The fourteen of them were making a ruckus that teenagers would have been proud of. Sitting together in a cafe, they were talking as if they had known each other for years. Well they sort of did but it was the first time Zoe was meeting all of them in person.
Amidst all the chatter that revolved around getting to know each other and the books that they loved to read came a group of kids to them. A bunch of kids who with all the discipline of teenagers had been sitting in their own corner discussing their own books.
“Excuse me.” said one girl who wore a black head scarf.
“Yes.” The guy with salt and pepper head turned to answer. He was the eldest in the group and almost everyone added the bhai suffix to his name, Mustafa.
All the fourteen turned to witness what could have brought those kids to their table.
“Are you a book club?” The kids had an excitement about them as if they saw in this group their own future. They verbalised the thought in the next instant too.
“We are a secret society.” One of the group said very solemnly.
After a quiet of a few seconds, the kids caught on and asked to join the secret society as well.
With the same solemnity a bespectacled woman continued, “It’s not that easy. There is a complete initiation process with secret rituals and all.”
The kids’ calm did shatter for a bit but they were able to regroup themselves soon enough to make anything obvious.
Giving each other glances that spoke of excitement and nervousness, they wanted to know more.
“You will also have to pay a fee, all of you.” Zoe, the shortest of them all, took over as she bestowed a glance each to the kids. “The fee will be a hardcover book from each one of you to each one us. Of your favourite book.”
To counter their open mouthed awe, she winked and it gave away the game and all laughed heartily.