Remona Aly
Wednesday 15 April 2020 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

The Lockdown and Memories of a Prayer Rug

Lockdown, memories and a prayer rug
Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show

We’ve been in lockdown for a little over three weeks, and I tell you this – my mum is making the most of it. She’s loving the fact that her daughter can’t leave the house, as it means I can finally get through her to-do list. Mum has got me to clean corners I never knew existed, had me clear out my version of a man drawer, and has thrust the phone in my face without warning to talk to relatives in India with my broken Urdu.

While the lockdown has produced its own challenges, not to mention damaging the hinges on the snack cupboard, I think about how we’ve all been pushed into a different pace, and a different mind-set. For me, my mind is wandering back and forth more than ever before, re-thinking, re-calibrating, and re-visiting past memories.

Yesterday, I was tidying – as per mum’s instruction – when I stopped to glance at my late father’s old prayer rug standing like a scroll in the corner of the room. I rolled it out on the floor and traced the simple design of a mosque bordered with flowers and waves, its red woollen fibres faded from years of the sun’s embrace.

It was a gift from my dad’s best friend when they were bachelors. I remember the stories dad told me of them jumping in the car driving out to new adventures, playing practical jokes on friends, and sharing dreams about the future.

The friends have passed away many years ago, and as I smiled at the faded red rug, laden with their friendship, prayers and memories, I couldn’t help but yearn for the memories I can’t make right now. It feels like Life is pressing a giant pause button. But the words of the American children’s author Dr Seuss, make me reconsider. ‘’Sometimes,” he says, “you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

Perhaps these days of lockdown, painful as they are, will be the time we remember as the moments when we re-calibrated, renewed, and emerged wiser. I hold on to that hope, as strongly as I’m sure mum holds on to this moment as the time I finally tidied my room.