The rain came down with such ferocity that umbrellas were useless. Suhasini hailed a taxi; she hated it but she had no choice. She was already running late for her daughter’s birthday party.
Once inside, she realized how dark it was. The only lights were those of the vehicles ahead. Electricity had been cut because of the rains.
The driver was a middle-aged man and he was being very careful on the road. Midway through the journey, Suhasini started feeling claustrophobic. The red neon lights of the vehicles ahead were causing her to feel disoriented. Her clothes were damp and she didn’t like it at all. Besides, she had an uneasy feeling that the driver was looking at her constantly.
She heard a cry and was startled. That was when she noticed that a child, probably a year old, was propped against the front seat of the car. The driver looked at her through the rear-view mirror and smiled at her while at the same time gently patting the baby to sleep.
In the next few minutes she heard cries of other children. As she frantically searched for the children crying inside the car, she heard her own daughter’s cry too. Panicking, she swayed her hands wildly to get to her daughter. But there were too many children and she was being pushed and shoved by them.
A balloon burst nearby. Suhasini woke up with a start. When she looked around, she could see her husband and daughter make arrangements for the party. She ran and hugged her daughter who looked bewildered. Suhasini was relieved she only had a nightmare.