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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 7 (November 1, 1929)

Recreational Side of Railway Life

Recreational Side of Railway Life.

Frequent outings and picnics are organised by the Railway folk who receive free passes to the spot selected. These picnics are often on a page 38 large scale and provide, not only for the social enjoyment of the “grown ups” but are a source of instruction for the children: the rendezvous being an historical spot. The nature of India is such that most of these places are very beautiful as well. Friends may be invited and these outings often being on a very large scale indeed, invitations are eagerly sought and accepted by the outside public. On such occasions servants go in advance and attend to all the preliminary details such as getting refreshments ready and pitching a “shimyanah” (a tent somewhat like that of a circus, but open on all sides) where dancing and games are indulged in. Then, when the party is assembled the servants remain in attendance.

These Railway towns are small and self contained social centres. Rules of etiquette are faithfully adhered to, in fact they are rigidly observed. The ladies have their days-at-home for receiving callers and go visiting in proper style. Owing to climatic conditions there has been a general relaxation as to correct evening dress for men. It is permissible—even at Government House— to wear black trousers with a white Eton jacket and dark red cummerbund. If it is decided to give a dance during the warmer weather one of these “shimyanahs” is pitched in the open, and a dancing cloth tightly stretched over the ground. This cloth is very thick in texture with a highly glazed and polished surface well adapted for dancing.