RBI Internship: Week 4
Our last week in the College of Agricultural Banking. So sad. A weekend that will be remembered by all of us for a long time.
It started in such a surreal way, through active meditation at the Osho Ashram International Resort. Although yoga is always a possibility when one comes to India, nobody here expected to be dancing like a mad man in a modernised pyramid with forty other people, all wearing maroon robes. Does it make sense? Probably not.
The day started with arrival at the resort. Having done research about the place online, we expected that we would have to do an HIV test. Luckily, we did not. After around half an hour of registration, we bought our entry to the resort, as well as our robes. Some of us were apprehensive about the 4000 rupee price tag, and it’s safe to say that this was not typical India. However, we entered.
Upon entry, there were around 15 pilgrims on our left, dancing to S-Club 7. Fair enough, not what we expected but we’ll see how the day goes. We then had an introductory session, where we were told that anyone who coughs or sneezes would have to leave any meditation session, and would not be able to return. No mention on what happens if someone has a burst of laughter. However, we did not find out, as we all got hypnotised by the world of Osho.
Our first session included a 30 minute 6 sequence dance, followed by 15 minutes of whirling and dizziness, and then a nice lie down after that. The word relaxation did not come directly to mind; however, it would be massively evident in our next session. Osho Nadabrahma; the humming meditation. Cross legged sitting and humming, while moving arms that felt like they were floating, this was definitely an unexpectedly surreal experience.
To conclude the day, we had to shake, shake and shake. “Allow the shaking, do not do the shaking” we were told. “Enjoy it, but don’t will it.” It was surprising to discover the number of different ways one could shake. After another session of wild dancing, half an hour of sitting and lying down concluded our day at the resort. A day we will remember for decades.
The rest of our week has predominately been taken up by preparations for our presentations and finalising our reports. However, we did find time to celebrate Ben’s birthday on Monday welcoming the spring chicken of the group in to adulthood. Ben turned 20 years old on Monday, although you’d never believe it with his youthful looks, lack of facial hair and boisterous smile. We had a splendid evening spent bowling, eating pizza and demolishing cheese covered nachos at a huge mall halfway across Pune. Hands off Murray, its nacho cheese. After eating the equivalent of bodyweight in fast food and Ben having one too many soft drinks we decided to call it a night and head back to the CAB.
Monday to Thursday was spent fine tuning our end of project presentations. After numerous postponements of the presentation date we ended up completing them on Friday morning. With a packed boardroom and an atmosphere you could cut with a spoon, George and Andy eloquently kicked off the morning with an excellent presentation on the Export competitiveness of Indian agriculture. After a bombardment of questions from the board, effortlessly dealt with by George and Andy, Sam, Sam and Sim (Aka SSS Digital Consulting) took the stage to share their knowledge of digital lending practises in India. Ground-breaking. Innovative. Handsome. Three words used to described the SSS team (by themselves). Murray Sim’s exquisite performance outlining his revolutionary “3-Tier Sandbox,” which he claims may change the face of financial regulation forever, had the audience on the edge of their seats and concluded the 2nd of 3 presentations. Last but not least, Bertie and Ben presented their findings on the challenges and prospects of micro-lending by Urban Cooperative Banks in a fantastic presentation, as well as sharing their experiences from their visit to the Ganesh Temple with a coop bank last week. The board seemed very impressed with all of our presentations and were very complimentary of our time at the college.
Coming to the end of our time in India has brought into stark reality what an eye opening experience our short time here has been. Our exposure to Indian culture has been in equal parts both surprising and fascinating, the people have continued to amaze us with their hospitality and kindness, particularly our co-ordinator and all-round helper Monali who we can’t thank enough for everything she’s done for us. As for us we part ways with RBI, either back to UK or on further travels in India, as more rounded individuals with a deeper understanding of the varieties the world has to offer, with core competencies, skills and particularly memories that we can take forward onto whatever adventures the future has to hold.