Remona AlyWednesday 21 September 2022 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2
A memory in a broken clasp
I was riffling through the jumbled mess of an old jewellery box the other day and found something that I had forgotten about and hadn’t taken out for years. Hiding quietly beneath a nest of cheap tangled up necklaces, discarded rings and half a pair of earrings, was a green jade bracelet encased within a few rising curves of sterling silver. Its delicate clasp was slightly broken, but still I slipped the bracelet around my wrist like a slender caress.
It was a gift from my late father and I was suddenly reminded of how he used to love seeing new things on me. Whenever I wore a new outfit, he’d say in Urdu, “Allah putt purane kare”, meaning, “May God make it old and torn.” I would complain, “Dad, why are you praying for my nice things to get worn out?!” He’d chuckle and explain it was a little supplication that asks God to grant such a long life to the owner that they would outwear the item.
I’ve been reflecting and fretting over how memories tend to fade without my permission. How they begin to blur out of view while the train of time chugs on, how they wear away at the edges when they felt so clear and so defined in their moment.
But I think pieces of the people who leave us behind are carried with us in so many little ways: in a song they’d always sing along to albeit out of tune, in the sweet scent of their favourite flower, even in the light chink of a broken clasp.
The 14th century Persian Muslim poet, Hafez, says, “If you asked for a few words of comfort and guidance, I would quickly kneel by your side and offer you an entire book.”
I think these little things can offer me an entire book. For sometimes the smallest of reminders can utter a thousand unsaid words, the tiniest hint can touch upon a hundred whispered feelings.
So I’ll try not to worry as much over all the memories falling away from me, because a fragment of forgotten love can return tenfold, even from the bottom of a cluttered jewellery box.