After close to thirty years of corporate life I moved to the Nilgiris in 2010. Around 2017, I took up an assignment to head a training academy at Hyderabad. I was eager to get back to the Nilgiris again and it was during this search that Light and Life Academy (LLA) happened.
My sister, one of the earliest students at the Academy which started in the year 2001 had fond memories of her Life @ LLA and extremely positive things to say about the Founders, Iqbal Mohamed and Anuradha. Knowing that I had always wanted to be a part of the Academic world she suggested that I should look at LLA as the place where I could spend the rest of my career, contributing and learning. A common friend spoke to Anuradha and connected me with her. After a few phone calls and a personal meeting at LLA things ‘clicked’ and I was invited to join the Academy as CEO.
LLA, as I see it: From the very first day I understood that I should expect the unexpected – from the way I was greeted at the doorstep, to the way I was introduced to the rest of the Staff here. The million-dollar smile of Iqbal and the warm and boisterous welcome from Anuradha made me forget that it was my first day at work. Over the time that I have spent here, I understood that it is this enduring quality which ensured that students from earlier batches kept dropping in at all times and on all days of the year freely, just as if it were their own home.
Life @ LLA, does not conform to any stereotype that one is used to, whether you are a student or someone who is part of the team that manages the academy. No two moments are alike, just as one can expect in photography. There is a buzz around the campus that can put the corporate headquarters of a multinational company to shame. At the same time there is an all-pervading sense of peace & quiet. The campus itself, has a captivating aura around it that oozes beauty and dignity.
I connected instantly, as I liked the fact that for the last 18 years since its inception, the founders have been very firm in their belief that the place would function like a modern gurukul where there is close interaction between the students and the teachers. The student intake was kept low, in order to ensure better transfer of knowledge and better attention. Students came from every part of the country. The place resembled a mini India. The focus was clear. The teaching methodology, perfected over nearly two decades by Iqbal, ensured that students got the best to learn of the art and science of photography.
Discipline is as important as the need for the student to freely and intensely pursue his subject of interest. I also observed that the Founders spared no effort or expense to ensure that the Students got the best in terms of Faculty, resources, opportunities and support. While they are kept busy sharpening their skills in photography, the students are also exposed to a multitude of activities – social, cultural, sports and so on, so that they turn out as better individuals.
As for me, being in the company of energetic and eager youngsters enthuses me and fills me with the extra strength needed, to be a part of the throbbing, pulsating beehive that LLA is. Life is a celebration here and Light is the medium. What results, is pure Magic!
– Mohan Sarangarajan, CEO