How to calculate“Party Share” – Navy Style

Here is the timeline of changing Navy Wardroom/Officers Mess Traditions on how to calculate party share for official parties attended by all members of the Mess or a large number of Officers.

  1. PARTY SHARE – “STRIPE BASIS”

(Seniors Subsidize Juniors)

There was a time when Senior Naval Officers were large-hearted and magnanimous.

The senior always stood a drink for the junior.

Whenever we had a party in the wardroom (officers’ mess) – the “party share” was on “stripe basis”.

You counted the total number of stripes on the shoulders of officers present – and then – you simply divided the overall damages for food and drinks by the total number of stripes – and – you calculated the stripe share.

You paid a party share depending on the stripes you wore on your sleeves or shoulder.

A Commander (who wore three stripes on his shoulder) paid three times the party share as compared to a Sub Lieutenant (who wore a single stripe).

In effect – the seniors subsidized the bill of the juniors.

  1. PARTY SHARE – “ON THE HOUSE”

(Equal Party Share for Everyone)

As traditions and attitudes began to change – and – officers started becoming money conscious – the “stripe share” concept gave way to the “on the house” concept – in which – the party share was distributed equally among all those officers who attended the party – and – all members of the “house” paid the same amount of “party share” – irrespective of how much food and drink they consumed – and– irrespective of their rank.

Of course – when things were “on the house” – those who drank less and ate frugally subsidized those who drank heavily (“topped-up to the hilt”) and gorged on food to their hearts’ content.

With the passage of time – as officers became more and more money-orientated – and – materialism became a way of life – this affected Naval Wardroom Officers Mess traditions too – and – many officers started counting their drinks – and worse – they also counted others’ drinks too…!!!

  1. PARTY SHARE – “CHIT SYSTEM”

(You Pay for what you consume)

Now we had a “chit system” and the party share was based on the principle of “Soldier’s Share” – or – “Going Dutch” – in which you signed chits – and – you paid for whatever you consumed.

In this “signing chits” scheme of things – no one subsidized anybody – and – it was each for his own – irrespective of rank and seniority.

  1. PARTY SHARE – SENIORS FREELOAD and JUNIORS FOOT THEIR BILL

(Juniors subsidize Seniors)

Soon – Wardroom Officers Mess traditions were turned upside down.

Money-consciousness gave way to stinginess and sort of “feudal” culture – owing to selective interpretation of the “RHIP” concept – which resulted in the proliferation of freeloaders in the senior ranks.

This resulted in a preposterous situation – wherein now – it was the “magnanimous” juniors who were subsidizing their stingy yet greedy freeloading seniors.

You know what RHIP stands for – don’t you…?

Well – RHIP is the acronym for RANK HAS ITS PRIVILEGES (Rank Has Its Privileges)

Unfortunately – some unscrupulous and corrupt senior officers thought that “RHIP” implied that it was their “privilege” to freeload and sponge on their juniors.

Things seem to have turned a full circle.

VIKRAM KARVE

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