Remona Aly
Monday 01 August 2016 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

A gig, a wing and a prayer

A gig, a wing and a prayer, Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, Chris Evans Breakfast Show

There are two things I never do: I never win anything and I never lie. But on this one occasion – I did both.

When I won tickets to see my favourite British band, Muse, live at a London venue, I could not believe my lucky starlight. But, it was on the same day as an extended family wedding. Should I try to do both? I considered wearing my Muse T-shirt under a sparkly Indian outfit and leg it from wedding to concert, but logistics were just not working out. 

So I made a sacrifice. I went for a rock band over a family wedding. But in my defence, I was only being a faithful Muse-lim.

My cover story was I’d stay home to look after mum. As soon as the rest of my family left for the wedding, I threw on my tour t-shirt like a teenage rebel, grabbed the keys and disappeared into the night. 

I was buzzing with excitement as I joined my cousin, testing my pogoing in the queue. But minutes before the gig began, I realised I forgot my ID. ‘I’m afraid you can’t go in’ said the official, as if in slo-mo. 

I was catatonic. I felt the earth swallow me up into a supermassive black hole. I was going to miss out on seeing Muse, live, for free – and I’d lied for it! 

But while I crumbled like a cheap value biscuit, it was those around me who kept it together. My cousin jolted into action, trying to save the situation, while I leant on moral and spiritual support from friends via a group chat on the phone: ‘Everyone pray to Allah that Mona sees Muse NOW,’ my friends rallied.

Their sincerity and action during my inertia, bowled me over. On a wing and a prayer, we managed to get into the gig! 

I’ve always said I can’t live without my family or my friends. When I smile, they share the sunshine of my joy. When I wilt, they make me bloom like a laughing rose. When I’m low, they raise me up light as a cloud.

I want to tell them the words of the Sufi Muslim poet, Rumi, who said: “Your acts of kindness are iridescent wings of divine love, which linger and continue to uplift others long after your sharing.” 

Their support is the stuff of divine love. They’re my pair of wings, they’re my inspiration. They are my muse.