• Radhika Rai


We met at a party.

The lights were low. A circle of us were playing strip poker in the living room, sprawled out on low couches and stools.

I slowly looked down at my cards.

I was the only one still to lose any of my clothing and I desperately wanted to show off my matching underwear. I looked down again, lifted one corner of my mouth up a millimeter, and went all in.

Someone tapped my shoulder from behind and handed me a Margarita Atwood.

I closed my eyes as I took a slow sip and waited for everyone else to reveal their cards, savouring the tartness of the lime.

By the time I’d opened my eyes, I had lost.

I feigned disappointment while grinning in delight internally. I locked eyes with the gorgeous topless man in front of me as I peeled off my red bodycon dress, inching the fabric over my stomach to reveal my matching red underwear-

Okay, okay -

So that’s not exactly how it happened, did you honestly believe I was wearing matching underwear?

I had come straight from an all-nighter turned into an all-dayer in the library. My rucksack was the most stylish part of my outfit.

But exhaustion and bad decisions go together better than mint choc chip so here I was, at a party with people I barely knew, because my friend Simmi threatened me, and I was terrified of missing out on a single minute of my nine grand a year uni experience.

So it was less of a sophisticated soiree or an American style frat party with red solo cups and beer pong, and more of a surrealist British tea party viewed through VR.

The poker game was actually Exploding Kittens.

We were playing on the slightly sticky kitchen table under fluorescent lighting so bright I didn’t think I’d be able to sleep for days. Everybody had all their clothes on, some people were still wearing their coats.

And as lovely as my fellow players were, I did not lock eyes with anyone across the table. The biggest interaction I had was when someone offered me half their packet of Pom-bears.

After the game ended, I wandered into the living room to find somewhere quieter to rest my head, but a clarinet and viola duo were freestyling over some dubstep on the sofa and a handful of high Arts students were drinking tea and translating Spanish poetry in the corner.

I returned to the kitchen to find five people doing the washing up.

I know it’s not realistic for students to willingly do the washing up at a party, but I’m not making it up, I promise. I was handed an avocado by a stranger and was asked how many minutes I thought it would be before it was ripe.

Forget literary themed cocktails, the drink of choice was a mango and avocado smoothie because that was all that was l