Category Archives: Others

Islas de la munecas

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Photos by Cindy Vasco

I thought it was just another boat party but I was not aware of the adventures that awaited me at the canals of Xochimilco, also known as the xochimilco trajineras because of the canoes that take people for a ride. The place is filled with tourists, mariachi bands, and lush floating gardens.

However, wait for sometime and you will see the adjacent island with severed limbs and cracked heads of severely weathered dolls.

Welcome to la Isla de la munecas, the island of the dolls.

The legend is about one man, a lost relationship, and a dead girl’s doll.

Hundreds of photographers and thrill seekers travel to this haunted island of dolls every year, but it was never meant to be a tourist attraction.

It all started with Julian Santana Barrera, a reclusive Mexican man who found a doll floating at the same area where he had found the dead body of a drowned girl some days ago. To honor the girls spirit and save himself from further tragedy, Julian started hanging more dolls.

Julian was apparently haunted by the spirit of the girl and started hanging more dolls in order to get rid of the spirit. He soon realized that the dolls themselves were possessed by spirits when they started blinking their eyes and moving their heads. He continued hanging dolls all over the place. Apparently, he was marked by the fact that he was not able to save the little girl’s life.

After 50 years of collecting and hanging dolls, Julian was found drowned at the same spot where the girl died.

Yet la Isla de las Muñecas lives on. Locals tend to the island, while travelers from around the world seek out the site. Some even arrive with new dolls to hang in the trees, continuing Don Julian’s eerie tradition.

Stories from Mexico, brought to you by Niloy Jain, IIM Indore IPM-5 participant on student exchange. Stay tuned for more adventure! 

A step forward was all what I needed

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“Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the bravest of them all?” – And the answer, as expected, wasn’t that impressive! I knew it. I knew it from the start.

This was my second week at Austin, during the five weeks International Immersion Program at the McCombs Business School (University of Texas) that IIM Indore offers to the EPGP participants. However, I knew that something had gone wrong. I felt a sense of sudden transformation from within, a sense of insecurity and vulnerability that increasingly heightened my dependence on my fellow mates. From the feisty girl that I used to be, I had somehow lost all my high spirits and would hardly step out of my room!

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But this was not how I wanted to see myself. Being born and brought up in a very traditional family, I definitely have a very clear view of what is “good” and what is not. Yet, I was never told to be a subdued person who would just stay indoors. I interacted with people, laughed and giggled through life. Naturally something was hurting now!

Told myself, this jinx needs to be broken. The time showed 10.30 am on a Saturday morning. It was already late, quite late- since I require about a couple of hours to get all decked up. And that’s a must when I’m going out!

 

Anyway, the ordeal of happiness was finally over, and it was a super Saturday noon – with a bright and warm Sun welcoming Austin. I knew that I couldn’t afford to miss the chance. Quickly flipped through the Transit app and decided that the Aquarium would be my destination. The next bus timing showed 20 minutes to go and the walk to the bus stop was barely a 5 minute one. So, I had enough time.

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Reached the bus stop and started awaiting the bus. The vehicle arrived on time and I checked the destination route. The driver wasn’t aware and asked me to help him find the right stop for me. Poor me, I knew nothing at all! But I decided to put up a brave front. It was as ridiculous as an illiterate man attempting to educate another! I had to live with that as I’ve an Indian accent and it was quite possible that my words were not being well comprehended by a Native American guy. Anyway, the journey began and started matching the stop names from my app in anticipation of being ascertained that I’ve embarked on the right track.

Nothing seemed to match though and to be candid I started getting goose bumps thinking that I’d probably get lost in America! Suddenly some wisdom dawned on me and I thought I better check on the direction to which the bus is traversing. And guess what, it was just the opposite of what I intended to board!

The driver very politely got me down at the next stop, suggesting how I should reach the desired destination. It was freaking hot and I started waiting for the chariot to my destination. The chariot arrived at the designated hour and after the long wait in the scorching Sun, the driver’s polite greeting literally seemed as though Lord Krishna had descended and was assuring me with his iconic “Tathastu” that I would reach my destination safe and sound. The bus was not much crowded and I went and occupied my all time favorite ‘aisle seat’.

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Soon after an aged man came along and sat beside me. I’m usually quite stoic and refrain from eavesdropping into other people’s business. However, lofty ideals do get shattered at times; after all to err is human!

Couldn’t believe what I heard!!! This man was apparently talking to a lady whom he addressed quite respectfully. He was stating his apprehension over being treated in a regal style and some unknown people paying for his super luxurious stay at a hotel. He was repeatedly mentioning that he’s very perplexed as to what made him get all the royal treatment that he was getting and he’d no clue who was sponsoring his food and accommodation.

I kept looking straight but my ears were all up and eyebrows all risen. His plight seemed analogous to that of a creature who denies sumptuous meal in anticipation of getting butchered. And I say that with all the due respect. My instant reaction was to change my seat, as things seemed heavily fishy out there. I was just attempting to locate a good alternative when my chariot came to an unexpected halt. I saw two stout men entering and the entire bus became pin drop silent for a while. After a pause it struck me that they were the well celebrated US State Troopers and instantly my heart missed a beat.

 

This article was written by Sreemoyee Saha, an EPGP participant at IIM Indore.

Mercenaries of Art

by Jasmine Kaur

Prevaricators
Heretics
Radicals
Forsooth, even these labels fall short
For these mercenaries of art
Are complicit to a different crime every day

Intransigently transient
Switching tastes sporadically
For fear of over-familiarity with one
Switching choices, opinions, stances
Whenever their conscience bids them to
For in their heads, to make an uninformed choice
Would be worse than not making one at all

And that is what pits them at the opposite end
Of the war with the rest of the world
A war which they haven’t waged but are forced to partake in
A war waged by a society that regards
Stability of thought and consistency in devotion as virtues
And all else? Seditious. Reprehensible.
“Artistic”, they say with contempt
Spitting out the word as though it be a wretched disease

It does not belong here
The makers do not belong
These artists. They do not belong, they say
In our kingdom, our land, our territory
In the kingdom that they have created inside their heads
And that is their greatest folly
For do they not realize that laws do not apply
To those who do not know how to live inside walls?
Lines have no meaning for them
For these creators of art can make their own
And those are far, far more beautiful

These mercenaries of art
Are warriors of a different ilk
Ostracized for their beliefs, their ways
Their little oddities that made them so different from the others
Only result in bringing them closer to each other

For they paint the world in a myriad of colors
Writers, Painters, Sculptors, Singers, Dancers, Scientists
All artists in their own right
For it is their creations
Their words, their canvases that shall adorn the walls
Their symphonies that shall echo through them
Their art that shall live on in the kingdom
Long after they have been turned away from it

Why (Not) MBA?

WhyNOTMBAI am not a blogger by hobby or profession, yet I can be reasonably certain that this title did raise an eyebrow… and why not? In this time and age, MBA is THE magic potion that your supposedly stunted and dwarfed career can have, to bloom into one of a cool consultant or an impressive investment banker.

Notwithstanding what you may say (or have said) in your interview to answer “Why MBA?” the reasons would most generally be: You did not like your job, boss or salary, or still worse, you were a bubbling engineer all set to make the Iron Man when you were told engineers in India are mere cyber slaves and have a ‘stunted career’ and you NEED an MBA! Here are a few things you are told, but you need to read between the lines:

  1. If you want to do an MBA, do it NOW!

As the wise old men said, there’s a right time for everything. One of the major concerns as pointed out by Prof. Harish Chaudhry in his article ( www.bit.ly/1NVWkFZ ) is that the MBA curriculum was designed for participants with sufficient industry experience while about 23 to 40% of candidates pursue the course right after graduation. Yet students and professionals alike are compelled to give the Common Admission Test (CAT) at the earliest because of the slim chances of ‘cracking the CAT’. After all, what are the odds that you will have good academics, score above 99%ile in CAT, score in WAT/GDs, AND give an impressive performance at the Interviews – All in one attempt?

  1. Fresher or Work-Ex?

Another doubt in most minds is ‘Who is preferred for the job, a fresher or an experienced candidate?’ This can be debated, and most certainly, there is no rule to it. Relevant experience is always a plus. Nonetheless, a large number of cases will illustrate that candidates fresh out of college have also bagged the top jobs on campus. Loosely speaking, IT consulting and techno-managerial roles would generally (not always) require relevant engineering experience and select roles in financial consulting or auditing would appreciate relevant backgrounds in economics or commerce. For most other roles such as sales & marketing, finance and consulting, it is a level playing field for both parties.

  1. If you are creative, go for marketing

Beware! This was perhaps the snare that I fell for. The major is called Sales & Marketing(S&M), in that order, for a reason. There is a lot more to S&M in the form of sales, targets, distribution channels, margins, trade promotions and a goodish deal of perseverance. Those ‘Oh so witty’ advertisements are made by ad agencies and branding, more often than not, is outsourced to brand consulting firms who recruit professional designers to generate those creatives. As an Area Sales Manager (ASM) or even as a Marketing Head, you will most likely watch values and volumes, both of which are represented numerically.

  1. You’ll fetch a 20 lac package!

This one is tricky. While there are packages that easily shoot up beyond INR 20,00,000 p.a., that pleasure is for a few. One must know a priori that these packages refer to the CTC (Cost To Company). The CTC includes, apart from your in-hand salary, a fat joining bonus which is given in instalments, variable pay, insurance and other benefits. If you love what you are doing and are switching over to other arenas only for the money, think… and think again. Go where your heart is. Do what you are passionate about.

What an MBA Actually Gives

Aforesaid points notwithstanding, you can certainly look at MBA as a long term investment. You will reach a stage where a more holistic approach will be rewarded rather than a well-written code. An MBA helps you understand an organization right from its inception, vision, mission and branches out to explain the functions of Sales/Marketing team, the HR team, the supply chain, distribution channels, business units and general administration. You start understanding valuation of companies, mergers, acquisitions and functioning of the financial system. You will then have a better understanding of different sectors and industries viz. BFSI, IT, FMCG, retail, real estate, telecom among others.

Not only that, an MBA at a good B School will help you know yourself much better. You will learn to manage time, respect others, be humble and above all, you will meet an extraordinary bunch of people. They will be your most harsh critics and best of friends. MBA could be the best thing that happened to you. But do not let the CAT scare you into a rat race.

If you are interested in finance, go for an MBA.

If you are willing to travel, convince and enjoy with sales, go for an MBA.

If managing a team makes more sense to you than working heads-down, go for an MBA (Don’t forget to bring along work experience here).

If micro and macroeconomics amaze you, go for an MBA.

If you are ready for a roller coaster ride… go for an MBA.

And make the most of it.

 

This article has been written by Urvaksh Tavadia, PGP 2014-16

The Importance Of Saying “No”!

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Finding yourself yet again hunched over your laptop at an ungodly hour? In the fast paced modern Earth that does not come as a surprise, and especially when you talk about B-schools. We all have our platters full of work and sometimes it overflows into our lives taking over every other thing. But what at times might surprise you is the reason behind the late night show this time. This time you catch yourself scooping the bits off that had been ladled on to your plate just because you could not say “no”.

A friend asked you to review a project he has been working on? A classmate asked you a favor to get a report done by morning that was supposed to be done by him? A teammate asked you to cover for her? Yes, we all go through that, and the next thing you know there is a random stranger coming up to you and asking you for a favor just because he heard on the block that you don’t say “no”! Time to get a better grip of your time and direct the reins as you wish, isn’t it? The magical two letter word that can make your world better is simply “No”.

People have a hard time saying no because they feel that it might hurt the sentiments of people asking for help. That saying no might create rifts and in future you will still have to work with these people. Or simply because they like being the nice person who wants to help everyone. But what they do not know is that saying “no” is actually a better thing at times.

Here are 5 reasons why we should learn the art of saying “No”.

  • Know your priorities– You have to submit a crucial presentation in the morning that will propel your project forward and your roommate wants to go out with you. You know that the project means a lot to you and if you do not say no, you will end up messing it. So prioritize; tell your roommate that you have a report to complete and be assertive leaving no room for negotiations, promising to go the next time you get a chance.
  • Know your limitations– You are already handling three deadlines and your teammates come up to you ask you to work on an entirely new live project. If you take on the project, you will be stretching too far and eventually end up damaging all the projects you had as well as the new one. So if you were hoping your “yes” would impress your teammates, now they will be furious because you could not properly do even one. All the work for nothing. So if you know that you can’t do it, say no. Instead of making you look incapable, it shows that you know what you are doing.
  • Heed your needs– After 21 hours of slogging which is a common thing in a B-school, you wrap up your work and head hostel. While unlocking the door to your room, the neighbor invites you to hangout. If you say yes and go along forgoing your sleep because you could not hurt his/her feelings, it might affect your health and in turn make it hard for you to work properly. So you have to learn to turn down people politely in order to make sure your needs are fulfilled first.
  • Increases the value of “Yes”- If you go around agreeing to do anything for anyone, people start taking you for granted and won’t even give you due gratitude for helping them out. But if you say no to the things that you can’t do, when you do say yes, people know you are doing it for them as a favor and will hold your efforts in a better light.
  • Time for yourself– Every once in a while one needs time to do their own thing, be it read a book or watch a movie or just lounge on a sofa and watch the game. Going overboard with saying yes and not giving yourself time will make you feel miserable and you will constantly feel overworked. So learning to say “no” to the right things can help you enjoy life a lot more. People will not judge you for this but respect you because of your assertiveness

This article has been written by Ankita Jena, PGP-1 student at IIM Indore.