“You don’t stop laughing because you grow older. You grow older because you stop laughing.”
– Maurice Chevalier
Today, most of us know that population around the world are aging. While many governments and social organisations are studying, analysing, and finding healthcare solutions for the aged, there is not much being done at the emotional and lifestyle levels. Although this is a subject that should concern almost all of us, most of us are not doing much about it. Luckily for us, Dipti Varma Narain of Bangalore is thinking differently and is doing something about it.
The Silver Surfers Club
Dipti started a delightful little enterprise called The Silver Surfers Club (TSSC) in August 2014, and it has literally caught the imagination of the ‘not-so-old’ in Bangalore; and the word has even spread to other cities across India. TSSC aims to keep the silver community (55+) at their active best so that they remain emotionally contented and physically buoyant!
It is heartening to note that the TSSC has been started by a young lady. This is how Dipti sees it:
“We know that many ‘Silvers’ in our community are very talented and we want them to be recognised and appreciated. We assist them in bringing their skills and products to an online marketplace. This not only helps keep them engaged but also changes youngsters’ perceptions about that age group. There is a great need to reduce the cultural gap between the young and the old – only then can we make for an ‘empathetic society’ that is comfortable in its own skin.”
What do they do?
TSSC aspires to become a comprehensive platform dedicated to unlock the potential and ensure the well-being of seniors. They offer opportunities at the emotional, economic, social, and recreational levels to keep the seniors in touch with their inner selves as well with the society at large.
TSSC wants the seniors to chase their passions or hobbies; their dreams even. Through social media they encourage their members to sell products or services to other members and the public as well. TSSC only keeps a small percentage of the profits to run the operations.
They conduct events from time to time: musical soirees like retro music nights, dance events like the Valentine’s Ball, get-togethers called ‘Meet and Greet’ over luncheons, karaoke brunches, flea-markets [called Silver Bazaars] for homemade products, and a host of other events.
They also offer leisure oriented activities like getaways and holidays. They conducted a successful trip to Masinagudi, and now there is another trip coming up – to Hampi. There are also a few international trips planned for 2016.
Many organisations have come forward to help TSSC achieve its objectives: Opus, Fava, Royal Orchid Hotels, Jungle Retreat, and Total Yoga – to name a few. They provide venues, music, set-up requirements, programs, or simply discounts that benefit the members. It is indeed great to see that other businesses in the city take so much interest in this initiative.
How does it work?
Getting a membership is very easy: one has to be over 55 years and pay the princely the sum of Rs. 1000 for an annual membership! In just over a year they have grown to about 100 members, and have a Facebook following of over 3500. They have also been featured in leading publications across the country. TSSC is now looking to spreading its wings to Delhi, Bombay, and other cities across the country. As the other cities get networked the Silver Surfers community will become larger. This will help the members get a larger reach for their products and services.
What was the inspiration?
Everyone wants to know the answer to this. There is always a great ‘back story’ to how these simple things get started. Well, for Dipti, who always felt affectionately for the senior community, it started with her
mother-in-law; and as you will see this does not turn out to be a typical ‘saas-bahu’ saga. Shobha Narain, Dipti’s mother-in-law who is in her 60s, has always been a good cook. Dipti showed her pictures of other people selling homemade products online, and slowly got her enthused to start bottling a few samples of her own. Little did she know that her sauces and dips would one day become the rage in town. Incidentally, the brand is called Naani’s and is available online.Dipti herself was taken aback when the first lot of 50 bottles flew out faster than she could count. That’s when it struck her that there were surely other folks who were equally talented and only needed some help to get their products marketed. With the dawning of that realisation in her mind and a steely resolve Dipti launched TSSC. Then, with time, the other fun initiatives got added to the mandate.
The good stuff
And these silver folks have not let Dipti down. They dug deep within themselves, delved into their hobbies, rekindled their passions and have brought to the fore their real selves: chocolatiers, jewellers, painters, dress makers, culinary experts, piano teachers, photographers, artists, singers, groovers, and a host of other talents. It will take another article to completely list all the success stories of TSSC but it is certainly heart warming to see the number of people who are so gifted and enthusiastic.
I recently went to one of their karaoke brunches at the Fava, UB City. I watched the members for long: their joie-de-vivre, their camaraderie, their talents, their wealth of experiences, and their free-spirited laughter – all stand out like a beautiful summer’s day that you don’t want to see end.
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