Joined: 16 December 2009
There are two types of people in this world: those who know the reality of what goes on inside the walls of Royal Institute: For Exceptional Young Women, and those who don't.
Summer was over already, and I couldn't have been happier. Everything will be back to normal now.
Of course, if you are reading this you must have the level four clearance or higher, and you must have known that Royal Institute isn't exactly a normal school. But if you haven't, you would have the knowledge no different from every outsider -- that Royal Institute is a typical school for snobby, rich girls. Our school was far from typical. This was the school where in last three years; I have mastered fourteen languages, expertized solving linear algebra in my head and been trained to kill anyone without using any weapon other than hands. Though mother ones told me that the strongest physical weapon is your hand. My mother -- just incase you are curious - is the headmistress of Royal Institute.
Royal Institute is a sisterhood for geniuses. And I was a part of this sisterhood.
I am Neesha Rai.
And I go to a school for spies.
Well, not really. We are not supposed to be spies after we complete our education here. We are all allowed to choose our own careers that will befit our exceptional educations but everybody knows that no one will step out of the covert affairs. No one ever corrects us when we say spy school. Except for Madam Rochette. Our Cultures Assimilation teacher dislikes our use of slangs. So before her, we are the exceptional young ladies. Which is very hypocritical coming from her as she was a MI6 agent herself. Of course, only a highly classified agent can be our tutor. My mother was a RAW agent for twenty-one years and once in a while, she gets called for exceptional cases.
The school was alive, and a strange feeling had settled in my chest. The seventh grader were crowded around Dr. Mehta, our Research and Development teacher. She retired from RAW. According to Juhi Mathur, she had made a chemical that can temporarily erase your memories. I haven't seen it experimented yet. Some of the students wandered off to inspect the insides of the walls. Most of them ended up at the Sword of Shine. The Sword of Shine was standing still on the stone that had its founder's generation inscribed on it. The handle studded with priceless jewels and diamonds. Anamika Sen was the first Royal Girl, and the founder of Royal Institute. We have been around for hundred years. (Not me! I am only seventeen!) What the seventh graders didn't know, however, was that this sword released static electrons that can make your hair spike up against the gravity in 0.0034 seconds. Watching the girls try to caress the sword was what my summer always ended with.
Royal Institute just got back to normal.
"So, how was your summer?" Panchi asked me with a grin. Panchi Rastogi was one of my two best friends, and roommates at Royal institute. Her parents were specialized in Operation and Research track and the way Panchi plays with numbers and wires, I was sure she was destined for the same.
"Nothing exciting. I was at grand pa's farm as usual." I replied with a smile. To be honest, I was really angry. Everybody went on international trips, and I was sitting with my grandpa, reading him newspapers every morning, and learning how to cook Indian food from grandma within twenty-kilometer radius of Himalaya. It is a torture to a probable future spy if you can't explore. "How was Cosmonaut Museum?"
"Oh, it was fabulous! Dad and I made this amazing feeling translator. It can detect feeling by scanning their eyes!" She exclaimed. Panchi was the intellectually smartest student I know at school. While I still needed a pencil to do some really complicated equations, Panchi can do them in her head. She has all the sayings of Aristotle memorized in sequential order. "Where is Gen?"
I wondered the same as I opened the door to the Grand Hall, otherwise known as Dinning room. The hall was filled with chatters and excitement that usually comes from the summer stories to share. The girls were sitting at their class table, tuning in the atmosphere. The teacher's table with twenty-one chairs lined up against the wall in front. I frowned. As far as I knew, we only had twenty teachers.
As my mother walked in the grand hall, with the teachers trailing behind, the room went silent as if someone was turning down the volume from somewhere. Her bangs were not pinned, and her hair flowed down to her shoulder, shining and dark. Her beautiful eyes scanned the room as she came to a stop in the middle.
The teachers went behind her sat on their acclaimed chairs. They were all the familiar faces, except one. We had only one male teacher, and he is different every semester. According to Juhi's another set of rumors, four groups somewhere around Middle East want him. To be on the safe side, he gets a plastic surgery, constantly changing his face. This year, he looked a lot like a South Indian with Bengali features.
"Ladies of Royal Institute," Every eye turned to my mother as she spoke loud and clear in the huge grand hall. With out any use of microphone, if I may tell you. "Welcome back to the Institute of sisterhood. Hope you all had a great summer."
She paused. I have heard this speech since last three years. I remember the first time I had met the sisterhood. One day after my father's news of never coming home was given to me. Even at such state, my mother had enthusiastically given her speech. I wondered if I would ever be able to be like her.
"A very warm welcome to our newcomers," She turned to look at the seventh graders who sat shy and tensed under my mother's gaze. "This year you will be starting to walk on your hardest phase. But you must know that you wouldn't have been here were you not found fit for the course. So no matter what, you know you have the ability to make it to the other end. And those who returned for a new year here," She turned to the middle. Her eye surveying us as if she was surveying some place she just broke into. "You have started the challenge, and now you will learn to be the what you're best at. You will face many new changes this year." She turned around to look at the empty chair beside Dr. Mehta, our Research & Development teacher, and Panchi's role model. Though personally I think she will go much farther.
"Sorry, I am late!"
Royal Institute was a prestigious school for exceptional young girls. Did I forget to mention girls? This place is all time girls, all time no man allowed with exceptional case of plastic-surgery-getting faculty members for better measure.
But as the young man walked through the hall with an apologetic smile on his face, I could bet a billion I felt the girls' stop breathing. The man wearing a black leather jacket walked with such authority and coolness at the same time, he could have made Don look insecure Gabbar would have looked like mamma's boy compared to this man with a day's growth of beard and stunning brown eyes. He walked up to my mother and before he went on to sit at his chair, he -- I almost fainted -- winked at my mother.
I was so astonished by this new member of Royal Institute that I didn't even realize that my second roommate (and best friend had) had slid into her sit between Panchi and Yamini.
She grinned at us as she chewed on her bubble gum.
"Where were you?" Panchi asked.
"Scratch that! Who is he?" Yamini asked, her eyes never leaving the man's posture.
Genelia Raman was the only non-residential Indian in the history of Royal. My mom had to find loopholes and compromise with some serious rules when her really good friend from Pakistan's ISI called her and asked her if she could admit her daughter in Royal Institute. Admitting Gen was mom's first controversial act as a headmistress.
"It's a sin to hide details from you sisters." Juhi said from two sit away. Gen rolled her eyes. Everyone knew Juhi was the gossip queen of Royal Institute. Her mother writes an anonymous covert-gossip blog, and no doubt genes have worked.
"New teacher." Gen shrugged, taking bread from her plate and buttering it with the plastic knife. (Teachers thought using silvers might lead to some deaths. Though I am sure we are perfectly capable of killing with plastics forks too.)
"Saxena!" She replied. "Jay Saxena!" She sounded like female version of James Bond, yet introducing someone else.
The classes resumed the next day. The excitement from last night hadn't lasted. It was then when Panchi woke us up at 7:30 in the morning that we realized summer was over. We skipped breakfast and slept in a little longer. Which by the seventh period I realized, wasn't a very good idea.
"I think I should go and grab a chocolate from my mother's room." I said as we walked up the stairs. My mouth was minty from the one mint-fresh I had found in my bag pack. But it just made me hungrier.
"We only have two more classes." Gen said. "Besides, cheer up! We are about to see Sublevel one."
The Royal Institute had three sublevels. They were underground buildings with most confidential information. We are not allowed to go in there unless we are assigned classes. Being a sophomore, we had Covert Operation class, and so our class was assigned in Sublevel one.
We came to a halt against the shiny metal door with a sensor screen on it. A light scanned our eyes and the doors opened. We entered inside a box that looked like an elevator; our reflections clear on its walls.
"Put your hand on the screen." A voice sounded above our heads. The three of us did as we were told. A warm scanner read our fingerprints, and a green light reflected from behind us. There was a painting of Anamika on the closed door. The light was illuminating from her eyes. A moment later, the door opened again. Revealing the most covert place I had seen so far.
The first section of Sublevel one was a library. Books were stacked on white furniture. But that was the only wood I had seen so far. The walls were made of frosted glasses, and as I arrived to the classroom, I saw shining metal desks. Even at the end of summer, they felt chilly. But that wasn't the most amusing thing as we sat down.
My teacher wasn't here.
I don't know how normal girls act when their teacher is late, but Royal Girls go quite. There was no noise until five minutes as Mr. Saxena walked in with slightly damp hair, crisp white shirt and faded jeans. His athletic shoes barely made any noise as he walked in standing in front of the class, talking in Korean.
"Capital of Senegal?" He fired at us. There was no hello, no smile. I can almost imagine Miss. Rochette glaring daggers at him.
"Dakar." We answered in unison.
"Who was assassinated in Marseille in 1934?" He asked in Farsi.
"Where was he from?" He asked in Japanese.
"By who?" This time he asked in Spanish.
"Square root of eighteen lakh nine hundred and sixty four."
"One thousand three hundred and forty two." Panchi answered before anyone. I expected him to smile and say "good job girls".
"Close your eyes." He said instead. We all did.
"What is the color of my shoes?" He asked in English, but no one answered.
"Am I left handed or right handed?" He was met by silence again. "Since I walked in, I have left finger prints in five place, name them." Until that moment I was sure we were capable to answer any question ever asked, even if a lie. But the silence of eight girls trained since last three years, shook my confidence.
"Open your eyes." He said, and we all obliged. "Welcome to the Covert Operation ladies, I am Jay Saxena. I have never taught before but I know what I am doing, I have been doing this since last seventeen years, and I am alive." He spoke.
"I am going to prepare you for what is out there." He pointed at the ceiling. "I am going to make this class really hard for you, and that is why I won't force you to be here. You will be moved to Research and Development next years if I have the slightest doubt that you can't do this. Impress me, and next year you will go a floor lower." He said, and walked towards the door. "Class over."
We still had forty-five minutes left. At Royal, we never waste time of education. We utilize every second. And that is why the eight girls sat there unmoving.
"Excuse me sir." Panchi raised her hand. Mr. Saxena looked up. "Do we have any homework?" The girls looked at her in irritation. Mr. Saxena opened the door and waited by its side. A universal gesture that says "Get out".
"Notice things." He said, and then disappeared behind the frost walls himself. Leaving eight astonished Royal girls behind.
Let me know of ANY gramatical, or mechanical mistakes.
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