Remona Aly
Wednesday 30 December 2020 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

Chalk, Cheese and Destiny

BBC Radio 2, Pause for Thought on the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show
Mum, Me, Chalk, Cheese and Destiny


It always baffles me how different I am to my mother, even though I have sprung from her womb.

Mum’s an introvert, I’m a social beast. I have a sock drawer the size of Lapland, mum has never worn socks in her life. She’s also a football fiend, avidly watching matches in her shalwar kameez, while telling an uninterested me about the club history of each player, or Jurgen Klopp’s reaction when Liverpool won the Premiership.

 I’ve noticed another quirk to add to her repertoire this year – mum tends to watch the end of a drama first to figure out whether it’s worth watching from the start. She feels safer knowing a character’s fate beforehand, and enjoys their story more knowing where they’ll end up.

 If only destiny could work out in the same way. Knowing what our endings are would save us a huge amount of trouble. Yet life would look very different – uncomplicated, but less real, if we had the foresight of what lies ahead.

If I could rewind to my 25-year-old self and say, “Don’t put all your trust in who you think is a true friend, she will abandon you,” I may have saved myself a lot of distress, but I wouldn’t have learned how to value the glow of true friendship.

Or would I go back to the time I made the wrong decision about my future, and protect myself from failure, even though it taught me to rise from my own ruins.

Grief and joy, thorns and roses are destined for us. Without them we would never comprehend the rugged but staggering landscape of our human journey.

The Muslim musician and founder of the Sufi Order in the West, Hazrat Inayat Khan put it this way, “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”

I’ll go into the new year open to the lessons of uncertainty, terrifying and beautiful as they are. I’m sure mum will too, even if she’s itching to know who’ll win the next premiership.