Jim and Mahesh were sitting in the JCR, cradling a hot chocolate like a newborn and trying to
Facebook stalk the names of ex-IHers. Especially the pretty girls. Adorning the walls he noticed an
inordinate amount of Sirs and wondered if they were all knighted or just being pretentious. They
could overhear two boys arguing about the amount of wheat in a Catan trade. One, a bespeckled
asian man, puzzlingly from Afghanistan, was offering 2 wood for a wheat while the other, an
Englishman wearing a turquoise hat wouldn’t budge unless it was 3. It was like dealing with the
devil. Nobody does a 3 for 1. Everyone knows that.
In the corner were Margie and Susan, the two sisters from Denmark playing Stairway to Heaven on
the Ukelele and wondering when they could go and steal the freshers late meals. Technically they
were freshers too but had managed to convince everyone that back home a fresher was a type of
breathmint and so were excempt from the O Week activities. She would glance over at Pedro on
the Futsal court. Margie had a huge crush on Pedro, a boy from Brazil who liked to brag he was the
nephew of a Drug Lord. She was hoping to glimpse his muscles. He always played with his shirt off.
The other guys thought he was a tosser.
They were all waiting nervously in the JCR. It was that night of the week and everyone was excited.
You could feel the energy in the air. It was the night of a Dinner Swap. Not just any Dinner Swap,
tonight was special. The Ormond people would be coming. It had been the talk of the college for
weeks. Everyone doing their part to impress our guests. Even Catercare were making an effort to
put on a show. They brought out their special flavour enhancing ingredient…. Salt.
Mahesh was particularly rattled. He had fantasised about the Ormond girls for weeks, ever since
he’d spoken to one at Turf. The encounter was awkward. He walked up to her and asked in his
most confident voice, “Can I buy you a drink?” Trying really hard to hold eye contact, “Sure,” she
said, “I’ll have a single malt scotch with raspberry liqueor.” The Turf barmen needed to visit their
underground cellar just to find the single malts. It was a rare order at Turf, so it must be someone
from Ormond. The drink put him back $100 but it was worth it for the brief moment he spoke to
her. She said “Thanks,” smiled and was away. She was like an angel, sweeping majestically through
the drunken crowds like she was floating. The crowd would part to let her through like Moses and
the Red Sea.
The clock struck 6:45 and everyone rushed into the Dining Hall and that’s when they arrived. It was
like a procession. 15 girls and boys from Ormond dressed in black gowns. There were 2 editors of
the Melbourne Law Review, a prefect, an heir to the Rothschild fortune, 3 runway models, 2
Olympic rowing champions, a part-time architect, the son of Frank Lowy, and a future Duke
amongst them. The IHers gaped.
Especially Mahesh. He could see her, the girl from Turf wearing a fur coat. He had a thing for fur
coats, growing up in the snowy alps and raising venison with his little sister, Chowdry. They would
use the fur to stay warm in the winter. “Where’d you get the coat?” he asked. “Oh this. It’s a Mynx.
Daddy bought it for me while he was Prime Minister. The taxpayers can be very generous.”
The dinner passed without qualms. A far away IH table would speculate what it’s like to live in the
great castle at the end of the strip. It seemed like it was straight out of Super Mario 64. “Why can’t
we be at Ormond?” they sighed collectively. “I’ve heard there’s a butler in every room and they get
24 hour room service.” “Yeah we heard they have Ipads for light switches.” “I heard they have Nobel Prize winning chefs making their meals.” At IH all we have is plain switches. We don’t even
have butlers. It’s the hard life.
It was now 7:30 and time for everyone to leave.
Mahesh wanted to ask out the Girl from Ormond. This would be his last chance. He was so
nervous. He did just before she left. She said she already had a date, with Jim. He’d asked her out
30 minutes before. They’d hooked up at Turf months earlier and Jim hadn’t told him. He felt
betrayed. It was the last time they’d speak. Poor Mahesh. Later that night he cried listening to
Adele and went to sleep clutching his economics textbook. He always held it close in times of great
The next morning the Ormond magazine would run a front page review of the Dinner Swap,
epinomiously titled. “IH. Adequate.”