1. You run a small hotel in Kerala near the beach.
2. Hearing that tourists like yoga, you hire a teacher named Ram.
3. A guest from America, Linda, studies under Ram for six months before going home to start her own school — which she calls “Ram’s Yoga.”
4. Ram is eager to visit. Reluctantly, you help him with his airfare.
5. A year later, Ram still hasn’t returned, but “Ram’s Yoga” has become a chain with franchises in Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai.
6. You travel to America and find him living in a room in Oakland with six other Indians while working illegally as a janitor. All the teaching positions at “Ram’s” were filled by Americans, he says.
7. Outraged, you storm into Linda’s office. She does not recognize you and calls the police.
8. You and Ram are deported.
9. “Ram’s Yoga” opens in India where it is called “Linda’s Yoga.”
10. You and Ram set fire to “Linda’s Yoga.” Ram perishes in the blaze. You survive by wrapping yourself in a yoga mat.
11. You live out the rest of your days in your hotel, drinking heavily. You put up a sign that reads: ANYONE CAUGHT PRACTICING YOGA ON THE PREMISES WILL BE BANNED FOR LIFE.
12. Nobody takes much notice.
Rajeev Balasubramanyam’s new novel, Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss, comes out next week.