This article originally appeared on McSweeney’s and was republished with the author’s permission.
1. Your new friends Bob and Rita come to lunch and you serve them idlis, like your grandmother used to make.
2. They love your south Indian cooking and ask for the recipe.
3. You never hear from Rita and Bob again.
4. You read in the Style section of the Guardian about Rita and Bob’s new Idli bar in Covent Garden… called ‘Idli.’
5. You visit Idli. The food tastes nothing like your grandmother’s.
6. Your grandmother dies.
7. Rita and Bob’s children inherit the Idli chain, and open several franchises in America.
8. Your children find work as short order chefs… at Idli.
9. Your children visit you in a nursing home and cook you idlis, which taste nothing like the ones you remember from your youth.
10. You compliment their cooking and ask for the recipe.
11. You die.
Rajeev Balasubramanyam is a novelist who’s work as been featured on VICE, New Statesman, Washington Post, and London Review of Books.