Flat, marriage and family – 3 reasons why young Indians don’t turn entrepreneurs!

If you are from India, have been a part of a regular middle class family and have even thought of starting something of your own, am sure you’d associate with the headline itself! Everything that I’ve mentioned below is based on true incidents. I don’t intend to hurt anyone here, still if you did, sorry about it! Getting to the point, straightaway!


About an year back one of my very close friends told me about a product idea. I liked the idea and told him I could work with him on that if he’s willing to seriously build it. His answer was – “yaar abhi job nahi chhod sakta, 6 mahine mein shaadi hai” [Dude, I can’t quit job right now, getting married in 6 months]. Okay, get married but why do you want give up on an idea you believe in? Your girl will understand, won’t she?

Guess what? Obviously, he never build it and few months back I saw someone (very famous in the startup community) roll exactly that product out and is quite close to getting funded too! Yeah, my friend’s “happily married”, barely at 27!

Update [Oct 19, 2013]: This guy who went ahead and is building this product recently got funded $150,000 and got featured on Techcrunch too!

I know an entrepreneur who literally fights (or used to at some point) with his wife everyday just because she wants another kid and he doesn’t. His company has just come out of startup mode and is heading towards being an SME. “I have a 4 yr old kid and having another one now would take me 4 years back! I have been slowly planning the financials but this would mean I start planning all over again, save even more and take even fewer risks!” is what he said!

Indian entrepreneurs' struggle
Indian entrepreneurs’ struggle

One of my ex girlfriend had started talking about marriage barely when we had graduated. I never denied marrying her but I used to tell her lets first achieve something, I want to do a few things in life, be a successful entrepreneur and all this might take a little time, there’s no point in getting married quickly and then allocating funds to expenses that could have been avoided at that age, but no, she wouldn’t listen! Of course, she’s happily married and I, having failed 2 startups in the past, am still building another startup! (I hope this post reaches you, lady!)

Oh! And that concept of getting your kids married at the right age => guys before 30 and gals by 26-27 max! I’ve always stressed, there’s nothing called such as a “right age” – why not just get married when you are ready – 25 or 32 – how does it matter? I hope you’re not thinking about that old shit about retiring and then marrying your kids before that <- That actually is the root problem!

Sorry to say, but the uncles and the aunts in our (normal middle class) families are the worst. They will keep asking your salary, some of them every single f***ing month. These relatives are probably the ones whose kids would have done “nothing” in their lives, graduated from some (worthless) A league institution in India and landed a fat paying job. And believe me these are absolutely good for nothing folks. If you are a startup guy, you already know that, don’t you 😉 They would join a company through campus placement and would be too scared/complacent/useless that they would spend their entire life within that single organization – without even doing something innovative! These uncles would be happy to show the entire family that the ad in TOI today was done by their kid while all that ad would have is a bollywood diva holding a soap bar in her hand. THATS IT!?! That’s all you learnt in your fancy B School?

What’s the big deal in it? If I pay TOI that much, they will even publish a horse shit pic, they just want money! But no, these are the ones who are valued in your family! Whatever they say are Golden Diamond words. What’s worse is you are always compared to these dumb folks whenever you go to a family gathering. And most, all of them would look at you as if you are the piece of shit lying on the roadside.

To share another case, one such highly respected family member told me to look for a career in animation, back in 2007-08. Recently, I met him at another family gathering a few months back and he said “tum animation me kuch kyu nahi try karte?” [Why don’t you try something in animation?] I was like…dude? You are still the same! Your thoughts are still stuck where they were 4-5 years back! By the way, this member is probably the highest respected person in my family and heads delivery at a multi billion (yes Billion) dollar enterprise and travels abroad every week. Yeah, (sadly) that’s what puts the stamp on his authority! Am quite sure even Steve Jobs or Bill Gates would have spent more time with their families at his age (and still earned much more if that’s what you want to hear).

More problems we face with family/neighbours in this book.


The other fantasy about middle class family people is owning a flat! I never get this point. I, really don’t! Why do they want your kid to buy a flat and then spend the rest of his life paying back the loan? Coming from middle class, we’ve never had loads of money to spend. So the way out always is to pay probably a 10th or even less initially and then take a loan for 60% for the next 15-20 years.

And is duly supported by our Financial system! Go and try to raise money for your startup and the same money for a home, you’ll know what I mean!

Once you have a loan on your head, that too a home loan, for not less than 40-50 Lacs, am sure you wouldn’t be willing to take a risk, would you? And that tension of repaying that loan! Anyways, there is very little probability that our kids would stay in that house for long. They’d go places, do stuff in life and make it big themselves! Actually this would connect with Rahul Dewan’s post where he talks how retired people should recede back to smaller towns and do great things. A brilliant thought by the way, go read that!

In another relationship, I told my girl that I don’t earn great right now and that I am trying to build a company and shared the vision. At first she appreciated my honesty but then within a few weeks she asked “Abhinav, hum ghar kab lenge?” [Abhinav, when will we buy a home?] That day itself I knew – she wasn’t the one! No wonder that relationship didn’t last long.(I am quite sure you’re reading this!)

I guess I’ve written, read ranted, too much already or else I won’t be allowed to enter my hometown the next time!

Update: I realized most people, even though agreed to this, say its inconclusive. I must add this: The point is that people who can bear all these pressures and can still build a company, are the ones whom we call SUCCESSFUL!

Update2: Somebody got so inspired that he made a short movie out of this. I got to know from the comments section.

Hi Abhinav

I was inspired by your blog to write and direct a short movie on the topic. It’s now released on YouTube. Thanks for watching and hope you like it!

Here it is:

Update 4 [Oct 23, 2013]: This article has led me to an interview in the prestigious The Week magazine. [Looks like they pulled down the online version of the article, was in their Sept issue]

Update 5: [Apr 19, 2014]: A small section of people thought this blog is sexist, my sincere apologies to you if you think so. However I do not agree with that point and here’s my reply to it: The Flat-Family-Marriage blog raises societal issues and is NOT sexist: Here’s Why

[Update 6: The most important one] The article was published on Feb 13, 2013. On Nov 26, 2014 I got married and I am still an entrepreneur. Maybe a year later I would write how it has been 🙂

266 thoughts on “Flat, marriage and family – 3 reasons why young Indians don’t turn entrepreneurs! Add Yours?

  • Though your point is valid, but the way you presented your point, the rationale you gave all makes me feel you are a loser, but I am sure that does matter and it should not. I wish you a very successful entrepreneurial journey.

    • Exactly my thought!
      The author seems frustrated, if nothing else. Some points are definitely valid, but people who landed fat paying jobs wouldnt have done “nothing” in their lives. I know people with brilliant ideas/entrepeneurial skills who got good jobs and creating services or contributing to existing ones at world’s leading tech giants, India and abroad.
      Well, best of luck and may you achieve your definition of success.

  • So very true. I completely agree with what u say. I myself am a budding entrepreneur and I am going through or have gone through the things mentioned by you.

    And you article does not sound sexist. Because I am girl and I can completely relate to what you said.

    If people find it sexist it is probably because in our society where many girls are not allowed to work … People just cant imagine a girl becoming an entrepreneur

  • Worth a reading for others to think differently. I recall a famous dialogue from 3 Idiots movie,” strive for excellence in what you do, not for success”.

  • Hahahahaha.. Awesome.. Loved it.. Living every phase of this.. I took hard decision and decided to go for start up leaving my Job in Australian MNC.
    I am also planned to get married in next 6 months. Lets c how it goes 🙂

  • Wow !!! Truly Inspired, infact the SUBJECT speak all about story !!!

    So True, i wish i could be an entrepreneur. Thank you so much for the article. (Via Sachin Bansal i got this atricle_Twitter)

    Bless me 🙂

  • At least the highest respected person in your family asked you about animation, in our country it will end like – why aren’t you trying for a BCS job (government job)? Doesn’t matter whatever you’re doing.

  • Hi Abhihav,
    I appreciate that you have taken a step to portraits the scenarios around we entrepreneurs by writing this stunning blog.

    Moreover, the video part done is really a commanding job. Though I hail from developers clan of reputed premier IT institute of India, I can understand how much it takes to shoot a video since I’ve also done that couple of time. Credits for having even such experience goes to my entrepreneurship journey.
    Every new day filled with New Challenges, New Learnings, New Experiences.

    Sometimes it seems ridiculous to me. “Running successful venture and making large sums” is expected from you to happen within 1-2 years only.

    With my one year experience in entrepreneurship, I feel that becoming a “successful entrepreneur” is like doing continuous meditation for a long time.
    Here, “successful enterpreneurs” is not referred to those entrepreneurs who are running successful ventures but to them, who still not leaving the battlefield. A start up can fail but a serious entrepreneur never.

    My new start is around “community development”. With my endeavors in this, I wish that I can spread words over this to change the mindset.

    • Hi Girish,
      Thanks for dropping by. Just to clarify, the video is not done by me, but by an inspired soul like you, who found this blog worthy enough to be translated into a short movie. Yes, it’s a great job indeed.
      Secondly, I really like the comparison of continuous meditation with the startup. It’s exactly like that, the results are seen only after 2 years or more.
      Wish you all the very best for your startup.

  • i too am aspiring to become an entrepreneur, i have solid plans for it but, being a little less than 16 (as of 21st jan 2021) i am having fears regarding my perspective of the society and what it actually is, whether my plans and pricing will be accepted by the society or no……etc.
    Now, u may tell me to concentrate on my studies and stuff like that but then lrt me tell u frankly i have lost all my f**king interest in studies or academics.
    so regarding my fears i thought approaching a person like u might help me as i find myself 0% comfortable in my home or with my parents

    • You can do both. Complete your schooling as well as work on your idea. What’s there to be afraid of? At most it won’t work. It’s good to fail 🙂

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