Teaching departments at The University had commenced new classes almost a week ago. The seats in all classes were getting full. Those of the students who were late in applying for their admissions had also come in by now. It was like a carnival of colorful community, when she looked at the new faces all around.  She had not made any friends amongst them so far and a few acquaintances that had also joined along with her were also like her taking time to adjust to the new schedules and ambiance. The shy ones were taking their time to talk to each other while the outgoing type had already selected their partners who would be sitting next to them in their class rooms’. Koena who belonged to the former category was obviously the loner student looking around for a partner still.

The Sun had risen to its peak height throwing its hot warmth and heat all around that day. She had been waiting for the city bus at the bus shelter to take her home. Strong hot winds were blowing all around making her wish she could find a shade somewhere. She had gone to the library to get some books issued and she got delayed. In the meanwhile the regular college special bus had already left leaving her stranded at the bus stop. She noticed some of the girls and boys were also possibly waiting for their bus under the shadow of a tree at a little distance. She walked towards them.  The heat was unbearable.  Her throat was also getting parched and she wanted to buy a bottle of cold lemonade from the shop situated under that tree.

“Hey! It is a big and pleasant surprise to see you here!” He was the same boy who had met her at the administrative block the first day and tried to introduce himself to her.

“I hope you do remember me, I am Ranjit, Ranjit Sehgal, and we met at the Administration Block. Do you recall me?”

She just nodded a polite hello to him. She looked at him closely today. He appeared quite handsome and tall almost like her father except that he had thick growth of moustache on his upper lip, which added charm to his face.

“So you have joined the department of English Literature” he threw a question at her.

“How does he know this? Has he been following her?” she was surprised.

“Do not worry so much; I am one of the senior students. I study in the second year .In fact we all are from the same class. You must meet Gita, Santosh and Rajbir,” he introduced her to others.

She nodded a “hello” to all of them. The girls were staring at her with awe, wonder and some kind of respect.  She had often seen people react to her good looks and attendance in that manner. In a subtle way her dusky complexion, voluptuous figure and extraordinary height made its indelible mark on the people she met.

“Wow! She is a real beauty,” mentioned Rajbir. Koena had become self-conscious. No girl had ever described her beauty in this manner in her presence earlier. She could see Rajbir looking at her admiringly. Rajbir was a boarder and her parents were staying outside the country Koena had to learn later .The other girls belonged to the same college from which she had completed her graduation. She recalled having seen them earlier in college functions and socials etc.

“All the beauty comes from our college”, it was Gita.

Koena wished her bus had arrived here sooner. Her throat was getting dry when Ranjit offered her to buy a cold drink of her choice for her .She realized that the motley crowd of these boys and girls was sharing their drink from two bottles.

She preferred buying one for herself and insisted on paying herself for the same. These boys and girls were quite known and close to each other. She did not have the opportunity to get mixed up with the boys so much as her school was an exclusive girls’ institute and later too she preferred to find friends within the girls circle only. She felt little strange in the company of boys and girls together.

“Look the bus has arrived,” said one of them. Ranjit bought the bus ticket for her passage even, much before she could pay her own fair.  She insisted on refunding the money to him but was declined the offer. The bus was half empty as there were not much of people in the bus. She noticed that he had intentionally preferred sitting on a seat next to her as if he was looking for the chance to speak to her. She felt so petrified sitting next to this stranger.

“Do you always take the same bus back home? I have not seen you commuting earlier in this motor vehicle. Ever since I met you I have been looking forward to the opportunity to talk to you.”

So many questions at one go she found herself stammering.

“No actually I take the university special, it is only today I am going by this bus. We had a special class and I had to go to the library to get some books issued.”

‘Oh I see if you do not mind can I join you in the same bus every day. After all we stay in the same locality” Ranjit had been too direct.

“So he knows her house address too” she was surprised to hear him say that and wondered “how long he has been following me”.  She wanted to tell him that “she did not have the same timings everyday and that it was a public bus and any one or every one can board the same. That he does not need her permission to do so”.

However the only words she could mutter was “I do not know”.  She had felt as if she did not want to say no to him.  All the other girls’ were sitting inside the bus. She waived at them while getting off from the bus as her destination had arrived.  She noticed that Ranjit also got up from his seat and he had wanted to come with her when other girls pulled him back.

Little did Koena know that all of these four humans were actually the members of an international syndicate? The roots of this syndicate were deeply entrenched in many of the universities and institutes in the country. It has been their task to program and change the thinking stream of the vulnerable youth to suit the evil designs and philosophies of the men that controlled their strings. The syndicate fueled itself through the impressionable youngsters who were always looking for an early recognition in their life or were too eager to earn a quick buck for themselves.

The syndicate found its roots in unemployed youth of Middle East, England, and some other parts of Europe and Far East and had been instrumental in funneling unrest amongst the young ones through the exploits manipulated by their political bosses. Drug trafficking, prostitution, and kidnappings were   only the minor activities of the organization. The latest and the most sophisticated area included the arms smuggling and international espionage. The syndicate was gradually capturing territories all over the world, in colleges, universities and most of all in the corridors of political patronage and power. There was hardly a country and the government that had not been infested by the moles and spies of this syndicate. These people would not hesitate to subvert a legally and constitutionally government to further their own interests. As such they were always on the prowl to not only recruit their much needed front line talents from the young power of a country but even the disgruntled politicians too were much hunted species for these ruthless arms and international  information dealers .