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Rising Rider's Log, Solar Date - 31102010, Time 0230 hrs, Location Unknown

This will probably be the first and last entry of this log. It shames me that I am breaking my personal rule of not doing something as sissy as keeping a log, but the situation demands it. Duty and Honour, that's Rising Riders for you. But if push comes to shove, it's more about duty than honour.

It has been many months since I left the capital of An-Kraw Zaabar. I have all but forgotten what it feels like to sip tea in the street corners. I no longer remember the taste of alu-puree, the catch in your chest as you breathe away carbon monoxide. I have lost the papers containing my orders and my craft in the ambush at the Tower. I am tired of walking in the rains and the slippery muddy ground. And when the sun is out, the glare blisters my skin. The stink of my own sweat revolts me.

I had been sent by the Rising Roundtable to journey beyond the faraway borders of masculinity to the realm of make up. The whispers softer than the sighs of the wind merely suggested at the secrets the Boss was hiding.

When our top-secret, Septenary-classfied Spec Ops team was called in, we took the news like hot knife through butter. Not a single eye twitched, not a single facial muscle spasmed. But inside, our brains went, “We have to do WHAT?” From what we figured, some idiot somewhere raised questions about the relationship between women and make up and wondered what the big deal was about. Since we were the best of the best, we had to go out for the info. That's how things always worked. Stupid people always did stupid things and we were always sent in to contain the situation.

While the others got things such as lipstick or nail polish, I was handed the search-purchase-and-use orders on mascara. Once dismissed, we marched out, boarded our craft and headed for the nearest place with shwarma. It was such a common practise at the beginning of any mission, that they usually added 10% shwarma commission to the pay.

Eventually, we rode out in different directions. Mile after endless mile I travelled, giving thought to little else along my path. The cities grew sparse and gave way to hamlets and mountainous forests and swift rivers. Through the deserts I sped, surfing the dune of the Ocean of Fire, until I reached the place where blue skies met blue water. A great tower rose before me. I was in Sirap, before the tower of Feifel. At the gates, there was a vendor and I asked for the mascara

“Is that all you wish to have, young master? Nothing else?” the soft, silky, deliberate voice sent a tingly feeling up my spine. It was a woman. “They all have stories, you know. They follow their own hearts, in their own way.” She moved gracefully from behind her stall to her showcase. As she moved out of the dark and I saw her, my 20-hours-of-cardio-a-week-heart started beating faster than it ever had on the treadmill. The light glinted on her black hair, seemed to caress her yellow-cream cheeks. She looked at me and the corners of her lips turned slightly upwards. A slender hand and a delicate finger pointed at a shelf, “See the nailpolish? She is a loner, flying solo, caring nothing for love or hate, support or independence. She is complete in herself.”

I stood there, stone faced, until I could hope to regain my voice. No one can be that beautiful! I thought desperately. The lady continued to talk, moving to another shelf, “She is totally opposite from young Lipstick, of course. Lipstick hates to be alone. Cannot stand it. Becomes hideous when she is by herself. She's dependent on her lovers, lipgloss and lipbrush.”

I stood very still, then carefully started moving my hands toward my guns and sword. She looked at me, that same smile slightly contemptuous now, “Mascara is a team player, young master. If you get it with the right people, like say with Shadow…”

Something moved behind her.
“Lash curler…”

A woman to my right with two lazily dancing whips in her hand.
“Eye Liner…”

Something was coming for me, right behind me, it's ALMOST ON ME OHGOD SWEETLORD!!
“You get… magic!”

The Keepers robbed me of everything. I would love to say I put up a fight, guns blazing, knife slashing through the sunlight. But it was no good. A honest Rising Rider, but a lousy one I remain. They tossed me a cheap third version Maybelline as they left in my craft. But still, if I die, as I surely will, I shall at least die with pretty eyes.
End Log. Time 0442

By Dr Who

Hot on the Scene: The Lungi

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a well-cut suit or a good choice of tie that makes a man what he is. No, it is not his finely polished leather shoes, either. It is his lungi. This quintessential piece of Bangladeshi clothing has remained unmatched through the decades, both in terms of comfort and style. But the new generation of would-be lungi-wearers don't seem to be taking as well to the hot new trend. For those who aren't yet up to date on the fashion scene, here's a little 101-

The Belt - For those who are new lungi-wearers, this is a perfect style to try out before you learn to master 'the knot.' Easy to do, you just take the belt off your old school uniform and put it on on top of your lungi. There is scope for experimentation here, as you can mix and match different colours and sizes of belts and buckles to your lungi.

The Jori Par - This one is sure to be a hit next Eid. It might even
inspire some pretty interesting names. The idea is simple - it's your everyday lungi, but with some dazzle to it. Beads, jori, fita, even lace can be added to the end of your lungi according to your taste. An ideal choice for men who like it a bit more, erm, glamorous. Perfect for that cousin's upcoming gaye holud.

The Sporty - Who says you can't play football in a lungi? What with cropped tops and short kameezes, the lungi is not about to get left behind! Shorter in length than your average lungi and made of stretchable material to facilitate movement, expect to see our national athletes to sport this at the next big event. Adidas-style stripes at the sides give it that cool, streamlined look. You can even add the logo of your favourite football club.

The Pockets - Pockets come in handy, no doubt about that. Pockets on lungis come in even handier as they will confuse muggers when you're out in the streets. Of course, this will only work up to the point before the muggers themselves start catching up with this trend to stash their stolen loot. This style could work very well for our rickshawallah mamus, and save us the experience of handling sweaty notes fished out from God-knows-where.

The Printed - Are your lungis always getting mixed up in the laundry? That's because the blue chequered one you're wearing is the same one that your father, nana, dada and mama are wearing. What you need is a little individuality. Try looking for inventive prints, and no-prints are NOT only for the ladies. Army prints could show off your machoness while psychedelic ones would go well with your Elvis T-shirt. Polka dots are a sure fire way to make a statement at that friend's birthday bash.

It's only a matter of time before the lungi hits the ramps of the fashion capitals of the world. Our Mofiz could very well be the next Shahrukh Khan with his immaculate fashion sense. London, Paris, Milan... the world awaits the lungi. Remember, you read it here first.

By TheAlien4mEarth
Illustration: Sarwat Yunus





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