Ramarani Hota, IRS
Late Mr. Saptarishi IAS West Bengal Cadre, decided to put up a, skit/ fancy dress item on one of the occasions during our stay in the Academy. The important characters were Gandhiji, Swamy Vivekananda, Jhansi ki Rani Laxmi Bai, Lord Dalhousie, Moghul Emperor Jalalludin Akbar, Maharana Pratap and few other Hindu Kings. I was chosen by him to play the part of Jhansi ki Rani. All the characters panicked because we did not have proper dresses and it was difficult to organise them in Mussoorie. Mr Saptarishi was a die-hard optimist and a fantastic organiser. He never gave up. He got crowns and jewelleries made from Zari and managed some dresses and shoes from outside market. Mine was comparatively easy. I was married in May, 1969 before joining the Academy. So I wore my red Banarasi Saree and a few jewelleries along with my Zari crown and other accessories. I was also carrying a sword and a Dhal. None of us had any dialogues, only actions. When I went on the stage, I raised my sword high and the audience clapped. The whole Show was received very well. Mr Saptarishi was very pleased with me and I became his real Jhansi ki Rani. Why am I writing this? To pay a small tribute to the great organiser, enthusiast, and a man full of action in his later years. He could convert a very small occasion to a memorable one. May his soul rest in peace.
This is even a more hilarious incident. One Saturday or Sunday there was some sports activities in the Academy. I was never good at sports, so decided to wear a yellow Banarasi Saree and few jewelleries and went to watch the sports activity. Few events were over, and the last event was glass race. Since there were no pitchers, plastic glasses were filled with water and the ladies were to run with these water-filled glasses without touching the glasses. All of us started, but after some time only my name was being called by friends and some staff members. I was too nervous to realise anything till we reached the destination. I not only got the first prize but while giving the prize our Director of the Academy, Mr Sathe remarked that the way I was running with a water filled glass I was capable of joining Olympics. Either the God or my hairstyle had done the trick!