ISTANBUL 101 x IFA PARIS

I am blatantly aware of how so many of you have asked me about my MBA course and about IFA Paris.

To start with, I was pursuing my undergrad in Symbiosis Institute of Design in Pune, specialising in Fashion Communication when in my final year I decided to go in for my MBA in Luxury Brand Management, immediately after my final degree project.

No, I didn’t have any help from anyone to figure things out so amidst working for my Degree Project and pursuing the application process at IFA for its September 2017 batch, I followed all the guidelines and process clearly mentioned on their website and also applied for a scholarship.

Once I was given a counsellor who guided me through the process, online exam and the interview, much to my delight, I was accepted with scholarship into the program.

The option was that first six months I could choose between Istanbul, Shanghai and Paris, and eventually finish off my last two semesters in Paris. Taking this opportunity I decided to give Istanbul a shot as Turkey has always fascinated me and was on my Bucket list.

I couldn’t miss the opportunity of being able to live and study at such an exotic destination. After spending six months in Istanbul and living like a locale I would like to give you a list down of the Istanbul lifestyle and the IFA experience.

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FLAT HUNTING

Initially, if you choose Istanbul, the campus coordinator connects you two months prior, with the fellow students coming to the same destination, on a WhatsApp group (This is only for Istanbul, the Shanghai batch had different measures). We had a total of only 5 students who opted for Istanbul, hence the pressure was less.

I connected with a Turkish school teacher who wanted to rent out his apartment located opposite the Golden horn in Istanbul on a Turkish house hunting website. The minimum monthly rent and lifestyle budget can range from 750-1500 Lira depending on your indulgences as well. But Istanbul is a city that can be very easy on your budget and is cheaper than Mumbai! (shocker)

I cannot stress how important it is to budget your savings while you are a student abroad. 

Also, finding accommodation is extremely easy and hotels are cheap if you want to come to the country and then re-confirm your housing as I did.

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GETTING YOUR ISTANBUL KARTE

It’s a travel card you get at any grocery store (generally SOK and Tekel shops) (SOK is a grocery chain and Tekel is alcohol store)

It is a must that you buy this card that comes for 7 lira. You need to keep recharging your card, a minimum of 30 lira that goes for a month or half depending how often you travel. These cards can be swiped in the bus, tram, metro-bus and metro. Alternatively, cabs can be frequently used as well because they run on meter and are quite reasonable than Europe. (I know you must have heard a lot of negative things about Turkish cab drivers, please do not form a judgement unless you have experienced it in real life, most of the cab rides i have taken have been wonderful and people have been kind.)

In retrospect, it’s a must you buy this card!

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IFA CAMPUS

IFA collaborates with a premium institute called the Kadir Has University that has a very good reputation and prestige in Istanbul. Located in Fatih, the college is accessible by all public transport and is a very safe campus, one of the most peaceful ones I have seen so far.

With a starbucks, two huge cafeterias, unlimited wifi and state of the art classrooms, you won’t feel like leaving the campus much.

Also, the course structure for MBA in Luxury Brand Management is not very intensive at the beginning and you will have plenty of time to settle in and feel at one with the course. The teachers are wonderful, warm and caring and are extremely sensitive to your adjustments or any short-comings. I am so glad that I have gotten to experience a wonderful bond with most of my mentors in Istanbul who did a brilliant job at teaching us the course layouts and also went out of their comfort zones to arrange for trips and visits so we could get to know the Turkish culture and market more personally.

Our campus administrator was a Turkish person who would always encourage outdoor trips and coax us to soak in the cultural spirit of the city, even if it was a 3 am cab ride back home, realising that Istanbul was a city that literally never slept. The best part was we knew that most of our teachers and mentors were a call away in case of any emergencies, there was no barrier and we were like a big family!

(The new IFA campus details of Istanbul have changed, click on ISTANBUL IFA to know more about it! )

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IFA INDUSTRY VISITS

During your six months of stay I can promise you over 20 industry visits spread across two semesters. These include the Perfumes and Cosmetics and Hospitality seminars. You get to visit and interact with brands and entrepreneurs, visit luxury hotels and take tours, get offered different cuisines and learn about wine tasting and visit vineyards for Gastronomy lectures. I think the best part about the two semesters spent here is the amount of time we have wandered outdoors participating and soaking in real lessons and meeting with people coming from various walks of life. It was all very luxurious and I felt that I was studying a luxury brand management course because everything was related and a very realistic image was drawn over everything. Between these visits and amidst networking with countless entrepreneurs , I grew up in Istanbul.

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NIGHTLIFE IN ISTANBUL

Now, I understand that as a student it can get quite hectic sometimes and taking a break and soaking in the nightlife in a different country becomes a must routine breaker.

Join in with an Erasmus student group who organise pub crawls and events. Soak in the nightlife and pubs across Taksim, Istiklal street, Ortakoy and Besiktas. Some really good nightlife destinations which are easily accessible and cheap in Istanbul. Some of our daily grinds were – The Beat, Eski Beirut, St. Regis and Cosmo. Google them if you are in Istanbul!

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FOOOOOOD

Not going to say much on this except Tavuk Doner, Iskender, Sarma, Çorba, Lahmacun, Turkish delights, Baklava and Çai are my favourites! I am not so fussy about food and given that I am a Bengali, I appreciate good food. I strictly believe if you have left your country to live in a different one, you might as well soak up the food and culture while you are young! Istanbul is filled with warm smell of freshly baked breads, cheese and olives in the mornings. Dig in while you are there!

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TURKISH PEOPLE

One word- Beautiful. Period.

The most helpful and shockingly honest bunch of people I have met so far. Boys are charming and respectful for most parts ( although avoid dating Turkish men haha, okay maybe just two dates ) and women are gorgeous!

Also, I love Turkish people. Istanbul is in my list of countries to work in for a while.

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MUST HAVE APPS

If you are an art aficionado and want to spot some cool areas – Street art Istanbul is a good option. For the practical student related apps to get around – I can swear my life on Trafi and BiTaksi. For food delivery, there is only one efficient app called Yemeksepeti.

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NEARBY VISITS 

Since I lived in the European side as the college was located there, my travel time was 20 minutes. But people do commute for an hour, it’s not surprising at all.

Public transport is one of the best and very convenient – you can take the ferry as well to nearby islands. We used to go to the Asian side quite a bit. You can also make one day trips to Troy (click to read the whole article on my visit), Bursa, Pamukkale and Capadocia amongst many others.

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IN RETROSPECT – WHAT IFA OFFERS AND MY EXPERIENCE 

In retrospect, I strictly recommend that before visiting any country you try to adapt a few of their words, their pronunciation and to extend an acceptance. I strongly believe the kind of behaviour you project is what you receive back, especially in a foreign country. It’s good to be discreet and friendly yet knowing when not to let someone take advantage of you.

IFA gave me exactly this opportunity, to live in two different countries and gather an exposure which is very potent, deeply instilled with a knowledge of their inherent culture, mounting over layers of the decades of forgotten history and stories.

You want to take this one home.

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XOXO,

Written by Adhisa Ghosh

30 DAYS OF SPRING

“When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too longAnd you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong

Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows

Lies the seed, that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose” – Bette Middler, The Rose.

It has been two months since the last blog post went live. I was away from blogging for two months, not only because of lack of motivation but also because of the demanding nature of the MBA, too many visits and assignments and lack of motivation.
The last sixty odd days of winter was not only  cold and harsh but also was life altering for me at a more spiritual level. There was a part of me that I always kept clinging onto and quite like the snow that refused to melt on my rooftop, I grew more and more stubborn.
But then came the last day of the winter, when people spoke about how spring was around the corner, and I headed out to submit my visa papers for the next phase of my life wondering how even in detesting someone or something we are holding onto the very idea of not letting go and not living entirely.
That day when I submitted my visa documents, I think I submitted a bit more than that.
And finally, this year, when spring came, I started being happy once again, exactly the way I used to be three years back. I started enjoying my solitary times, and I started enjoying my company.  It was a revelation of sorts but the more I spent time with myself, the more I figured out the kind of person I am and the kind of people I want in my life.
Metaphorically, Spring is the season of transformation, where old gives way to new, the snow melts and the flowers bloom, and how glad are you to know that the transformation happens not only on the outside but within you too.
People will tell you how to live your life but no one can live it for you. From living with roommates to living alone, I have figured out the kind of person I want to be and the kind of company I prefer and sometimes being stuck with bad company can also be beneficial towards your development.
All in all, the season ended and began with two versions of myself and I couldn’t be happier.
It is so important to give yourself the time to grow and develop, neglecting that is beyond ridiculous.
Also, spring is the season of the amazing tulips and the flowers that bloom at every nook and corner. After having found my vigour, I decided to go for the Tulip show in Istanbul at the Gülhane Park and man, it was amazing!
Coordinating a bit with the floral theme that was clearly in the air and in my life, I decided to wear a floral patterned maxi dress  with a knit wear shrug, accessorising with the hexagon glasses (back to being my favourite) and the golden hoops (aka 90’s style).
This spring felt so good, so purifying and so cleansing. I was at pure bliss with my inner-self and these 30 days of Spring I enjoyed in Istanbul will be a time I will cherish forever.
Like I said how spring is also a period of transformation, or heralding the new times,  there couldn’t be a better time to share with you guys that  I am starting a new life and a new home next week? Talk about timing.
Stay tuned this time for more blog posts than ever.
Lots of love,
XOXO
PS: Check out my Spring video below!
Shot on iPhone 7 plus
Written by Adhisa Ghosh

TROY

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”

Needless to say, my initial plan was to stay put at home and binge watch movies and cook up some storm in the kitchen, but on a complete impulsive urge, I decided to go for a trip on the 25th of December.

Having always had a penchant for historical places and archaeology, I decided to visit the ruins of Troy in the Çanakkale district of Turkey. Çanakkale is a city in northwestern Turkey in the Marmara region, on the Dardanelles Strait. It’s a gateway to the Gallipoli WWI battlefields, north of the narrow strait. On the grounds of the 15th-century Çimenlik Castle, Çanakkale Naval Museum Command contains historical artillery. The archaeological site at Troy, including an ancient theater, is southwest of the city.

Now, most of you are aware of the story of Troy, thanks to our history texts and the movie that was so well made, even the horse from the movie stands on the shore of this city. So in totality I got to see two Trojan horses. The second one that stands in the premises of the ruins of Troy, is designed by a Turkish architecture.

Coming back to my impulsive decision, I had to report for the travel at 6 am in the morning. I literally woke up at 430 am, bearing the freezing cold, made my way to the spot only to be kept waiting for an hour before the journey actually began.

I have not felt that kind of excitement in a really long time. I could not wait to reach the destination and adding to the happiness was the fact that it was my first solo trip. When we stopped for a break, I was more than trilled to see snow around me as it is yet to snow in Istanbul and I was running around like a child, trying to capture as much as possible.

On the trip, after being on road for five hours, we reached and were to have lunch. That’s when I met the others who had taken the same tourism package and I was so happy to make a good friend in Augusto who was visiting from Ecuador. Both of us were headed towards Troy, so our tour guide took us on a ferry across the Dardanelles Strait, and after a 25 minute drive, we reached the ancient site.

The fascination of seeing the ruins of the past still stand during these times and to be actually able to see the various sites was an experience I don’t think I can translate into words.

At the end of the day, while me and Augusto were sipping coffee on the Mediterranean sea, I looked around and realised that sometimes travelling is more than just visiting a destination. It is the journey that counts, it really does wonders to your mind. As for me, there is nothing I like more than talking to different people, making friends out of strangers, knowing their culture, hearing them talk about their stories and seeing their eyes gleam whenever they talk about love and passion.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, no matter how far you travel or what you see,  you realise that people will come and go, and if you are lucky enough you might get to be a part of someones story in the future, but universally, human emotions will always be a constant.

Travel before you have to actually settle, and even when you do, never underestimate the peace of mind that travelling brings to you. Just pack your bag, be whimsical and head out. It is really not the destination thats important, but what you make of the journey that counts.

Also, below is a video from Troy. Hope you guys like it.

XOXO.

PS : Best Christmas ever!

Written by Adhisa Ghosh

ODE TO 2017, HOLIDAY LETTER

Dear Life,

I know we have been upset with each other for a really long time. I know that things haven’t been giving us happiness, even success has been feeling hollow of late. I know i have been unfair in my ways, I haven’t treated you with love or kindness, all i have done is made a big fat pretence. Pretence so good, that everyone believes that things are good, that we are happy, that we are successful, that we have the sun shinning bright on us every day.

On the contrary i know how most of this year has been. I know we have had issues, we have been mistreated, we have been hurt, our egos have been shattered, our confidence lowered, all our hopes, all the love we had, had been bundled in a sack and snatched away from us. I know we were left in darkness, darkness we were grappling with and trying to construct in some positive way to make sense for us. I know each second, each minute, each hour, each day was a constant battle to fight that heaviness off our chest, to not get delusional and to focus on the need of the hour. I know we have battled our inner demons, we sat through some bitter times in the darkness of our room only wishing that the statement “ In the dark there maybe fear but there is also hope” comes true. And i know that the nights came extremely hard on us trying every way to choke us, to rip us off, skin and flesh.

But despite all of that, all the fights, the innumerable break downs and the questionable amount of fat intake to tame the ricocheting hormones and the howls of a broken heart and misplaced sense of trust, look, oh just look how far we have come.

You and I are a strong team, and we can beat all odds together. This is a proof, because we made it. And not even for once did we let go of each other, We held on. We held on good. Even when there was negativity and series of failures shrouding our sense of justice, our hard work and solidarity, we were doubted and frowned upon, asked to correct our ways, yet no one saw the battles we silently won each moment in the battlefield of our lives, when every time we overlooked a negative criticism that could have brought us down, only we know how we never let any element of self doubt or the negative vibes seep into our souls through our cracked portrayal of ourselves. We hid, and we hid well. We remained adamant, we held our ground and we turned around.

I know that even after achieving a lot of success, after many a moment of crowning glory, we never felt that we should stop, we kept moving aggressively. And we never let any joy or any sense of satisfaction seep, we were very hard on ourselves , weren’t we?

Holding ourselves guilty for every little smile, every bit of compliment, every little pressure. We had started to get comfortable with the negative space, with loneliness, in a way that we no longer identified with it, yet a state that we once immensely enjoyed.

We said goodbyes with our hearts and yet something always held us back. We were too attuned to being obsessed with ambition and success, to overshadow the shortcomings of our personal failures in relationships and everything else and you and I know very well how much we have condemned ourselves to an emotional hell hole of a torture for mistakes that weren’t even ours to begin with. Our love was misplaced, we forgot that we have certain duties to ourselves first, we looked through the tinted glasses for way too long.

But today I promise you this, that things are going to change because i am going to be kind and i am going to love you and not punish you for other people’s mistakes. I have been unfair but i cannot kill my shadow. My parents didn’t raise us with a wolf on our chest, howling inside for every small moments of grief. We are over that now, we are done for good. And it is only because today, I choose you.

Yours forever.

Written on April, 2017

Written by Adhisa Ghosh

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 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

OF NEW BEGINNINGS

“And suddenly you know, it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”

Fresh starts. Beginnings. The first day. Orientation. New life.

I think there is a little part inside us that always craves for hope, to start anew. So, I have been saying how I am settled in Istanbul now for my MBA in Luxury Brand Management at IFA Paris, studying at the Kadir Has University here. I will be here for six months before moving onto Paris for a year as a part of the course program.

I have had a little problem to figure my way around initially but since the time I have had Akshita, my classmate and roommate from Bangalore, move in with me here, I have had some good company and its much easier to figure things out when you have someone at your end. Even getting lost can be okay sometimes as long as you are not alone.

So, I have only had one day of class so far which was very interesting. I always like when I am well prepared and I am able to answer any questions thrown at me, knowing that I am very competitive and I struck a good chord with my Professor Catherine then and there. We spoke a lot about the cult of emerging luxury markets and details about the same, while realising the whole time that I had really studied a lot as a graduation student back in Symbiosis when we had Fashion Brand Management classes. I aced it.

Moving on, we had our orientation yesterday, which was very interesting. We are a small bunch of students here who chose the Istanbul program, rest are in Shanghai and Paris at the moment so we obviously see everyone and become an entire batch when we are in Paris next year.  After the introductions and going through the technicalities and know-hows of college life and how it would be for the next six months, our coordinator decided to take us out for welcome drinks.

We took a bus near Taksim , a really popular tourist district here which is both near to where I live and the university. After a brisk walk, we came in front of the Galata towers which is extremely famous and a must see. Right opposite the Galata Towers is a place called Sensus Wine Boutique. Needless to mention, that it was a beautiful aesthetic place and I felt like I had walked into one of those modernised wine cellars where vintage meets modernity.

What can I say, it seemed like the perfect marriage of the past and the present. Small tables with candles, the aroma of wine and cheese, and a piano where live music would soon take over, it was a very nostalgic and cozy place, it transported me to a mood which I would have honestly enjoyed sitting alone with my glass of some really good wine. I think I have this problem where I need to put up a social exterior to talk to people whereas I would be honestly enjoying the voice of the old man singing Roberta Flack’s Killing me Softly on the piano and having my cheese and just enjoy my company. Now, I know that would make me antisocial and to a certain extent I feel I am but I have been doing well in keeping up the tempo of socializing.

There are three of us from India, one from Indonesia and one from South Africa. We all come from diverse backgrounds, and experiences but while sitting at the table with our glasses, all we were reminiscing majorly about was home, excluding me. Reflecting on the conversation I think home for me are just my parents who I carry in my heart no matter where I would live.

The art of detachment is crucial and so is the habit of adaptation. Missing my rice and fish curry is an obvious but I am also realising learning and mixing with a culture is as important as knowing your roots. You will always miss your roots because that is where you were nurtured but as you grow older, you have to start accepting that your roots are something you carry with you everywhere you go. Change is the only constant and at every moment you are a different person showing certain aspects of your personality, trying to fit in. At the table, looking around Akshita, Karishma, Tshepiso and Ismail, I couldn’t help but wonder about how little we had in common when it came to everyone’s opinions but how sometimes we still tend to be together despite our differences. I realise that people miss home and they try to make a home out of every place they go to. But there are certain aspects about humanity and human beings that are so universal, be it India, Istanbul or South Africa, human emotions are a constant.

In this race and chase of trying to establish our identities, starting fresh and new beginnings, what if we realise it is not the fresh start that matters at all? What if men will always have their biased opinions irrespective of changes and modernisation and we will always be stereotyped as women have been for years ? I think there are these characteristics that I see in men here too in Istanbul, the point of self-glorification and the need to always prove their mettle because of their respective gender is real.

So ultimately, roots are not connected to where you belong to, you see your real roots are what you have been formed into, how you have moulded yourself and can you really break free from the patriarchal mindsets that are so prevalent universally? We play along, sure, but when out of everyone at the table you take a moment back and observe, you understand in people’s reactions and stories who they really are, it gives away more than you can imagine. You can always project an illusion of being social but you know it’s only an illusion because in your head, you are reading everyone and understanding how similar we all are at the end of the day, despite the differences.

Also, the bartenders were very cute. I got a lot of pretty smiles and come again next time statements and well we know there are always next times, but should we wait and see how this story pans out for the next six months?

Written by Adhisa Ghosh

Shot on Iphone7plus

IT HAS BEEN 20 DAYS

“And in the end, we were all just humans, drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.”

― Christopher Poindexter, Naked Human

It has been 20 days since I left home. It has been twenty days since I realised a few things and understood that every place can get a little lonely sometimes. It has been twenty days since I have started to settle in after moving quite a bit.

From India, to a hotel, to a home in the heart of Istanbul to a new house overlooking the Bosphorus Strait, it has been a whirlwind twenty days. It has been twenty days of learning about people, what distance does to the heart and who all end up being important. Its twenty days of shifting in, settling in, making strangers out of friends and friends out of strangers.

It has been twenty days of figuring out roads, language, signs, learning how to salvage some meals, and handle relations. It has been twenty days of understanding people for whom distance is not a factor and some relations are always meant to stay.It has been twenty days of understanding the value of family and how much we sometime take them for granted because we always have it so easy.

It has been twenty days since the last time I thought about the person I once loved, even though I missed him every minute of every day, but it is also the realisation that sometimes you can miss someone you love without being loved back and it is okay. Bad relationships are as important in life as good relationships. And sometimes, the people you love the most hurt you the most and you have to come to peace with it and remember that forgiveness is not for the weak.

You have to train your heart like a lion, you have to fight and you have to lose sometimes too to understand what a win feels like. And most importantly, you have to be strong to learn to let go because sometimes, that almost kills you but in the process when you look back on that moment, you will thank yourself for choosing yourself over everything.

I have been meeting a lot of strangers on the road when i ask them for some help or directions even when Google fails, and I can assure you that not everyone is bad, not all people are monsters and not everyone will take advantage of you.

I remember a few days back, it was a very hot summer afternoon. In Istanbul, most part of the old city does not have fans or lifts. So after having adjusted to climbing six floors everyday because the view was to kill for, I still couldn’t adjust to the absence of fans. It was one of the hottest days in the city, and after having grudgingly requested for a standing fan, I decided to just go out and get one for myself.

I left the house in the morning, after having crossed a few shops I asked a couple of old people by showing them a photo of the fan i wanted to buy and translating on Google as to where I could buy one. After some cacophony of discussions and directions pointed out, I was offered to be taken by a slightly older gentleman. He seemed to be of a gentle disposition, so clutching on to my bag and understanding that he meant to take me to his friends electronic shop down the road, I embarked on the journey.

What did I do here? I had to put out my faith and trust on the universe, I just had to hold onto the belief that nothing wrong was going to happen and I was having a good start to a day with strangers being kind. And boy was i right! Not only did the fine old fellow help me get a fan, he also got it for me at a discount realising that I was a student. After that he dropped me right at my building which was a few blocks away, and I carried the fan on my shoulders all the way to the sixth floor.

It was a long flight of stairs but the thought that humanity still existed amidst all our problems in life, amidst all the broken dreams, failed promises and love gone wrong, that sometimes people help you without any motive, that is something that takes a while for us to accept.

Isn’t life funny where we are always thinking first of the negative situations that can arise or what can go wrong? We are focusing so much on the stories that didn’t work out and the kiss that wasn’t good, or the shoe that broke, that against all our best efforts, we don’t focus for one second on the possibility that if we did put out good thoughts and positivity, things might turn out not to be that disappointing.

In this constant battle of faith and doubt we let doubt win too often, forgetting that doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.

So, let go. Sometimes, the relationships that are meant to stay and thrive will do so despite distances and sometimes, when people want to leave your life, remember that their chapter in your book was a story that had to come to an end some or the other time.

It has been twenty days of a little more growing up as a 23-year-old adult. It has been twenty days of letting faith win over constant doubts and distance. It has just been twenty days.

Written by Adhisa Ghosh

Shot on iPhone 7 plus

ISTANBUL-OF THE PAST&PRESENT

I have been in this city since Monday now, after 24 hours of travel from Pune, and I am so glad to have completely fallen in love with this country, of whatever little I have seen in these two days. The weather, the people, the whole culture, Istanbul seems to be the perfect marriage of its past and present, of the old and the new. The city of Istanbul is important to geography because it has a long history that spans the rise and fall of the world’s most famous empires. Built by emperors and buried by emperors too many times, the city stands on the ruins of its past, glorifying the history of the present. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, located on the Bosporus Strait it covers the entire area of the Golden Horn – a natural harbor. Because of its size, Istanbul extends into both Europe and Asia. The city is the world’s only metropolis to extend into more than one continent.

Due to its participation in these empires, Istanbul has also undergone various name changes throughout its lengthy history.

HISTORY OF ISTANBUL IN BRIEF

BYZANTIUM ERA – THE ROMAN EMPIRE (330-395 CE)-THE BYZANTINE (EASTERN ROMAN) EMPIRE (395-1204 AND 1261-1453 CE)-THE LATIN EMPIRE (1204-1261)-THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE (1453-1922)-THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY (1923-TODAY)

Also known as the European Capital of Culture because of its melting pot of populace and various religions as well as culture, Istanbul maintains that fine distinguishing line that let’s a traveller understand the many mysteries and tales that this city hides. Since my hotel is located at the heart of European side of Istanbul, at Gülhane Park, I decided to take a trip to the very very famous Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

After having a brilliant breakfast, I strolled out, taking in the beautiful breeze and the good looking men. After about 600meters, I reached my first destination.

HAGIA SOPHIA

One of the most mysterious and extremely written about monuments in the city’s history, the Hagia Sophia survived earthquakes, religious power struggles, and has been a church (basilica), a mosque and is now a museum. It is known as the Ayasofya in Turkish, and was dedicated to the Wisdom (Sophia) of God. There were once two more churches that were regarded as “Churches of Divine Wisdom” but the Hagia Sophia is the last that remains.

From the time of its construction between 532 and 537 AD, on the orders of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, through to 1453 AD, the Hagia Sophia served as a cathedral for the Eastern Orthodox Church. However, Constantinople, as Istanbul was once called, was conquered by the Ottoman Turks at this time, and the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque by order of Sultan Mehmed II. Relics such as the shroud of Mary, nails from the true cross and the tombstone of Jesus were some of its treasures, until the city was ransacked during the Fourth crusade. It remained in use as a mosque until as recently as 1931, when it was closed down for four years to be reopened as a museum in 1935 by the first President of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

When I entered the monument, I was not only transported to a different time, but I could also decipher the existence of two most primary religion. While the Islamic sanctions remains, right above the structure is Virgin Mary, holding baby Jesus, protected by Archangels Gabriel and Michael. Also, guarding above the door are two angels, guardians of the heaven. As one enters, one sees the ceiling that was built at a height so high that it was supposedly a doorway to heaven.  Apart that, there are a couple of tombstones that one can see around the monuments, and one of the largest baptism area that Istanbul had in those days. As Hagia Sophia maintains the balance between the two religious powers, I couldn’t help but wonder how difficult was it for humanity to co-exist so peacefully?

THE BLUE MOSQUE / SULTANAHMET MOSQUE

Istanbul’s Blue Mosque is also known as Sultanahmet Mosque, named after Sultan Ahmet I who wished to build an Islamic place of worship that would compete with the Hagia Sophia. The two places of worship now stand side by side for visitors to judge which is the more extraordinary of the architectural marvels. Mosques traditionally have one, two or four minarets. What makes the Blue Mosque unique as it boasts six minarets. Although the main west entrance is far grander than the north entrance, non-worshippers are asked to use the north entrance, like I was, to keep the mosque’s sacredness intact. The Blue Mosque’s interior is lit with two hundred and sixty windows which were once filled with stained glass of the seventeenth century. Unfortunately they have been lost and replaced with replicas far more inferior. The mosque’s interior has 20,000 blue tiles that line its high ceiling. The oldest of these tiles feature flowers, trees and abstract patterns that make them fine examples of sixteenth century Iznik design.

Written by Adhisa Ghosh

Shot on Iphone7plus