After 7 weeks in Bangalore, I can barely remember what it’s like to not wake up to the sounds of traffic and construction. However, this past weekend my co-interns and I had the pleasure of taking a work trip to Shimoga, a more rural town in the state of Karnataka. Shimoga is home to Shahi’s textile mill, where cotton is transformed into the fabric the company later uses to make many of its own garments. Spanning over 200 acres, being able to tour Shahi’s Shimoga factory was truly a wonderful experience.
One of my favorite parts of learning about the cotton-to-fabric production process was receiving the opportunity to feel the cotton before it was processed. Cotton in such a pure form felt like clouds in my hands, and I wish all of my clothes felt that soft all the time! As our tour continued, I realized how much I had underestimated the intricacy of the production I was witnessing. In Texas, I was used to driving past cotton fields and seeing machinery on farms gathering up cotton to pack it. However, I did not realize that within the factory, cotton as a raw material went through so many additional steps to make it strong enough for stitching and dyeing.
Apart from the educational aspect of our visit, I also enjoyed staying at the Shahi guesthouse in Shimoga. From my room, I could see rolling hills in the distance and lush greenery everywhere I looked. I felt as if I was transported into the middle of a peaceful jungle, completely with light drizzles of rain every day and the sound of birds chirping. The guesthouse also served some of the best canteen meals my co-interns and I had during our entire internship. The canteen staff took care to prepare special dishes for us including noodles, paneer, and fruit juice (among other delicious items)! I was very grateful for the care the dining staff put into our meals, but I also felt guilty that they worked so hard for us. I was reminded of how intense but heartwarming Indian hospitality is, and I made sure to savor every bite throughout the weekend.
Unfortunately, my experience didn’t resemble paradise for long. After the first day in Shimoga, I became sick and had to stay at the guesthouse for the weekend to rest. I am very grateful to Soundarya, a member of Shahi’s OD team who served as our guide in Shimoga, for checking on me frequently and making me feel comfortable. I would have felt a lot worse if I hadn’t been surrounded by so much support!
As I enter the final weeks of my time in Bangalore, I’m looking forward to presenting my work and receiving feedback on how I can improve my recommendations. I’ve already learned so much more from this experience than I could have ever imagined, and I hope to continue to gain new insights in the final days of my internship.