Saturday, March 17, 2012

MESS - MAINTENANCE OF EQUAL SOCIAL STATUS -- The Officers Mess – A Place to Promote Camaraderie

The Officers Mess – A Place to Promote Camaraderie

If you have served in the Army, Navy or Air Force or are familiar with Military life I am sure you know what is an OFFICERS MESS (In the Navy an Officers Mess is called WARDROOM or Wardroom Mess).

OFFICERS is the plural of Officer and surely you know what the term “Officer” means, especially in the context of the Military.

But do you know what the acronym MESS stands for?

I am sure you do, but if you don’t then let me tell you.

The acronym MESS is the short form for Maintenance of Equal Social Status.


The very aim of an Officers Mess is to Maintain Equal Social Status amongst all its members, irrespective of their ranks.

Long back, during a party, I heard an Admiral once say: “All Officers have equal social status. Ranks are for administrative purposes only”.

If I recall correctly he attributed this maxim to Field Marshal Cariappa who probably felt that excessive rank consciousness at social functions would adversely affect camaraderie amongst officers which would damage cohesion of the officer cadre.

That’s why in an Officers Mess, all members are equal and have the same social status, irrespective of the ranks and positions they hold outside the Mess. Yes, Rank Has Its Privileges (RHIP) but that is outside the Mess. Inside the Mess it is all about comradeship, friendship and fellowship.

So the next time you go to an Officers Mess don’t forget that the abbreviation MESS stands for MAINTENANCE OF EQUAL SOCIAL STATUS.

I have had the best of times and made the best of friends in Wardrooms and Officers Messes. Maybe, I’ll tell you about it, at least a few nostalgic yarns,  sometime later right here in my blog.

Till then, Cheers and Godspeed.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and he is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

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