"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

There was chanting in the background, accompanied by an eerie tune that literally smelt of death. I watched the video with a grave grimace and a heart that throbbed one moment and sunk in another. I knew what was coming. It's become kinda usual in terrorist videos nowadays. Two gunmen shoved and kicked their hand-cuffed hostage, pushed him to the ground, poked him mercilessly with the butt of their guns until his body bled in several places. Neither was there any squealing, nor any opposition from the side of the victim. It did look like he tried to escape their clutches at one opportune moment but the attempt was quickly stifled with a shot to his knees that brought him down to the ground. Thereafter, the victim lay motionless, probably unconscious - a mute recipient of the torcher being inflicted upon him.

I watched the video mutely too, a hapless recipient of the torcher being inflicted upon my soul through the evil and pain that humanity has come to be associated with.

Then they began their propaganda machinery. A masked man appeared with a rugged knife in hand, stamped his sole on the bloody face of their hostage, bellowed a few chants and narrated - all the while pointing the knife at the camera and making threatening gestures - "Look at this creature lying on the ground. A blood-sucking pest. This is what we will do to all of you who come to our country to work for that American company. They are evil, and so are all its workers. This land is ours, and the oil in it is our blood. How dare they take our blood from us?" The three terrorists proceeded to kick the hostage rampantly. "This is what will happen to anyone else who dares to think of coming over to take our land.  All you bloody people who come not just to take our land but also our soul, by spreading your evil religion. Your religion is a disease and you are bloody pests..." and the kicks intensified.

Watching the video was getting difficult, yet I kept watching. I wanted to see the extent of animality that human nature could be possessed with. Was it hate, anger or just a perverse pleasure that was prompting such inhuman behaviour from beings that had the same nature as me? Yes, we live in a tough world, but does it warrant us humans falling to such deplorable levels of bestiality? Is humanity only a feature reserved for the good times? How can one human being do this to another? Can't they empathize the pain of another being?

Suddenly I felt a sharp stab on the back of my neck. Instinctively my hand brushed the neck and a stout mosquito dropped on the table in front of me. It had been sucking my blood all the time, and I could see red transparent blood swelling its posterior half. I watched it as it lay half injured and struggling to fly. As I raised my hand to scratch the back of my neck, the mosquito gathered its strength to take flight again. "Oh you bloody pest!" and my hand came down on it again, squashing its legs and wings and rendering it motionless on the table. "How dare you come and suck my blood? This is my body and I take such good care of it, just for you to suck it dry is it? How did you even get into my house?" I proceeded to butt the mosquito with the back of my pencil and squash it bit by bit. "This is what should happen to you and your species. You bloody mosquitoes not just suck our blood but also spread such dirty diseases. You bloody pests.. "

Brushing the squashed mosquito out of the table-top, I continued watching the video with a sinking heart. As the terrorist's knife came down upon the hostage's neck I whispered to myself, "That is such blind evil. They are not human beings. I am sorry I am not like them. I can never be like them."  Somewhere, deep inside, maybe I felt a sense of self-pride too..