Live to Learn or Learn to Live…

A place where they (the elderly) too can be as preoccupied as their children and grandchildren and a time where they too are alive and not merely living.

Quotidian Tales


Originally published at on September 11, 2022.

“You do not know what it is like to be lonely until you spend time alone wishing for companionship.” These words uttered by one of my favorite changemakers, Ratan Tata, in the recent past finally stimulated me to serve up those thoughts that had been simmering in my mind for long. A stalwart supporter of meaningful societal change, Ratan Tata made this statement when his investment in ‘Good Fellows’, a one-of-a-kind start-up in India, was announced and made public a few weeks back.

Ideated by the feisty 28-year-old, Shantanu Naidu, who apart from being Ratan Tata’s assistant also shares a beautiful bond with the 84-year-old tycoon, ‘Good Fellows’ is an aspiration towards a more compassionate living. It aims at forging intergenerational friendships between senior citizens who are lonely, and felicitous young graduates, who choose to act, not cosmetically but instinctively as their grandchildren. Companionship pivoted on emotional intelligence and empathy is the impetus behind this innovative venture, and it is, therefore, based on a “freemium subscription” model that can be accessed by all. To know more about the spectrum of services it offers, take a tour through the website and appreciate the intention that ignites it.

Indeed, since the pandemic-lockdown phase, I have been closely observing the elderly and enfeebled people around me. Perhaps it was the time at hand or the turn towards 40 that sensitized me to something that most of us ignore and never mind — old age. Yes, it was my parents, the next-door aged couple whose children and grandchildren lived abroad, the widow (my mother’s friend), who had lost her habitual partner, her husband to Covid, and even the septuagenarian on the opposite lane whose spouse was chronically ill or impaired, who left me pondering. Peering into their pauses, I realized that such people do not know what to do with their days as nothingness looms large and there seem to be no means to assuage the deluge of depression and desolation that overwhelm them.

After all, do we not come across such decrepit individuals in our very own houses or even in others who are trapped in their…