Should Family Come First?

Bhavik Sarkhedi
4 min readJan 4, 2024
Source: FreePik

My journey began in the modest surroundings of a lower-middle-class household in India, a place where dreams were often in stark contrast with reality. This journey wasn’t merely about establishing a successful business; it was a deeper exploration of staying true to my roots in a world where tradition and modernity often conflict. I have been writing for so long and I knew the time to take risks had arrived and so I did. I decided to start my own company.

Given my financial background and no real contacts in the industry, there were moments, in the quiet of the night, when doubts would creep in. “Is this path leading me away from my roots?” I often wondered, feeling the weight of my decisions. This wasn’t just about business; it was about staying true to myself in a world where tradition and innovation are often at odds.From these modest beginnings, I embarked on an entrepreneurial venture that defied the odds.

With determination, I grew my content writing agency from a modest team of two to a thriving 75, marking a path untraveled by anyone in my family. This journey culminated in a life-changing event — the sale of my company, propelling my wife and me into an economic stratosphere that was once beyond our wildest dreams. A freelance writer just 4 years ago is now an entrepreneur with a more than handsome amount. It looked like the best phase of my life was starting.

The sale of my company, a decision that propelled my wife and me into an economic stratosphere we never imagined inhabiting, would put us in a strange dilemma. As the company changed, so did our lives.

Our families, still anchored in the economic realities we had just escaped, looked to us for support.

We were now the benefactors for 15 family members, each with their own set of needs — educational fees, medical bills, and basic living expenses.

However, with this newfound wealth came an unexpected quandary: the responsibility towards our extended family, deeply rooted in Indian cultural norms.

One evening, as my wife and I discussed our financial situation, to sum up, the summary went like this, “In India, the concept of familial support is deeply ingrained.

It’s common for successful members to aid their extended family.

However, this often comes at a personal cost, creating a delicate balance between duty and self-preservation. We are not special. Nearly two-thirds or even more of middle-class Indians support their extended families. We are in debt to help our families.”

Armed with this broader understanding, our discussions took on a new dimension.

We discussed historical and modern examples of Indian families facing similar crossroads. “Remember the story of the Ambani brothers?” my wife mused. “Their saga is a testament to the complex interplay of family dynamics in Indian business families.”

“But at what cost?” I shouted aloud, “While we want to help, we must also consider our future.”

This reflection led us to a new approach.

We decided to set up an educational fund for our nieces and nephews and a medical emergency fund for our elders, thus addressing immediate needs while ensuring our long-term financial stability.

Our story isn’t unique. It mirrors the narrative of many middle-class families in modern India, caught between the cultural imperatives of our heritage and the practical demands of a rapidly evolving world.

Our decisions, much like the country we live in, are a reflection of this complex interplay.

Standing on my balcony, the city lights below me, I reflected on the essence of this journey.

It was more than a transition from scarcity to abundance; it was a journey of self-discovery, understanding the true essence of wealth, and our rich, albeit complex, culture.

“Are we merely custodians of this wealth, meant to pass it on?” I often pondered.

This transition has taught me that wealth is not just financial; it’s the knowledge, the values, and the wisdom we pass on, as far as our culture is concerned.

It’s about striking a balance between aiding our loved ones and securing our future.

While it’s natural to question if ‘Family Should Come First,’ the answer lies in finding a balance that honors our cultural heritage without compromising our future. It’s about making informed decisions that consider the broader social context and the evolving dynamics of modern Indian society.

As I looked out at the night sky, I realized that this journey, with all its complexities and dilemmas, was not just about financial prosperity.

It was about understanding the evolving narrative of success and responsibility in a country as diverse and dynamic as India.

“Will this decision haunt me?” I said, aware that each choice shaped not just our lives but those of our loved ones. There is no definite answer to that question.

In the warmth of our new home that we bought, my wife and I would keep delving into discussions about our new role as the family’s financial backbone.

“Remember how we managed with so little back then?” she would reminisce, her eyes reflecting a mix of nostalgia and concern. It would keep us grounded with our humble beginnings and the stark contrast to our current reality.

Read Here More: This is the longer version of the story published in The New York Times.

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Bhavik Sarkhedi

2000+ Published Articles | Author of 8 Non Best Selling Books | Writer to 35+ Reputed Magazines | Connect with me at https://bhaviksarkhedi.com