Devon Jahangir Khaled lived in post-war Afghanistan. He was a simple man. Or at least, tried to live a simple life. Being the most sold author for a generation in all of Asia did have its cons. He was liked everywhere he went, simply due to his inherently good-natured behavior. He was kind to a fault to everyone he met and could whip up stories on command. This made him a celebrity of sorts, wherever he went. He could never refuse an invite to any event of any sort, be it a charity ball or a fundraiser event. He had an active social life, to say the least. These parties were the times in which his wife, Sheila, and son would come to the fore, while Khaled usually kept to a close-knit bunch of people, amusing them with his wit. They would engage with the crowd and build their relations with the who’s who of Kabul.
His son, Umar, who was now 25, was married to Shahida, a beautiful economist. Khaled firmly believed that Umar was coming of age now that Shahida was expecting a child. And although there was a lot of happiness in his life and life had been kind to him, Khaled always knew there was something amiss. Something told him a chapter of his life was yet to be written, maybe the most important one. Shahida had been summoned to the maternity ward for the final phase of her delivery, now that the three trimesters were almost up.
2 days later, Shahida returned from the ward, carrying in her arms a beautiful, peach-like baby. For Khaled, the excitement that a grandchild brought with her could not be topped by anything. It felt like this was the missing piece in his lifelong puzzle and now, with the arrival of this baby, his life would be complete. This would be the fairytale he was waiting for, his climax, a happy ending even he could not have written.
The kid, named Amir, grew up to a be a smart and inquisitive boy, always active and engaging. He loved to read and over time, he had an envious collection of books which he treasured beyond anything else. For all that, for the outsider looking in, there was one minor deficiency (one may call it so) in the boy – he did not like his grandpa. He would ignore all his advances, almost to a point where Khaled was forced to become a tertiary existence in his own house, for Amir’s good. He would eat separately, had his own TV and was not even allowed to the matchday screenings in the hall, once Amir started watching football by the time he was 7. This hatred grew and Khaled’s health constantly deteriorated over the course of the next few years and he was on his deathbed on Amir’s 12th birthday. He’d never thought that his heart’s innermost desire would be his anticlimactic downfall.
He died a few days later, alone in the night.
In his will, he’d left everything to his grandson and had one dying wish. He wished that his ashes must be kept in his grandsons’ great collection of novels so that at least in death, he was in his grandson’s good books.