He gulped another single malt. It was his ninth drink (probably tenth) of the night, but He didn’t care. After all, it was the night of self pity. It was the night when you compare yourself with no one in the world and you still manage to lose.

He lived on the first floor and his neighbour lived so far that it wouldn’t be surprising if they didn’t even recognize each other. Loneliness was creeping upon him and He needed to meet new people. Make friends. Hence He had decided to give the bar a shot. 9 drinks later (probably 10), He cursed himself for taking that decision.

He ordered for another drink. As his eyes wandered across the room, He saw a pretty Asian girl, with a familiar face, enter the bar.  Wasn’t she the girl from the second floor? He thought hard. Yes! Li. That was her name. She looked alluring. She was well dressed and was wearing a smile that even reflected in her eyes. Their eyes met and almost on cue she started walking towards him. It was either the loneliness or the alcohol which started making his heart beat faster and skip the very next beat at the same time.

She reached his table, and stood besides him. Looking around and finding no empty seats, He stood up and offered his seat to her. Noble. That was what He was known for. She gracefully eased into the seat and stretched her hand forward. “Hi, I am Li. We see each other quite a lot, but we’ve never talked.”

His eyes never left her’s. He was dazed and mesmerized. He didn’t even took and shook her hand. It lingered in the air for eternity. He wanted to say things, but due to his inert (INtrovERT) nature, He didn’t even make a slight movement. Not even a blink.

Finally gravity resumed, and Li’s hand fell by her sides. She felt embarrassed. Angrily, she got on her feet and said, “It would have been elementary if you would have at least not ignored my hand. Thanks for not reacting.” Hurt, she stormed out of the bar.

But He was Helium, a noble gas. He never reacted.



He opened the window overlooking the streets. The sun’s ray entered the house uninvited. It filled the room with light, but couldn’t invade the dark thoughts in his mind.

He pressed the button on the side of the hand grip and the magazine eased into his hands. He had been given 3 bullets for the job. He needed only one. With the rounded side forward, he inserted the lone bullet into the magazine. Lonely? Not for much time. You will soon be embedded into flesh. His malicious thoughts were infecting his brains at an alarming rate.

He pushed the magazine back in the hand-grip. A short ‘click’ confirmed it was in place. Now he waited by the window for the elderly man to step out. Blasphemy shouldn’t go unpunished, he repeated it to himself for the umpteenth time. He was entrusted with the task of plucking the weed out. He was the crusader.

Finally the moment arrived. His target was walking gingerly on the road. Two years more and he would have died anyways, he smirked to himself. Pushing down the safety lock on the top of the gun, he raised it at his eye level. Beads of sweat started forming at his brow. Wiping them off, he took a deep breath. Aiming the gun at the man’s torso, he gripped the trigger.

As he was about to pull it, his attention got diverted by his mother’s loud voice from the other room.

‘Aamir! You are getting late for school. Hope you finished your homework.’

By the time he recovered from the momentary lapse of concentration, the old man was no longer in sight. ‘I had almost finished my homework,’ he cursed under his breath. ‘Until tomorrow,’ he thought, kissed the gun, muttered the Holy name, and placed it between the books in his rucksack. He checked himself in the mirror. The school uniform was tucked in. The hair was neatly parted. The only thing missing was the 11 year old’s innocence.

In Afghanistan, they start young.