In the year 2005 the outgoing President of Indian Revenue Service Ladies Association (IRSLA) at Ahmedabad nominated me as the new President. As I was skceptical of my capabilities I felt that I was the reluctant chosen one. But to my surprise the innings got off to a good start with the support of most members, in particular Mrs. Saroj Bansal, an important office bearer of the Ladies Association.
In all, we were about 20 members of this exclusive club who would organise functions and get together on festivals and other important occasions. Social activities were also on our agenda. With these responsibilities on my shoulders, each festival took on a new meaning.
The first festival that we celebrated with gusto was Holi. The families gathered on the common lawns for the festivities before everyone invaded our small strip of lawn in the backyard to quench their thirst and eat cookies and stuff. It was a hilarious situation with the officers tipsy early in the morning and generally letting themselves have a go. The wives too were not far behind and got high on Nimbu Paani. So what?
The next festival that we celebrated was Teej. The Ladies came all dressed up in colourful greens and lahriyas and jewellery to the hilt to celebrate. Mamta won the best dressed prize.
Navratras is the most awaited Festival in Gujarat. On one of the nights IRSLA organised Navratra celebrations on our Customs colony lawns. Garba was a hit as men women and children all jumped in. The ladies danced particularly well as they were well prepared, having put on their dancing shoes for over a month. They really scorched the floor. Once again Mamta turned out to be the winner with the Best Dancers Trophy. My daughter-in-law, Poonam, won the musical chairs. It was her first Navratra festival after her marriage to my son, Gaurav.
The high point of my tenure was the Fete that IRSLA organised to help the workers of the IRS colonies. Once again tremendous hard work was put in by Mrs. Saroj Bansal. The fete was well attended by the families of the officers. Everyone enjoyed the mouth watering dishes like Paani Puri and Chole bhature. Hot dosas flew off the tawa like hot cross buns. Artificial flowers were sold out in next to no time. (Ahmedabad did not have many natural flower outlets then.)
At the end of the year our IRSLA representatives attended the annual IRSLA gathering at Delhi and came back with a pat on the back.
I regret to say that IRSlA is not so vibrant and active these days. The winds of change have killed the joy of community living and celebrating together. Living in Uganda Park I never felt I was far from my relatives and friends. The joy of camaraderie among the officers was palpably visible. These friendships hold strong even after ten years of retirement of my husband from the Indian Revenue Service. I cherish the wonderful days spent in Uganda Park officers’ colony.
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