Mo cannot take Fridays off. As a result he finds himself praying in the eastbound streetcar on his way to work. He assumes the appropriate position—as if holding the Qu’ran in hand—and enters a meditative state of worship, mumbling to himself at points where he usually sings when in the privacy of his own room. Mo makes time for prayer five times throughout the day, which isn’t difficult since he is assistant manager at his uncle’s restaurant and his uncle is a somewhat religious man himself. The plan, explained as such by Uncle Iqbal involves 1) gaining experience with Canadian clientele, which will enable him to speak English more fluently, 2) practising the most recent accounting software and techniques, and 3) giving Mo Canadian work experience. “Very, very necessary,” insisted Uncle. “It was bad enough when I first came; you might as well have come straight from the tea plantation! But these days don’t you dare grow a beard. You know what happened to Yusuf. Uncle paused, looked thoughtful. “We’ll just keep calling you Mo.”

Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 3. Purchase the book to read the full piece.