her to do the same. She said she would while secretly promised herself that she would always be there for him and talk with him whenever he called but she would never call him even if he was the last guy on Earth.

As the cool breeze softly caressed her tear-stained face, it broke her reverie. It had been months since she saw Evan and had a proper talk with him but she still felt the same way about him. She knew that he also felt the same but he just didn't voice his emotions which were in turmoil just like hers. Nicole knew that they still shared the same bondage. They were a hell lot from than friends but a little less than a couple, but still where did that place them…
none of them could fathom the depth of their relationship.

Finally overwhelmed by exhaustion, she drifted off to an uneasy sleep without wiping her everlasting tears which cascaded down her cheeks like a waterfall…they dried on her cheeks just the way her pain faded while she slept.

By Nasia Chowdhury

At first sight…


The office was a buzz of activity. The designers were busy drinking sugary tea, and taking breaks from their day long gossip sessions to do some work. The draftsmen were working like automatons, constantly tracing designs only their incessant giggles and ceaseless gossip gave away to the fact that they were in fact humans.

Rania sat at her desk reading a fat Grisham. The paperback from yesterday had been more enticing. But the rate at which her work was going she had no doubt that today's paperback would be finished by the end of the day. She tilted her chair and glanced at her boss's office. Still in a meeting. It was almost 3pm. She looked at her designs, trying to burn them with her eyes. This job wasn't going the way she wanted.

She took another sip of her tea and smiled sarcastically. She thought that she should be happy. After all this was a dream job for most people. Big label, limited work, idleness and yet recognition. Then why wasn't she happy? Workaholic, a taunting voice said snidely in her mind. She was incapable of sitting and doing nothing. It was in her system probably inherited from her father.

At that moment the official production manager and unofficial office clown, Sunny, turned up at her desk with his usual bag of corny one-liners. Rania tried to ignore him but broke into an unwanted smile. He was a harmless person, good at heart, she thought. After a few jester-like gestures, Sunny left, leaving Rania to her reverie.

Rania was skimming the floor when her gaze collided with Johnny across her cubicle. Loser, she thought. The guy had a big chip on his shoulder about his Indian fashion degree. The fact that Rania was studying at RIS-D grated on him. He was still under the impression that USA was a never never land. Rania wished that she could drag him by his ear and show him reality. You shouldn't have ticked me off Johnny Boy, she thought remembering his taunting remarks from two days ago. Loser, she decided once again.

A couple of minutes later she discovered that her boss had returned. She made up her mind to go, no longer caring about reprimands. She saw a tall figure making its way in the same direction. Oh no you don't, she thought. She dashed forward with her designs just as the figure entered the boss's office and sat down. So what? She thought. She went in, catching the attention of her boss. "Yes Rania?" "The designs ma'am…" At that moment the tall figure turned at the sound of her voice and she stopped speaking. In the instance in which she stared, their eyes met and she had a flash: she had once seen a picture of Apollo in a book the image flashed in front of her eyes. Over six feet, jet-black hair, bronzed skin and brooding midnight eyes she stopped her perusal. But he didn't. The liquid eyes roamed up and down her form and finished with a mocking gleam. Gone was the image of Apollo. It was replaced with a picture of Mutley. It was her defense mechanism against people who judged her based on looks.

She wasn't beautiful. She considered herself ugly although her mother said otherwise. But then again it was her mother. Although, her mother also said that she had a big chip on her shoulder. Rania disagreed. She couldn't care less. Plain was the word, she thought. But she was damn good at what she did.

"Rania?" The voice brought her back to reality. Rania waved the designs in her hand. "I'm done ma'am. I also brought along the swatches." 'Could I see you after this meeting?" the boss asked. Dejected, Rania was about to say yes when Mutley spoke. 'That's ok. I can wait.' The deep baritone would have had an effect on Rania had it not been for the condescending tone. She didn't need his pity. "That's ok…" she began but the boss intervened and agreed. The liquid eyes sparked victory. The boss went over her designs and made changes and ordered swatches yet again. Rania got up and headed towards her cubicle.

As Rania headed for her cubicle, she could hear herself being discussed. "Who is she?" Mutley asked. "The new intern," the boss replied. "Queer and certainly disheveled," remarked Mutley. Rania's ears burned. Eavesdroppers never hear any good of themselves, she thought. But she wasn't really eavesdropping. "Driven and sort of a workaholic," the boss declared. Mutley just laughed heartily. Rania was finally out of hearing range and relieved.

At five fifteen Rania packed up and boarded the elevator. There was only one other occupant. Mutley. She ignored him. But he didn't. "I liked your designs," he said. The frustrating day was having its toll on Rania and it was on the tip of her tongue to say, "Should I feel blessed?" Mutley's lips were moving. She looked at him. "Hi. I'm…" But she was out of the elevator before he got to his name. Rania chastised herself for being so obnoxious. He seemed like a friendly guy but she didn't like his condescending attitude. So much for that she thought.

By Riyana


Monsoon here in full blast, dull skies overhead and smelly flood waters all around you, but don't let that get you down, girl! The drab greys all around you are all the more reason why you should stretch the spectrum and add a dash of colour to your wardrobe. Well, the RS style gurus have been busy doing research and we're bringing you the scoop on the latest trends this season.

Bold blocks and cotton prints are really in, whether you're a siren in skirts, or a kameez konna, or even a fotua femme fatale, so just grab all the plain monochrome material you have and get them blocked. Instead of the traditional floral motifs, though, go for bright checks, graphics and geometric prints. For slightly dressier outfits, go easy on the thread work. Too much of embroidery will ruin the outfit and you get an overworked look. Bright fluorescents blues, pinks, yellows, and lime are colours of choice.

Spaghetti straps or cap-sleeved T-shirts are the most comfortable outfits for this season. If you're denim girl, well denim's cool, no matter what the weather. However, try keeping them clean, because drying denim in rainy weather is a pain for anyone who does the laundry. You can still go for capris and shorts, though, so grab your old worn-out jeans, snip away at leisure, and then spice it up with beads, sequins and feathers and viola! Style sensation. Oh last but not the least, try sticking to materials like cotton or linen, as they are the ideal fabrics for the monsoon because they dry quickly. Try to avoid synthetics as they retain sweat and make you stink.

Now for make up. Waterproof is the way to go. Leave out eyeliners and use kajal (preferably Lakmé) instead. Avoid as much make-up you can. For lipstick, go for something light and long lasting rather than wet glosses especially if you're planning to stay out long. Use less creams and lotions and stick to powder instead, if you don't want stuff melting off your face. Avoid gel and oil, as they don't really make a pleasing concoction when fused with water.

Lastly the heart of most girls: shoes and bags. Slip on some nice flip-flops or sandals and stay away from delicate, fancy shoes that can't stand the rain. Same goes for leather boots and high-heeled footwear chuck them to the back of your closet. Avoid clunky platform heels because they look mannish and spoil the silhouette of the wearer.

Crazy accessories like beaded anklets and glow-in-the-dark jewellery are all the rage. So are matching umbrellas and raincoats. Get yourself a big, trendy colourful bag to carry your rain gear. See-through ones are always wicked cool.

With the monsoon shower washing down, it's about time you face up to the menacing downpours. Make yourself comfortable and colour yourself up. You are the monsoon girl!

By Tashmia Zaman



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