SHE A Serial By Varalotti Rengasamy Episode 11 As Shalini was driving on the East Coast Road drowned in thoughts, out of the blue,a young girl jumped in front of her car. Shalini reflexively applied the brakes and the vehicle ground to a screeching halt. Still Shalini could hear a dull thud- the alarming sound of the car’s fenders hitting something hard. Shalini panicked out of the vehicle only to see a girl lying in a pool of blood. She froze, her hands felt clammy and her head reeled more than ever that day. Shalini bent down to check on the victim. The victim was a lean and wiry young girl, with a crew cut. She was wearing a tight fitting pair of Levis and a blue flannel shirt that seemed to conceal her curves. The girl betrayed no signs of life whatsoever. But Shalini was not one to give up. Not on this girl, not on anything. She had a well- stocked first aid kit in her car and had undergone minimal, casualty first aid training. But she was not sure of handling a case of head injury. She was not even sure of lifting the girl to the car all by herself, without causing more damage. She tried to stop the vehicles that whizzed by. None cared enough to stop. Either they were in a hurry or they did not want the hassle of having to wait in the grim corridors of a hospital or a police station or a court house. Then she remembered. She emptied the contents of her Gucci handbag on the car seat. There among the scientific calculator, the tissue wad, the ballpens, the lip gloss, the odd tampon, her parents' photo, she found what she was searching for. She fished out the non-decript card given by the Director General of Police. She tersely explained her situation to him in very few words and sought his help to save the young lady who was still unconscious and limp.In another ten minutes, a state of the art ambulance and a police vehicle arrived on the spot. Without the sirens blaring and the lights blazing. Amazing, what some influence could achieve. Shalini’s money-power and the DGP’s influence ensured a lot of silence, and that the best medical attention was rendered to the girl. The girl regained consciousness three days and two complicated surgeries later. As soon as she was out of danger, a maxillo facial surgeon and a plastic surgeon teamed up to reconstruct her face. Shalini did not want to abuse her influence with the law. She called the DGP to tell him that she wanted the law to take its own course. The DGP told her that he would not have had it any other way himself . He told her that the jurisdictional police officer would interrogate the victim and ensure that the truth was established . Based on the victim's statement, appropriate legal action would be taken against Shalini. And so, it was a huge surprise and relief to all the law-abiding citizens and officers, when the girl gave her statement that Shalini was not to be blamed for any lapse in driving. The 'victim' claimed that she had been so embittered with life that she wanted to kill herself. Shalini was released from the case while an attempt to commit suicide was booked on that hapless girl. Shalini stood as surety for her and saw to it that she did not go to prison directly from the hospital. Shalini invited her to her house. She also took the responsibility of defending her case. Shalini was tactful and sensitive to leave the girl to her own pensive moods and thoughts, as long as the legal and medical complications dragged on. The girl was moved by Shalini’s care and attention. It was also a pleasant feeling for Shalini to have somebody to care for, someone to love, and something to live for. She enjoyed her project, the presence of the young girl in her house. The thought of having another heart beat in the house made her look forward to coming back home.After parting with Jaggi and after resigning that job, Shalini felt terribly lonely and the girl was an interesting diverson. Weeks later, Shalini and her protege were sitting in the garden, sipping warm tea, when Shalini asked the girl, “Latha, you can refuse to answer my question. I just want to know whether I can do anything about it, anything at all to help. Why did you try to kill yourself?” Latha sighed and started a long narration.