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The What If Question

The What If Question

February 19, 2013
What does it take to start a start up (Indian style).

When Abhishek Garodia first arrived in London from Asia, he could not find any concise information in one place of all available gym classes in his neighbourhood and so was born the idea of playenable.com It is a platform, which goes across all the fitness and facilities classes in the neighbourhood. You can schedule, book and pay through this site.

Asif Walli’s story is slightly different. After many years of working in the IT industry, following an epiphany on a crowded train, when he realised he had to do something different, he launched his Duke of Delhi brand of biscuits to recapture the taste of the Nankhatai (semolina biscuits) as cooked by his grandma which he could not find anywhere else.

What strikes me is that they are both of Indian origin and are taking a different path, trying to start their own companies, far from their home country.

In fact the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that it is, because they are far from home, that they don’t need to conform to the one track yuppiedom that comes with the territory of being born and brought up in the competitive Indian society of one-up-man ship--where my son is going to IIM, is your’s kind?-- of conversation that marked much of my early twenties?

Yes, there are the Tata’s, Birlas, Ambanis and many other such made-in-India business houses who started out as entrepreneurial ventures, but they came from either the very rich (Tata’s) or the lower middle class (Ambanis.)

Certainly everyone I grew up with--and came from a solid upper middle class background went onto the tried and tested, corporate route. Mind you I don’t grudge them that either, it’s as good a life as any, and has its rewards.

But the problem arises I think when you are entrepreneurial at heart, and yet conditioning pretty much dictated thewhat if scenario. ie. what if you were to that to try to forge out on your own, follow your heart and what if you were to fail? How would you show your face in society? So, one kind of stuck to the corporate route, earned one’s bonus and went on.

It is only now, i.e. more than fifteen years of having left the home country and after being through quite a bit of the corporate tread mill myself that I am tempted to ask the question what if I were to succeed?

Like the Duke of Delhi mentioned above, in a moment of epiphany born of a near death-miscarriage-experience, I realised that life really was too short. Perhaps it was time to ask myself some of these more uncomfortable questions and face the answers than going to my funeral pyre with silence?

What do you think? Do you agree?


  • 30.06.14 10:40 AM
    Though roots of the NRI is still in India, the changes that happen here are so fast that the lose the familiarity of the environment which they have been brought up in. This is why many NRI when they try to start the business in india either with their own presence or in remote, the success rate is quiet low or they end up investing more then what is warranted.
  • Laxmi (@laxmi)
    Laxmi (@laxmi)
    23.02.13 06:44 PM
    @Harry as always, thanks for the vote of confidence :) keep you posted!!
    23.02.13 04:37 PM
    @ Laxmi

    Your dreams are in your hand, and no one else's. what you you do is up to you, and no one can tell you what you can do and what you can't. Your success and your failure are also part of parcel of you and no body else's. The success is part of your motivation and drive and if you don't have any of this, then you will still not succeed even with millions of pounds in your hands.

    The things that I've done in my life, and what I do for living, many people would not even dream of it in our community.

    Take the plunge in the deep part, because without it you will never know weather you will succeed or fail, and even if you fail, so what, you can at least say proudly that you tried your best, and that is all you can do and no more.

    Remember one thing we are only held by our own imagination and drive and no one else's.


    PS On that note, good luck, and I mean that from bottom of my heart, and keep us posted on what ever you do. Remember only you are in charge of your life and it's up to you in what you do not society or community. You are not there to please them.
  • shashi
    21.02.13 12:08 PM
  • Rajpriya
    20.02.13 03:23 AM
    Now here's a success story:

    “How did you make your fortune Dad?” asked Ram.

    “I became the exclusive distributor of a successful manufacturer. He had the money and I had the experience,” the father said.

    “I don’t understand Dad, How did that help?” questions Ram.

    “Now after thirty years, he has the experience and I have the money,” says Ram’s Dad.
  • Laxmi (@laxmi)
    Laxmi (@laxmi)
    20.02.13 01:11 AM
    @Rajpriya well said - its an old theme. Nothing changes!
  • Rajpriya
    20.02.13 01:01 AM
    Here's how a sound business plan failed.

    A young lawyer visited his father, who is also a lawyer.

    The son proudly reported: "Can you remember father, the inheritance case you put me in charge. I won that case"

    Father shouts "You damned idiot",

    "I have lived for many years on that process, financed all your studies that made you a lawyer. I handed this case so you can build up your own good business." “Now have ruined it”

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