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Wisdom Stories Ep.27: Mr Manoj Tandon

Cultural expectations surrounding the elderly are being challenged today, and with good reason!

While it was the norm to slow down and retreat into a quieter life post-retirement, more men and women are finding purpose and joy in doing the opposite.

WisdomCircle honours such men and women by shining light on their journey through an inspiring series called “Wisdom Stories”. These people have successfully smashed stereotypes, and their stories remind us that life should be lived to the fullest, no matter what age or stage.

I graduated from IIT Kanpur and IIxM Lucknow and started as a trainee in the IT industry. I rose up the ranks to eventually be Managing Partner of MGS, a consulting company, based in California. Post my return to India, I was appointed as Division Head of the world’s 3rd largest software company (CSC) and joined their European Board in the UK.

With my children nicely settled at this point, I decided to pursue my other passions. I started a consulting company focused on start-ups, based on a model I call “Affordable Consulting”. The purpose was to share my industry know-how with companies who could not afford to pay huge fees to big consulting firms. To reach a wider audience, I decided to write a book. I published my book “Growing IT business via Client Management.”  

I don’t like the concept of retirement. Doing something meaningful keeps me physically and mentally fit, keeps my self-esteem intact and allows me to do what I always wanted. After publishing the book, I was keen on finding my next project. I started contacting editors in various media houses. Luckily, a young media house took a chance on me and I started writing feature articles for them.

Manoj Tandon with his wife and fellow actress Chhavi Tandon

One day, out of the blue, I got a phone call from the casting agent of a modelling agency who had seen my pictures in the publication I was writing for. They needed a senior citizen model. I spoke to my wife, and we had a big laugh but thought, well why not? So, there I was, in the studio the next day, and I got selected! The lady who was supposed to play my wife backed out, and I suggested my wife’s name. As luck would have it, she was selected as well!

A cherished moment with Amitabh Bachchan during a shoot
Sharing some moments with Neena Gupta on set

The first photo shoot was a success. 20+ campaigns came out of it, and led us to be a part of many TV/ Social Media ads, Web Series and Movies.  In doing all these assignments, I got a chance to work with stalwarts like Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Anupam Kher and Neena Gupta amongst others. This year, we crossed 250 modelling/acting assignments.

It will not be appropriate if I don’t tell you about my biggest achievement – it was when I became a grandfather to two boys and a girl!

My advice to the wisdom generation is to embrace this stage, list down 5 things that you always wanted to do but never had time for, and figure out a simple to way to do them and then do them.

You will fall in love with life…again.

Manoj Tandon

Interview Credits: Saonli Sen Choudhury of WisdomCircle
Photo Credits: Manoj Tandon

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