“You have turned my life around,” Mr Gul Punjabi told Shantanu Naidu, the co-founder of a companionship startup for the elderly. Mr Punjabi was referring to the rollercoaster of happiness and love he had experienced in the months that he was a part of the startup, The Goodfellows’ ‘grandpal’ community.
Though he passed soon after, his words remain etched in Shantanu’s memory. On days he needed to be reminded of the startup’s larger purpose, they served him well.
Tracing back to how it all shaped up, he credits a natural affinity for the “silver-haired, gold-hearted people” as he fondly calls them. “As soon as I enter a room, I tend to gravitate towards the senior citizens,” he says.
In 2021, determined to alchemise this love into something concrete, Shantanu put out an Instagram story which advertised the idea of connecting the elderly folk of Mumbai with the city’s youth. His DMs (direct messages) were soon flooded with responses. Two…