I had never imagined I would live in Ooty. Indeed, I went to live there for 10 months.
All this happened as I went to Ooty for the Photography and Filmmaking Diploma, which I did from Light and Life Academy, Lovedale.
Indeed, the Diploma is for 1 year, but after 10 months, time for portfolio creation.
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What pushed me to Pursue a Diploma from Ooty?
I was eagerly searching for a place to enhance my skills further as I was doing Photography simultaneously while doing a Digital Marketing job for nearly 3 years.
Moreover, I was getting frustrated in the job I was involved in because I was being pressured and blamed continuously for the client satisfaction. Indeed, I did my best day and night, but that pressure continued, so I started searching to give my Photography a professional eye.
Hence, I learned about Light and Life Academy, which is in Ooty, while searching online. I further researched and found it was among the best institutes to advance in Photography in India.
When I saw the Admission page and went to apply, I realized that the admission process was over, and it’s been 2 days already.
But, still, I applied for the Admission and left over to Destiny if there was even a little chance left.
After a few days, I received an email from the Academy regarding the Interview. I believed it was in my Destiny that I was still selected for the Interview after the Admission date was gone. Everything went well, and finally, I resigned from the Job and Joined Light and Life Academy, Lovedale, Ooty.
The not-so-happening past job has uplifted me to take a big step forward.
I packed my bags and went to Ooty for a new start.
How to Reach Ooty
Whether you’re going by Train or Plane, the nearest station and airport is Coimbatore, which is around 90km away.
You can take a taxi from Coimbatore, which would take 3-4 hours to reach Ooty and cost around Rs. 2500 – Rs. 3000.
If you plan to take a bus from Coimbatore to Ooty, it will cost roughly Rs. 100 – Rs. 110. But, the bus would become highly crowded, and if you carry luggage, you would have to adjust a lot.
My Daily Life in Ooty
When going to the Academy on the weekdays, my daily life started with waking up around 7 a.m., getting ready, and reaching the bus point, 15 minutes away from where I stayed.
Entering the Academy, and attending class, but returning home was not fixed. But, mainly till 6p.m, the bus drops most of the days. Then, to have Dinner and sleep.
I followed the routine for the first 2-3 months, then made modifications; overall, the objective remained the same.
Where had I stayed in Ooty?
The Academy has provided a list of accommodations, and according to the need and suitability, I have reserved a room in the Kil Kodappamund area.
Indeed, the location I had selected was far from where the Academy bus would come for a pick-up. But, the rent of that place was significantly low, the main reason I chose it.
Precisely, the rent of my room was Rs. 5000 per month; the cylinder bill would get split among the other roommates, and the electricity bill would also get added when finally paying the space rent.
From where did I Eat?
There was a kitchen where I rented a room. However, I learned a handful of items to make. So, I could make something for breakfast like an Omelet or Sevaiyaan; lunch would get covered in the Academy, and the night food would require attention.
Therefore, I took a homemade tiffin service for the first month, which the Academy recommended. The meal charges were around Rs. 80 with 4 Chapati and mixed vegetables, and in the case of Paneer, it would be Rs. 100.
Then, after a month, I started finding alternatives and eating from outside. There, I usually consume Egg curry and Parrotha almost whenever I eat from Cherring Cross. Also, that was very reasonable, equivalent to a meal Tiffin charge.
Having Parrotha was forever love!
How do I Commute
I commuted in Ooty by Walking and taking a Bus.
I have been traveling alone, so that made me Habitual to walking. Hence, walking was never a concern for me. I used to walk to nearby places within 3-4km in Ooty, and that’s enough because I would get mainly day-to-day items within that range. Or, if I had to meet some friends who were also within that range, walking was enough.
Taking the bus seemed a little concerning because I didn’t know Tamil, and the bus conductors mainly spoke Tamil. However, I only used to say a particular location, so they understood and provided me with a ticket. For example, if I had to go to Lovedale, I would say, “Anna, one Lovedale.”—All done! Indeed, the bus journey is very reasonable; from Ooty to Lovedale bus stop, it takes around Rs. 7, which is 5-6km.
Consequently, in my 10 months in Ooty, 80% of the time, I commuted on foot and took the bus. Rest 20% when friends are there with stuff, or walking was not a choice for few, then Auto and Cab.
What did I use to do on Weekends?
On weekends, I often visit places like the Ooty Boat House, Botanical Garden, Charring Cross, etc, and also out-of-town places like Kotagiri for Photography and to see around.
Furthermore, I used to stay with friends, watch movies, do creative indoor shoots, cook yummy food, and enjoy.
Usually, I try to shoot as much as possible whenever I get time. Ultimately, that would develop my artistic eyes. So, I used to take my camera along wherever I went—whether it was a street market, garden, or anywhere in and around Ooty.
How are the People in Ooty?
People are willing in Ooty. I learned more about the people of Ooty during Photography assignments, as I needed to get Portraits and other shots of unknown people outdoors.
Some of my friends and I used to go to a Chai shop in Lovedale, and the shop owner recognized us every time we went there. The bonding increased. Indeed, many took many photos of him, and eventually, we went on to make a Documentary on the life of Premdas, too.
When photographing people, they have known for years that students from Light and Life Academy come to Photograph. So, they also became habitual at getting clicked. But, also, we respected people who oppose getting themselves clicked.
Whether it’s the Akka from the general store outside Blue Hills apartment for day-to-day items, Anna who takes us to the Astrophotography site and far away locations in the car, or the Auto Anna who helps take students to the BS hospital. When you get involved, you get attached.
The weather in Ooty is inconsistent; when it remains cold in north India, it rains very heavily, and simultaneously cold in Ooty, with continuous cloud cover and thunder. It’s a beautiful feeling, and the surroundings become even more appreciable.
I insist on keeping an umbrella with you almost regularly, mainly when you’re in Ooty from October to February.
One day, when I went to shoot, it started raining, and I wasn’t carrying any Umbrella. Ultimately, I had to save myself and my camera bag. Therefore, I stood beneath a shed for hours, called Auto, and reached home with all wetness but saved my camera bag.
Indeed, there were instances when we couldn’t go outside for days because of heavy rainfall and overcast weather.
Regardless, I enjoy shooting in the slight rain but standing beneath an Umbrella.
Peak Season in Ooty
October to February marks an offseason in Ooty because it’s so cold, but people also visit that season. I used to eye the guest houses near the apartment, which became full almost daily in that bone-chilling climate.
March to July becomes unbelievable in Ooty; it seems like the entire India came to Ooty. During that season, long Traffic jam starts at 5 a.m.- 6 a.m. and go on forever. Places like the Botanical Garden and Ooty Boat House become so extensively crowded that you have to move like a snail.
Like big-city jams, it takes almost half an hour to cover 1 km.
Living in a place has advantages and drawbacks, but you must go through it when you have a purpose.
I lived in Ooty for 10 months, and that’s the short experience of my life there—genuinely life-long learning.