His leave was coming to an end and Border Security Force constable Rameez Ahmed Parray was snatching some quiet time with family at his aunt's place in Jammu and Kashmir's Hajjan on Wednesday night when terrorists barged in.
It was about 9.25 pm, police said, the last half-hour of the life of the jawan, who fought valiantly before he was gunned down at point-blank range in his home in north Kashmir's Bandipore area.
The night before, police had launched a cordon operation at Parray mohalla and terrorists, it is learnt, believed he was involved in the exercise.
Parray, 28, who was posted in adjacent Baramulla with 73 battalion of the BSF, had come on leave on August 26 to finalise the renovation of his house in Parray Mohalla and look for better job prospects for his two brothers.
One month and one day later, the sole bread earner of the family was dead.
As another family in Kashmir mourned the death of a son killed in the prime of his youth, police pieced together the last moments of his life with the help of eyewitnesses.
On Wednesday night, Parray, his two brothers and father were at his aunt Hubba Begum's home, catching up on news of the family perhaps, when two terrorists stormed in, asking for his identity card.
Trained in combat action, Parray, who joined the BSF seven years ago, fought with the intruders, injuring one of them. However, his aunt was also injured in the fight.
Parray rushed home nearby to change so he could take her to the hospital, police said.
But there were other terrorists waiting to attack him. This time, eyewitnesses told police, four terrorists entered Parray's one-storey home and nabbed him.
His father and two brothers pleaded with them to spare his life but the appeals fell on deaf ears.
Parray was shot twice from point-blank range -- in his head and abdomen. It was about 10 pm.
His brothers -- Javed Ahmed and Mohammed Afzal -- told police officials later at the hospital that he was planning to set up a shop for them.
Parray was eager to join his battalion next week and had chalked out his future. But all those dreams have been shattered, his grieving brothers told the police.
"The family has lost their lone bread earner. The other two brothers were working as daily wagers and Rameez was the only one with a stable income," said his uncle Mohammed Maqbool Parray.
On Thursday, senior BSF, CRPF, Police and Army officers paid laid wreaths on his body before it was handed over to family and neighbours.
The family took the body in an ambulance for burial and did not want any police presence because of the fear of militants.
According to Director General of Police S P Vaid, it was the handiwork of the Lashker-e-Tayiba terror group.
Referring to reports linking the cordon operation to the death, Vaid said, "This is absolutely baseless as terrorists have no excuse for the senseless and brutal killing."