I write mysteries and thrillers. When writing them, I live in an alternative reality where deaths occur. It turns out though that alternative reality is not as real as the one I live in when not writing.
I met Benazir Bhutto in college where she kept the name Benazir to herself and introduced herself as “Pinkie.” One night at a bull session in my dorm room, she and I had a screaming match over what should be done in the Arab-Israel conflict. One of her friends ran from the room crying because she could not handle our disagreement. For me politics discussed at high volume was situation normal. Evidently for Pinkie, too, and our argument made no difference to our casual friendship. Someone told me that newspapers in Pakistan opposed to her ex-foreign minister father alleged that his daughter was hanging out with Jews and left-wingers. Maybe so. I myself did not spend a lot of time with her, but I did fit both categories.
Pinkie and I overlapped at Oxford, too. I remember going by her room at Lady Margaret Hall, which in those days was women-only. She seemed overly appreciative of the visit and insisted I take an oversized tea tin – which I still have somewhere – as a gift.
I did not see Pinkie after Oxford, but when she was assassinated two days after Christmas, I felt it. My college friend had been murdered. Bullets had torn through her. That’s reality and it’s terrible.
Pinkie as an undergrad