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RodinStar / Startup

Startup?? Middle class?? Oh boy!!


Awarded the

“Rodinstar” Post 

of the week!!



If  you have ever watched any of Sunil Shetty movies, chances are you have  watched him in a prison scene. The one where a scrumptious meal of one  roti and some daal on a plate could be seen sliding across  the horizontal length of your screen only to dash into the far wall and  splatter its contents into a food graffiti. I used to find it very  funny until my mother started doing that to me.

Hector from Troy and Indian Middle class have one thing in common, they live by a code. In this case the code is simple “get settled” which entails;

  1. Landing a decent paying job. (The more renowned the company the better bragging rights.)
  2. Marrying some homely chick/guy from the same caste preferably. (If any girl above 25 is still single then it becomes a matter of state level crisis with every neighbor and relative suggesting grooms left and right.)
  3. Buying your own house. (A flat in a decent building is acceptable, the more posh the building the more boastful the parents.)

So after my MBA one fine day, when I announced my decision about a startup and my lack of interest in a good old job, my parents received the news in silence, held it for a considerable time and then with an audible sigh continued with whatever they were doing. They always suspected I was a bit mentally challenged and I had confirmed their worst fears – their son was an entrepreneur – wannabe lunatic, raving about his startup refusing a real job and thus making him in middle class terms, “Useless”.

And so began a campaign for containing the losses. Social invitations were turned down, relatives weren’t entertained. All calls from family friends were avoided lest anyone would pose the damning question “So what does your son do now?” The answer to which according to me was “Minds his own business, you should try it sometime”.

Things got only more interesting, the conversations with my family always had an edge, opinions conspicuous by their very absence. There was always a proverbial elephant in the room visualized by me as the one from “Horton hears a who” with clover and all.

Soon I began to doubt myself and the path I had chosen. While I was struggling to land clients, my friends were earning handsomely, seemingly content with their choices and respected by everyone for their good sense. The silent  pressure from my family was overwhelming, everything looked bleak when suddenly I got my first client and things  changed. Your first client would give you a whole new level of confidence, in your idea and yourself. The income was negligible but it gives you the willingness to struggle and keep moving. Somehow my parents had witnessed my persistence and finally relented in a manner as if to say, we have tolerated this up till now, might as well see this farce to its end, but I suspect they are coming around slowly and  surely.

So I have realized a few things which I would like to surmise here;

  1. Your Parents desire the best for you and have mentally charted the route for your success. Expect severe whiplash when you divert from that path.
  2. There will be many who would try to discourage you citing true or fictional examples. The only thing to do is a gut-check, do you feel strongly about your business idea? If the answer is yes, ask everyone to go take a hike.
  3. Some people may surprise you by openly or covertly supporting you – my friend you have just turned real lucky – these are the people who would stick with you in highs and lows, make sure you do right by them.
  4. When no one believes in your idea, You must.
  5. I need to move out asap.

Also posted on:




Other recommended reads on this topic: 

Flat, marriage & family…

Disown Family or Startup…?




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  1. Kahani har entrepreneur ki….. lolzzz

    I have written on this same topic too along with many others here on TRHS…..

    Stronger the resistance from family, society, relatives, Stronger you come out of it one day provided you keep striving until then….!

  2. nice post.

    happens with almost every bird trying to fly on his own. happens with me everytime i disclose my desire to my parents and wife.

    its good if you get into the entrepreneur grind before getting married or getting in family mode. afterwards, the biggest challenge is to keep the kitchen running in crisis.

    all the best.


  3. Good one…

    “Minds his own business, you should try it sometime”, The Best thing a parent can do for the child who’s making a change.

  4. Very true. Hopefully this mindset will change.

  5. Akash, I had another idea few years back, someone important to me asked me to get some experience first. It was a good advice no doubt, the person just wanted me to play safe, too safe actually. What you said was exactly my point I cannot take risks later with additional responsibilities so took my shot right now. Thankyou for your wishes.

    p.s.: Maybe you should start quietly without telling anyone 🙂

  6. exactly but from their perspective its not change it’s waste of time.  They do come around after seeing results, can’t really blame them, can we? Thank you for reading Chirag.

  7. Couldn’t agree more. Story of every entrepreneur. To be frank… average Indians make their decision based on their fear of what others will think or say if I do so and so. Even marriage is also a bigger challenge for struggling entrepreneur 😉 It’s almost impossible to change this belief in near future. As an Indian entrepreneur, we have to live with it 🙂 But once you find your path and follow your heart, nothing else matters.

  8. Let me share this:

    – At 16, my Nani (the most influential parent in my life told me) – study hard – do well.

    I got 87.16% in 1985 ICSE (Science Level B) – ready to walk into ANY college in Mumbai.

    I wanted to DO SCIENCE

    – My nani said “Do Commerce”

    I did commerce.

    – My Nani said – work with your Nana

    At 16.5 when boys were chasing girls, I was chasing truck drivers (my nana’s business)

    – At 22, my Nani said “Get married”

    I got married to Chhavi (THE LUCKIEST LUCKIEST) thing I’ve ever done via an arranged marriage.

    – My Nani said “Work with your father in the socks business”

    I began working with my dad.

    – At 25 my Nani said “have children”

    We resisted – my first daughter was born when I was 28

    – My Nani said, “Try and have a son”

    We had a second kid – THANKFULLY turned out to be my second daughter



    I rebelled. I told Banke Bihari – My Lord and God in Vrindavan – GET ME OUT OF THIS CHANGUL – Make me do something that requires NO money (my dad would not give me anything); that keeps my family out of life; that makes me meet the BEST people in the world.


    I was a B.COM – Socks guy…

    The rest is all here in this blog.


    It doesn’t matter if you are middle class or zero class or high class.

    Parents are the same……

  9. A Goosebumper @ Night !! Love it Bro.. !!

  10. awesome, “sunno sabki karo apni” this line is embedded in my mind till my last breath 🙂

  11. These kind of stories are so making the rounds these days the novelty factor is going off! I am bored of people like Sarvesh who break the “culture ceiling” and dare to venture out and in spite of everything that can go against, they persist and things start going in their favor, much to the envy of everyone who expected otherwise! 

    What I am really looking forward to is say 20-25 years down the line, when many of current rodinhoods would be parents and how different it would be for their(our) children! Wow! 

    For what’s worth, I don’t blame the current set of parents, its not easy to root out deep rooted culture…and considering the hardships they faced during pre-liberalized(License Raj) economy, all they want for their children(us) is none of what they faced. But things have almost changed 360 degrees in so many ways. 

    Stories like this are testament. 

    So even though I am bored of such stories, they do bring a smile on my face! 

    Salute to all entrepreneurs in whatever stage they may be in! 

  12. Talking about marriage, I do know a fellow startup guy who lost his girl because of his choice. He is alright now, but its not all roses. Guess there’s no space for love until you achieve your break even point  😉

  13. – At 22, my Nani said “Get married”

    I got married to Chhavi

    (THE LUCKIEST LUCKIEST) thing………… Nice save 🙂

  14. Its not that great dude. But keep the compliments coming, m not gona complain 🙂

  15. I kinda agree with you. I had almost decided that I am not gonna publish this but the thing was I had read several of the stories and still I somewhere felt that there circumstances were a bit different than mine, i was never fully satisfied.

    I also wondered what if those people hadn’t published their experiences, I would never had got the courage. There is always someone somewhere who finds it hard to find conviction even after reading a million stories, they search for one more. I was one of them and so this post saw the light of the day. Thank you for reading even though you knew what was coming up. Unconditional support like this is invaluable.

  16. sarvesh…

    i go through every story here. and i still find each one of them unique!

    yes everyone has stories. and no matter how similar or different they sound – they are unique. they will strike a chord with lots of different people and inspire them to share their stories. 

    a community is all about “i am not alone” – “this could very well be my story”, “if this dude can do it, so can i…”

    i love everybody’s stories. so pls keep sharing! 

    ps; had you not written your story, do you think we’d get this gem from alok?!

  17. when are you ever wrong asha?!

  18. lots of times dude!

    mere mortal 🙂

  19. Sarvesh, 5000+ entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs, students, professionals registered on TRHS.

    At any point of time, there is someone among them who is facing trouble, someone who just fought the battle, someone who just failed and someone who just won.

    So both kind of stories, failure or success need to be floated time to time here to keep the spirit high.

    More we read such stories more we get inspired and motivated. So keep writing and sharing your story no matter how many similar posts floating around. Your story may not change the lives of thousands but if you manage to inspire even one person, the purpose has been accomplished.


  20. Satya vacchan. Thank You.

  21. sarvesh,

    pls check the top of your post – i messed it up a bit!


  22. Now you have gone and done it, I will be insufferable for a few days 🙂 I would like to thank Sunil shetty, his prison warden, hector and horton. Arigato Mr. Alok Kejriwal for providing this platform as a source of encouragement so we know that we are not alone and ofcourse ASHA, god knows where you get your energy and dedication from, all I can do is express my gratitude to you and the rodinhood community as a whole. Thank You.

  23. Entertaining and bang on!

  24. arigato

  25. This is something that happens with almost every person who wishes to start their own BUSINESS.

    Mostly in India, its kids are more like show off material. Parents invest a lot of time and money in our upbringing , cause they think that investment will payoff. They always wish good for their kids. But the moment you say “BUSINESS” they freak out.  Indian parents try to provide their children TOO MUCH of security. Even before you burn your hands with fire, you are told  “DON’T TOUCH IT CAUSE YOU WILL BURN YOUR SELF ” and you don’t touch it( Indian culture of obeying elders) Eventually you have theoretical knowledge but you never EVER practically know the burn wound.

    As far as goes, my parents think its side business or more kind of hobby I have picked up while m trying to answer some B-SCHOOL entrance exam.

    Anyways good luck with your start up Sarvesh 🙂


  27. saw your website dude, nice idea. especially the academic books.

  28. Thanks bro. Looking forward for more suggestions and ideas from other rodinhooders as well. Also if you know any policy makers who can help me refine rules n regs, do help me out 🙂 whats with your start up?

  29. This is very nicely written. I am surprised how similar the story is in every household. Makes me wonder, if my life would have been better had I been born to the same parents (I love them a lot no matter how much I fight for Qpeka and My Cute Office with them) in US.

  30. Maybe, but wouldn’t that undermine the people who are born to Indian parents and still manage to do it? Its not a pretty phase with people looking down on you and writing you off as irresponsible. You could either let these things distract you or continue with your focus on the bigger picture, ofcourse you have no idea if and when you will succeed but if it would have been easy we wouldn’t be having this discussion on this post.

  31. Really nice read

    Here is a quickie of what happens in a normal business oriented Gujarati family

    1) Even if you do your MBA and you tell your relatives that  you got placed into a MNC like Oracle, they will come up with questions when you going to create your company.

    2) The moment the son/daughter thinks of establishing his own business or joining his family business the term will come ” Have Chokhro moto thai gayo” ( He is a grown dude indirectly meaning he is ready for marriage )

    3) I have seen this in many families even the guy passes out IIT and wants to work in some research lab  the typical answer would so what lets do some business and create your own lab.

    4) While seeking a bride/groom they will definitely ask turnover of your business and unnecessary shit about your business, in the case you have a complex business model and they loose interest the typical term will come out ” Aena Dhandha ma bhalivaar na lagyo” (His business doesn’t seem to be doing good)

    But no matter what entrepreneurship has been instilled in every gujju since childhood and I have seen even small kids going to their dad’s business to just get the feel.

  32. devansh – YOU MUST share your story as well! we’d love to have the gujju chokro & parent perspective on entrepreneurship – seriously!! do write!!!

  33. sarvesh .

    whenevr i come across such stuff in life .

    quietly i say a single word within :


  34. Thanks Asha…haven’t tried writing yet but will give a shot… 

  35. True that. Maharashtrian family prefer Jobs, if there is talk of business, then the common consensus is the son is on a wild goose chase and condolences pour in for the parents. I wonder how difficult is it if you decide that JOB is the way to go in a Gujrati family, will love to hear any stories if you got.

  36. 🙂 samjha nahi. Could you elaborate?

  37. yea i simply say to myself :

    bhaag – run towards your goal .

    so that all mess of life disappears fast 🙂



  38. If only I knew this back then. Thanx mate.

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