Army parties are fun,frolic and excitement! Haha! Lolz, no! That was just a joke! The fact is Army parties are highly official decorative functions that at least happen twice a week or more than that sometimes 7 days a week too. The idea behind the regular parties are to bring the people from different arms to relax and mingle together or mostly welcome or honor the serving or retired officers. These parties are also looked upon as the gateway from the regular Army stress that armed forces have due to continuous separation,extreme work load, no leisure time etcetera. Then the Army Wives who play vital role in maintaining the Army way of life hardly get time to interact with other ladies or mostly Senior Ladies which is important for exchange of common ethos and Army values. Then a few parties are organised just for simple fun meeting where people sing dance or just have fun like any other community or people outside. There are also individual on invitation parties thrown for Birthdays and Anniversaries which are kind of mandatory (unofficially) as Armed forces act on ‘we are family first’ ethos, where you celebrate your day with other unit members. There are jawan parties or officer parties and sometimes both are combined too. But here we will not talk about jawans parties and individual parties but focus only on Army officers parties.
Dining In parties
When a new officer joins the station then Dining in parties are thrown off to warmly welcome the officer and provide him the opportunity to mingle with the other officers serving there already. If it’s a peace station then the officer is welcomed along with the lady wife. All the other officers along with their lady wives attend the Dining In parties. It is one highly formal function where dress codes are strictly followed and hosted by the head of the station along with all the other officers. The invitation card is sent to the new officer and his lady wife. The parties make them acquainted with the existing set up and hierarchies which are taken very strictly in the Army before they start contributing. Kids are not allowed.
Officer : Formal non striped shirts,formal pants, classic dress shoes and coat-suits
Army wife dress : Saree only
Dining Out Parties
These are highly decorative functions just like Dining Ins, only here the serving officer is fare-welled once his posting is out to another place. He’s honored with a gift or mementos from the unit or station and the senior most officer talks about his achievements and his wife’s contribution during their tenure. The outgoing officer also delivers a thank you speech. The drink snacks are duly served before the formal dinner where the guest are offered the plates first and then the party ends with ‘he’s a jolly good fellow‘ poem where the officer sits onto the farewell chair which is held by all the officers and he’s thrown in the air cheerfully. Kids are not allowed.
Army Officer: Formal non striped shirts,formal pants,classic dress shoes and coat-suits during winters.
Army Wife: Sari only
Social Evening Parties
These social evening parties are little casual in nature where the dress codes are not taken seriously and the party is catered rather in the light hearted mood. Usually organised in open spaces mostly Mess lawns and drinks and snacks are served freely and emphasized more over the food. There could be couple dances, songs, games or fun events done by the officers and wives only. The young officers and wives are expected to perform and taken as matter of prides. Normally happens once a month to interact with the officers and their families and strike a casual chit chat which is rare in highly formal organisation like Army. These are also organised during occasions like new year,Christmas or any other special calendared day with an idea to interact with officers and families from various arm at a station together. Army brats are allowed and can be seen roaming around freely unlike most fauji parties. The dress codes are little relaxed. Some theme parties also include western dresses.
Army Officer: Casual shirt and pants without tie etc.
Army Wife: Sari, Suit or decent western dresses for theme parties
Bada Khana parties
The bada khana parties are organised for jawans and officers both together. Normally wives of officers and jawans don’t attend these parties but at some grand scale Bada Khana party during special occasion like regiment raising days etcetera lady wives and jawans families do join the officers and jawans. the idea is again to interact casually outside the boundaries of strict military rules and focus is mostly to entertain the jawans so sometimes dance bands from outside are also invited or jawans also perform on the stage. Mimic their seniors,sing,dance or showcase other talents apart from army skills are performed by the Jawans. These are unit level function usually headed by the Commanding officer.
Army Officer: Formal Shirt-Pant and classic dress shoes
Army Wife : Saree only
The ladies meets are highly official fun parties exclusively for Army wives. These are headed by the first lady of the station and organised usually turn wise. Like different units or brigades organised it monthly. These happen every month once and the idea is again to interact with the army wives from all the arms and encourage their talents. Just like those events done in schools or colleges or corporate to emphasize mostly on extracurricular! These are one very important Army functions and every unit take it as a matter of pride to perform better than other units. The Army wives play an extremely important role in maintaining the Army life and emphasis here is mostly on overall development of army wife and break the ice between senior officer army wives and junior officer army wives. Kids are not allowed.
Army wives : Always according to the theme from western to ethnic to Ghagra choli.
The Army wives are called as silent ranks in the Army only because of the belief that once the men would leave for war it would be over the shoulders of Army Wives to look after Jawans families and kids and that interaction can not be created in a day. So more such events are organised to develop the communication and interaction among Army wives and Jawan families. Welfare is one of them. Initially the emphasis was more on engaging jawans wives with some talents or hobbies but now with the changed army scenes the emphasis is more onto breaking the ice between the two lot and knowing their problems at the personal level and imparting them with valuable information to help them with their daily lives.
Army Wives: Formal elegant saris with sleeved blouses.
Coffee evenings/Coffee mornings
These are again formal function with a casual touch which are organised to honor the chief guest and let him or her interact with rest of the members within limited time. very light snacks and formal interactions happen here before bidding byes to rest of the members. These are organised usually for the top level ranks in the army hierarchy.
There are numerous other parties that happen on regular basis in Army to keep up the principles,break the ice and for smooth flow of communication among various arms keeping the army traditions in mind to keep the otherwise this extremely vast organisation organised. Almost all the festivals are celebrated along with the troops from Ganesh Chaturthi, Krishna Janmashtmi to Eid or Christmas. Then there are raising day parties which goes over a week almost. This post is to just let you acquainted with the Army way of life which make us the person that we are as a fraternity.
As Anushka Sharma said ” yes we are the Army behind the Army ” and proud of that!
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