Before we knew it we were half way into the program, and it was time to have our mid-phase review – the purpose of which is exactly what it sounds like. Due to some unfortunate circumstances out of our control, the plan to have it at Bodhgaon, Bodh’s rural campus, fell through, so we ended up having it at a guest house a 20 minute auto ride away from the flat – a very nice place with a very nice (and, we were assured, non-rabid) dog. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing (we had to go back to get our passports, which we inexplicably needed to sign in as guests), everyone was all together and we began what was to be a very fun few days.

Rob beginning his love affair with Indian drums

Apart from the actual purpose of the review, which was obviously to assess how we were getting on and the like, we had a great couple of days chatting and chilling and making excessive use of the swinging chair in the back garden. As a group treat we got to go to Chokhi Dhani, which was basically a recreation of a traditional Rajasthani village – with puppet shows and dancing (I surprisingly did not participate) and mehndi and delicious, delicious daal bati churma (again spouting Hindi words but this time I can’t even describe this incredible dish, you had to be there, man).

After it was all over and we were all thoroughly enlightened as to how we could and should improve things etc etc (and also thoroughly terrified at the prospect of having to do two Community Action Days, something I’ll come back to), everyone was invited back to the apartment – we had kindly agreed to let the boys stay over and experience the Jaipuri lifestyle (read: drink beer and play poker. And no that is not the Jaipuri lifestyle). During the day we took them out to the markets where once again we did the haggling dance (even more enjoyable in a larger group), and also went on a somewhat fruitless search for a drum for Rob, before making our first foray into the world of sketchy looking Indian alcohol shops (buying alcohol in India feels far more illegitimate than buying it anywhere else I’ve ever been).

We spent the evening playing cards (for skittles, not money – courtesy of Sabah and her enormous stash of junk food sent by her wonderful mother) and sipping ice cold (not) beer, and ended up staying up until the early hours, which had become our custom over the previous few days. The boys were due to get a bus back to Delhi in the afternoon (thankfully not the morning; Rob was feeling decidedly worse for wear) and after much lounging around and a slap-up breakfast of Indian-style scrambled eggs (essentially scrambled eggs with chilli in them), we waved them off, the end to a great weekend.