How are you coping after a month in lock down?
In case it’s any help I thought it might be worth sharing a typical day now that Ramadan and lock down coincide. Let’s look at how I spent yesterday, Monday 27th April:
2:30am Alarm goes off. Pray tahajjud and eat sehri: a bowl of porridge and chamomile tea. Read a portion of Quran and Altaf al-Quds by Shah Waliullah.
4.00am Fajr prayer, dhikr, muraqaba and Hizbul Bahr. Sleep.
8:30am At my desk in the study preparing for remote teaching.
9.00am Teaching English for Academic Purposes and Interactive Learning Skills & Communication. This is my first day of remote teaching. Students are in different time zones around the world.
11:00am Meeting with university staff.
12:30am I like to ‘sharpen my axe’ by reading each day, either learning something new or revising something I should already know. Today I spend an hour in the company of David Fromkin, reading his ‘A Peace to End All Peace’, learning about how the Middle East was created and the Ottoman Empire was brought to an end.
1:30pm Zuhr prayer and reading Quran. This Ramadan I’m reading ‘Tafseer Azizi’ by Shah Abdul Aziz. Originally written in Persian – I have an Urdu translation. What’s unique about it is that it was entirely dictated by him from memory in his latter years as he had lost his eyesight.
2:30pm Another Zoom meeting with colleagues from the University of Birmingham.
3:30pm Spent an hour and a half with the children: This was an eclectic mix of algebraic equations, multiplication tables, binary codes, counting in tens, using hyphens and Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.
5:00pm Reading Judd Harmon’s ‘Political Thought from Plato to the Present’. This is a history of political thought and how the ancients still influence us today.
6pm Time for a little siesta. Didn’t actually fall asleep but just lay down for 30 minutes.
6:30pm Made black eye beans curry for iftar. Wife made the roti and salad.
7:15pm Asr prayer and then, rather later than usual, time to leave the house for the one hour exercise. How strange the dynamics of meeting people on the street have become. I’m not exactly sure what ‘gorm’ is, but lots of people don’t seem to have any of it. One problem is speed differential. I can cope with the cyclists, as they tend to stay on the road and give you a wide berth. My big issue is with the joggers, especially those who have only started pounding the streets since lock down began. You can tell them by the awkward gait, the red face and the ‘I’m about to have a heart attack’ wheezing. They splutter and snort sending bodily fluids way more than 2 metres. If I see them in time I zip across the road to safety.
The other issue is with millennials who seem to think they are immune to infection and that moving into single file would be so uncool. I’ve adopted a new technique: when I see a young couple coming straight towards me who are clearly not going to move an inch. Out comes the tissue and a combination of a sneeze and a dry cough usually does the trick.
8.30pm magrib and iftar
10.00pm Isha and tarawih
Another day survived…
Wherever you are locked up (sorry, down), stay safe and stay sane.
Until next time