My trip to Mumbai-Pune last week to attend a Conference on Microfinance - Translating Research into Practice was a rich and memorable experience for more than one reason. I was in rural banking for nearly three decades but had never visited College of Agricultural Banking-Reserve Bank of India campus in Pune all these years.And I was attending a high level Conference on Microfinance (my current area of research interest) organised by two giant institutions - IFMR-CMF and CAB-RBI attended by Academicians, Bankers, Researchers, Consultants, NGO-Voluntary Organisations, Policy makers like RBI-NABARD-SIDBI, Insurers, Authors, and so on. The faciities in CAB campus were very well organised and delegates were well taken care of.
The style in which the deliberations went on was also interesting. Panel discussions were chaired by experts in the field and researchers began with their presentations. These researchers were bright and young Indian students having studied abroad and now taking up such studies. Overall, it was a great congregation. I would also remember the wonderful musical night with music, dance and dinner of a high standards on the 12th night at CAB.
And on the personal front, meeting my two neices with their hubbies in Mumbai and Pune for a brief time, speaking to my former colleagues like Pradeep Khosla, Kishore Kumar, Sivakumar SNV, Meghdoot Karnik (had a dinner with him), etc was fulfilling too. In Pune, I met Ms Neelam Khetan of Udaipur who was a class mate of Prof RC Natarajan and studied in IRMA in early eighties. Mr VC Joshi, former GM of BOI was referred to me by Dr Madhura of Bangalore and I met him. He is into research / study on MF for NABARD. Incidentally, his book on banking was used by me in MBFI course a few years back.
In Mumbai Airport, I picked up a few books on Industrialists of AP (Coffee Book), etc and not forgetting the much desired and awaited story of SBI - Grit,Guts, and Gumption by Rajesh Chakrabarti of ISB, Hyderabad. And in the waiting lounge, met Mr Rakesh Sarin, MD of Wartsila, travelling to Mangalore. After introductions, he was happy to have been connected by me to his ex-colleague (and mine too), Prof S Balasubramanian, Director of GRG B-School in Coimbatore over a telephonic call. And in the flight, I got to meet Dr Mudithaya of Nitte -JKSHIM who was enquiring about my absence from their recently held second International Conference, because I took active participation in the first one in Dec 2008.