OF WINE AND THE GIRLS WHO RISK

“Generalising a girl is your first big mistake”.

So, we had this vineyard visit a few weeks back. We visited the Barbare Vineyards, a little outside the city limits of Istanbul. Once having reached, the place for sure took my breath away. Very quiet, echoing a country side vibe, the peace that lets you contemplate and gets you on, a trip with yourself.

We tasted around four to five kinds of wine and to be very honest I do not remember the names,  but I can tell my wines apart in taste and I can tell you that one was a Blush wine and the rest, Red. While warming up to the sunshine, cool breeze and every cliché of a romantic nature, sea view et al, my mind wandered far beyond the Marmara sea.

I was having an epiphany. It happened in a moment where I realised that in today’s world, being a woman who had a mind of her own, had a voice, above all was dominating, was something that was still unacceptable in more terms than one. The acceptance is not something that validates one’s existence, of course, but reflects well on the progress we have made, given we are all products of four billion years of evolution, time we act like it. Almost.

Reflecting on one dialogue by  Miranda Hobbes from Sex and the City , she said at a point when she left her job as a lawyer, ” You know, I’m just realizing, it wasn’t my tone of voice that my boss didn’t like.It was the fact that I had a voice.”

 

 

23 years and later, I realise that although everyone is in some sort of mad rush to progress, it comes to very few men to not generalise a woman. And the moment you face these stereotyped expectations, you know you have to pack your bags and flee. Be it India, Istanbul or any part of the world really, the patriarchal social hierarchy is so deep set and global that without realising and with no fault of our own, we become attuned to notions of generalising.

I remember a time when I was a kid, barely 8 – year old, and I was coming back in the school bus, and I was almost going to punch a boy because he threw my bag down and took my seat. At that point he started crying to my utter astonishment, and said that you are a mean and dominating girl. I laughed. I said, it’s okay kid, i don’t cry.

Years later, when I reflect on that incident, I ask myself why do we teach little girls to be fragile and soft, why do we not tell our girls to be risk takers, bossy and independent. Whoever is told they are dominating should be told they have leadership qualities instead, and whoever is told that you are a risk, take it as a compliment.

I know of so many women who portray the image of vulnerability to massage a man’s ego. It is absolutely redundant, something that also lets one generalise genders, just the way in retrospect, I am doing right now. But what I am also stating are hard facts, the very reason how a #metoo campaign was required to alarm human beings universally that united, honest women were fearless and dangerous. While talking to my brother Nikhil, about such situations, both of us couldn’t disagree that, even when a man says that they like a woman who is confident and all of that, in reality they had rather put their attention on someone who will not argue or put down their viewpoints.

It is funny to think that even today, there exists this mental gap where a man still considers himself to be rather supreme, and continuously generalise women as being weak. It is more amusing when I come across such men, I feel nothing but sorry for them.

And to all the women reading this, I couldn’t help but put out a more clear message  –

“Keep being feisty, and never ever let anyone intimidate you. This world needs more of you women who have a voice and an opinion. People are always afraid of strong girls who breathe fire and yet have a warm heart. Also, never trust anyone so much that you forget to trust your own instincts. Never love anyone else so hard that you forget to love yourself first.

And last but not the least, be proud of that moment when someone says they don’t want to take a risk with you. You represent to them all the sins they would never have the courage to commit.”

PS: The wine really helped.

Written by Adhisa Ghosh

Shot on Iphone7plus

Location – Barbare Vineyard

OF LUXURY HOTELS & ISTANBUL

One morning, staring groggily at my breakfast and letting the caffeine hit me so that I finally realise I am awake, I stared aimlessly outside my drawing room window overlooking the Bosphorus Strait. Suddenly, my roommate emitted a shrill ultrasonic sound to maybe announce to the world that Amir Khan was in the city, Istanbul.

Obviously getting excited momentarily, I sauntered lazily to take a shower thinking of the long day of Hospitality seminar I had at the university. So as a part of the class, we were to be taken to two luxury hotels and given a briefing and indulged into the marketing, business and  history of the foundations. What seemed a tad boring initially as it had nothing to do with fashion, soon turned out to be more than I expected. We covered two luxury hotels in the same day, the Fairmont Quasar Istanbul and Soho House Istanbul.

The Fairmont Quasar was the first stop where we met the seminar instructor, Antony Doucet. After being slightly in a different zone initially, post the introductions, which I will admit, Antony’s disclosure of Chanel connections and his obvious knowledge of fashion brands, especially Coco, I was far more alert on any word that left the man’s mouth post the divulgence! Just after that, came the revelation that an Indian actor was staying at the Fairmont, yeah, you don’t even get points on guessing it was Amir Khan.

As fate would have it, while we were there, he had left the premises for some promotional stuff, so after a round of squeals and grunts, we went around taking a tour of the place.

Below is a photo series from the Fairmont Quasar and Soho House and of course what I wore, how I styled my attire and a brief history about both the establishments.

FAIRMONT QUASAR ISTANBUL

Rising over the slopes of the Bosphorus, surveying centuries of history, yet silhouetted against the modern skyline of Istanbul, the Fairmont heritage of distinction and style merges with the city’s historical past and traditions to bring guests an exceptional experience in the heart of one of the world’s most talked about destinations. For guests seeking a true luxury hotel in Istanbul, Fairmont Quasar Istanbul is the ultimate destination, comprising of the traditions of the past and the technological advancements of the future.  It caters to sophisticated travellers with 209 guest rooms, including 25 suites and 40 Fairmont Gold rooms, with additional 64 Fairmont Residences along with a diverse selection of restaurants and bars, also the  luxurious Willow Stream Spa and state-of-the-art gym are the perfect places to relax and revitalize.

SOHO HOUSE ISTANBUL

A exclusive group of private members’ clubs for people working in the creative industries, the brand Houses in London, New York, Berlin, Toronto, West Hollywood, Chicago and Miami. Istanbul is their 13th with some more ambitious projects in the future.

In 1873, Ignazio Corpi, a powerful Genoese shipbuilder in what was then known as the European quarter of Constantinople, commissioned a palatial residence bearing his family’s name. He engaged Italian architect Giacomo Leoni, who set about importing marble from Carrara for the flooring and facings and Piemonte rosewood for the doors and window frames. Famous artists of the day were invited to create the wall paintings depicting Greek mythological scenes in the entrance hall and on the ceilings of the Great Hall. The building took nine years in total to complete. Following Iganzio’s death, his nephews leased the building to the American ambassador, John G.A. Leishman. From 1906, it served as the U.S. embassy and residence, and then the US consulate general from 1937 to 2003. In 2014, Soho House began extensive restoration work on the Palazzo, returning it to its former glory. – From the History of Soho House Istanbul

Written by Adhisa Ghosh

Dress and Shrug – Forever 21 India

OF RELATIONSHIPS AND DOPAMINE

Science says relationships are mostly like drug induced reactions of the brain that is in love. For centuries and evolution, the universal problem and equation that human beings have tried to solve is the mystery of romance and relationships. There have been crimes of passion, wars fought for love, glorified love, undying love. This intense physiological and biochemical reactions are all scientifically linked to various hormones and neurotransmitters that our brain releases when triggered, the main one being the reward centre of the brain.

We all are aware of dopamine which is released by the brain during positive experiences like unforgettable dates, flattery, amazing sex and grand romantic gestures. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls the pleasure centre of our brains which creates reward circuits, which then generates automatic associations in our brain that link our romantic partners with pleasure and even our survival.

Dr. Helen Fisher discovered that this “frustration-attraction” experience of obstacles in a romantic relationship actually heightens our feelings of love, rather than hindering them. She discusses how the brains of those in adversity-ridden relationships become activated in an eerily similar way to the brains of cocaine addicts.

In other words? Our brains can become masochists, seeking the very people that hurt them.Then there is also oxytocin, named the ‘love’ or ‘cuddle’ hormone.This is the same hormone that bonds mother and child at birth, and it also bonds you with the men that are undeserving of you.

The oxytocin effect may also be stronger for women than for men; according to Susan Kuchinskas, author of the book, The Chemistry of Connection: How the Oxytocin Response Can Help You Find Trust, Intimacy and Love. According to Christopher Bergland, oxytocin, adrenaline and cortisol work together to consolidate and reconsolidate fear-based memories.

We can become addicted to this effect. Fear also releases dopamine, which again feeds those reward circuits in our brain, leaving us longing for that adrenaline rush. Fear and pleasure inevitably become intertwined despite our best efforts to expose and dismantle the seeming irrationality of our behaviour.

When we fall in love, we become obsessive like people with OCD, literally. Since serotonin regulates and stabilises mood, curbing obsessive thinking, you can imagine how low levels of serotonin we have, when we’re romantically involved with someone that can cause our decision-making abilities and judgment to go haywire. Low levels of serotonin also encourage sexual behaviour, so serotonin only makes it more likely that we’ll also be swept away by bonds created by oxytocin and dopamine as well.

Okay why am I talking science about relationships? You must be wondering so if you are in a relationship or going through a bad one, like you already haven’t heard enough.

The bottom line and fact of the matter is that if you dig deeper there is always always a rationality that lies beyond the irrational behaviour and impulses of the brain in love.

Last weekend, I was out at some three pubs with the Erasmus student group here in Istanbul. Everyone was enjoying, there was a good level of intoxication spreading like a wave through out the party, and literally everywhere my eyes went, I saw a pair of lips glued together. Now, of course I had my share of fun too, dancing with boys and engaging in random light banters, but when I sat back and thought about it, I realised how even after countless years of evolution humans across various continents and cultures will always act on their basic instincts. It’s like you are hungry or thirsty, the need to find that thrill and your brain wiring you to seek pleasure that comes with pumping in so much of “feel-good” factors in your system is really something.

Also, from a single girl’s point of view, even in a crowded night club with so many men and women at disposal, and the freedom to have any kind of night you want it to be, how scientific and practical are we when it comes to the concept of love and lust? Do we always act on our basic instincts to serve our purpose of a one night stand or is it simply the design of nature that amidst all this chaos, we might just be searching for the perfect mate. They say, love and lust are two factors that transcends every society in this world, how far have we come in accepting our wilderness within? How long would we deceptively play the hand of fate, on a night of attraction, orgasm and science? Think back, its all really scientific, there is no right or wrong, even at that pub, with total strangers or couples acting out their feelings and hormones, like it or not, no matter how emotionally cold turkey you might credit yourself for, every one is looking to let off steam sometime, in the most desirable manner that evolution has made us.

Ending on a poem by an anonymous Red Indian of Southern Alaska to a missionary in 1896,

“ Fire runs through my body with the pain of loving you,Pain runs through my body with the fires of my love for you,Pain like a boil about to burst with my love for you,Consumed by fire with my love for you,I remember what you said to me,I am thinking of your love for me,I am torn by our love for me,Pain and more pain,Where are you going with my love?I am told you will go from here,I am told you will leave me here,My body is numb with grief,Remember what I said my love,Goodbye my love, Goodbye.”

Dopamine your night away.

Written by Adhisa Ghosh

Shot on Iphone7plus

Wardrobe : Dress – Forever 21

Denim Jacket – Latin Quarters

Accessories from Accessorize India

Makeup – NYX Amethyst and L’Oreal Gold Palette

OF CHOICES AND PASSION

Relationships.

Akshita, Karishma, Tshepiso and me decided that since one of our classes got done real early we would go and chill at some cafe near university. There are plenty nearby so we decided to go into one where Akshita and me have visited before.

Also one of our many reasons to go back is because of this really cute and shy boy who cannot communicate in English but is always standing and blushing. Pretty boys make for a stress free environment post lectures that makes you sleep in your head.

As we sat on the table and placed our orders we realised we were unwinding all together for the first time. Annisa, the other classmate of ours ran home because she stayed quite far, but apart from that it left the four of us to steer conversations at any angles possible.

I knew because the Indian majority was heavy here, we had probably end up talking about food, politics and general things. And that did happen, we spoke about food, spices, politics, saying how our country as well as South Africa is still developing and it will be a long time for it to get there. And then I chipped in saying the clichéd that no country is perfect and we require perseverance and patience for things to get better in time. Apart from that, I also feel how its our generation who needs to step in and change the game instead of blaming the government. The conversations steered after a while to parents and their individualistic expectations.

Tshepiso was given a lot of knowledge as to how Indian parents are always forcing their kids to get into white collared jobs, like be a Engineer, Doctor or Lawyer. There was this popular opinion that Indian parents channelise their inner failures through their offsprings, so that the next generation can make it to where they couldn’t. Knowledge is limited and the possibility of further career options and progress is not given out. The kids back in the country have to face a lot of pressure because of the burgeoning generation gap that withholds knowledge of other career outcomes.

Sitting amidst a lawyer, engineer graduate and a finance professional with many years of experience, I realised how wonderful these girls were and how every one had their stories and chapters in their struggles of getting here and doing what they were passionate about.

Passion. At the end of the day that is really something that defines our existence and our mood. I thought about my parents and how little they have ever forced me to make any decisions when it came to my life about my career or education. Was i lucky? Fortunate? Without a doubt. I never knew pressure from family to go in a particular direction. Getting a 95% in my ICSE boards, my IIT graduate dads ideal reaction would have been to ask me to follow in his footsteps. He never did. He knew that wasn’t my strength and I wouldn’t be happy. He is a genius but I am not.

I chose Humanities and I was told I was making a bad decision by some self-proclaimed well wishers, but I chose to ignore, something I now realise I know how to do quite well. After Humanities and having a passion for journalism and working with Times of India since I was 16, I decided to venture into fashion communication to combine the two greatest passion of my life, fashion and words.

Not once, was my decision questioned or I was asked to get a second opinion. My dad asked me probably only two things – Would I be independent and have a steady job and most importantly would I be passionate and happy at the end of the day?

I think there is nothing in this world that makes me happy today realising that my parents have always given me the ultimate freedom of making my own decisions and choices. Which also meant I got to make my own mistakes, and there were plenty of them, but what was even better is that I learnt from all my mistakes, slowly and surely.

I know now that choices are very independent of your surroundings and family. I mean, look at the courage that these girls possess that despite coming from different backgrounds they chose to follow their passion and make it here, in this moment, bonding over Sheesha and being beautiful in their vulnerability. How refreshing is honesty and admitting that yes I had to fight for something?

Things don’t come easy in life and not everything is meant to be. If there is anything that I am extremely in love with at this point of time and I can’t imagine I would survive without is my passion. My passion spells out my work, my blogging, my MBA journey that I decided to continue because 4 years of design degree is not enough and learning never stops. I think sometimes, I am so passionate about my career and the prospects of it that I can hardly seem to get in another aspect of my life into importance.

Relationships? Well. I have one with myself currently, and I am not compromising on that for sure.

Written by Adhisa Ghosh

Shot on Iphone7plus