27 year old Zorawar Kalra is planning to sell paranthas and rolls from carts at shopping malls. According to Business Today, he got this brainwave after seeing cups of steamed corn selling like hotcakes at the same venue.
So Kalra has set up 'The Royal Parantha Company' and has sunk in Rs 12 lakh to set up a state-of-the-art central kitchen in Mehrauli, from where he will ship out the paranthas to franchisees in frozen form.
Zorawar's dad is the well known food consultant Jiggs Kalra and he's a graduate of Boston's Bentley Business University. Being an MBA, Kalra has ostensibly studied the market situation and thinks he has a winning idea. Definitely, I think there is a demand. Success will depend on how well can he execute the supply.
But Kalra is just one example of a new breed of young people. What I call the 'coat-tailers'.
Coat-tailers are the kids of parents who have it all. Statistically they are a small % but very visible in the media. eg Kids of actors, politicians, industrialists and the miscellaneous well-known.
They have had no pressures to perform well academically, or had to put much thought to their careers. Their career is to prepare themselves to inherit the family legacy. There is no shame in this. They are generally educated abroad but aspire to return home, not settle there permanently.
Coat tailers can go thru life doing nothing - there's already a house, car and spending money and Indian parents will support their kids for life. But it's not fashionable to sponge off your parents forever, coat tailers do aspire to make some sort of personal contribution. It's just that they can afford to think longer about what they want, and even fail at a few things.
Characteristics of coat-tailers
Kids of: Celebrities, successful Westernised professionals, Businessmen of standing
Attitude: We've always had the best, because we can afford it.
Parental expectation: Do what you want, what makes you happy. If u need a leg up, I'm around.
Aspiration in Education: Foreign Univ from undergrad level, if not definitely a Foreign MBA.
The ranking of the university is not key - Bentley for example is um, nowehere in the Businessweek top 50 but is still $ 80,000 well spent as far the coat-tailer is concerned. Who needs a placement?
What kids do: Drifting around for some time after education is OK. Eventually they know they will join the family business or profession.
However they do aspire to make a difference in the longer run, do things differently. When that does not happen they feel lack of purpose and meaning in life.
Coat tailers whose families are into the more traditional, boring businesses are striking out into more exciting areas eg nightspots, clothing stores, media, something-to-do-with-entertainment etc. These ventures are often aimed at "People Like Us", and modelled on similar concepts seen on foreign trips.
Usually the family will help fund their ideas. The new business may not contribute that much to family bottomline but keeps the young person busy and out of trouble, also may give boost to image.
Bottomline: At the very least, coat-tailers - who bring us fancy new restaurants and convert their boring mill lands into cool malls - make the world a better place for us lesser mortals.
If some of their ventures end up in the red - so be it. Call it adventures in angel investing - where the angel is actually our father, not in heaven, but yon planet earth.