Remona Aly
Wednesday 01 February 2017 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

Laptops & Blessings

Laptops & Blessings, Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, Chris Evans Breakfast Show

As a freelancing hobo, I’ve hot-desked in a LOT of cafes, hiding my fat brick of an ancient laptop behind frappe menus, while coveting my neighbour’s size zero tablet. So when I finally bought a slick new device, it was pretty momentous. 

I was on the train last month, recent purchase by my side, dozed for a bit, then distractedly got off at my stop to grab a taxi. But I was missing something – my spanking new laptop. 

I froze in shock at my own idiocy, but my heroic taxi driver sprung into action, with a rallying cry of: “Let’s chase the train!” and off we zoomed, breaking the law just a little bit to reach the next station. I Usain Bolted it down the platform – me, a Muslim woman, in a headscarf, shouting as I ran – “Stop that train! There’s something on it!” but apparently alarming not one of the Kent station staff.

I bounded onto the train, found my laptop on the seat, let out a little ‘Allahu akbar’ and leapt out the closing doors like Jason Bourne.

In just minutes I’d gone from disaster to delight, I was grateful for the taxi driver, and I was grateful for my laptop – which became a hundred times more precious to me from that moment. 

It’s scarily easy to take things for granted, to sleepwalk through life, to lose sight of what’s around you – and what’s within you. I need a jolt, a wake up call, to appreciate the multitude of gifts in my life, and to know how quickly they can be snatched away – especially through my own neglect.

Yet even the laptop – on which I wrote this pause for thought – is the least of my blessings compared to my health, my home, my family, my freedom, my rights. But when I lose sight of them in the dark times, I recall the words of the Muslim Sufi poet and scholar, Rumi who puts it all back into perspective: “But listen to me,” he pleads. “For one moment, quit being sad. Hear blessings, dropping their blossoms around you.”

There will always be times I’m forgetful, neglectful, but I’ll strive to keep my ears, my eyes and my heart open so as not to miss out on the gentle cascade of blossoms as they gently fall around me.