Monday, February 21, 2011

Parents and friends

As I wrote in the previous post, hubby and I had been to my parents’ home in India during the New Year holidays. My elder brother and his family paid a surprise visit and we had lots of fun. They returned back to their home on 4th January. On the morning of 5th January, my parents, hubby, and I went to a photo studio near parents’ home to have a professional portrait of us taken together. Although hubby and I had been to India a couple of times we did not have any formal photo of us with my parents for keepsake. So this was the first time that we all went to a photo studio together. The professional photographer was good and the session went very well. The photo came out excellent and we were happy with the outcome.
Portrait photograph of hubby and I along with my parents

Next, we had lunch at a restaurant named Shree Krishna Vegetarian Court located near my parents’ home. The restaurant was very clean and they served unique delicious dishes. We had various kinds of vegetable curry dishes, pulav, and biryani. Later my mother and hubby had a dessert named gulab jamun. The quality of the food was great and it was a nice experience.
Shree Krishna Vegetarian Court restaurant

Shree Krishna Vegetarian Court restaurant

Various vegetarian dishes we ordered

My parents having lunch

Parents busy eating

Hubby having lunch

A portion of gulab jamun

Hubby having gulab jamun

In the afternoon, we all went to a famous shopping zone street named Laxmi Road to do shopping. We bought a few presents for our relatives and friends in Japan. We bought pretty dresses for the daughters of hubby’s sister. In addition, hubby presented me a gold ring from a famous jewelry shop named Ashtekar Brothers Jewellers. In fact, hubby wished to buy a platinum ring from Japan for our fifth marriage anniversary. But somehow I feel platinum does not suit my skin tone and I prefer gold jewelry over platinum. So during this trip to India hubby bought a gold band ring for me. It is so cute.
Cute dresses for daughters of hubby’s sister

Gold band ring that hubby presented to me

By the time we finished shopping and returned back home, it was already 7 pm. After a light dinner we all retired for the day.

Next day hubby and I had severe dust allergy due to the shopping at Laxmi Road area for several hours the previous day. My eyelids were swollen and we both had running nose. In the past decade, Pune has become tremendously dusty and the air is severely polluted due to the increased vehicles plying on the roads. Every time hubby visits India, he is shocked by the complete lack of quality control of fuel of vehicles. I hope things will improve in future. Since we were not well, we decided to take rest at home.

In the afternoon my mother presented hubby with an antique brass pot called kolshi. It has been in my mother’s family for almost seventy years and has great sentimental value attached to it. It has been a memorable treasured possession of my mother for several decades. Ma, thank you very much for giving us the precious kolshi. We will take good care of it.
My mother presenting kolshi pot to hubby

Hubby happy after getting kolshi pot

Later in the evening, one of my parents’ friends along with his entire family visited us. The elder daughter of parents’ friend had been my very good friend during my high school days. Although she was two years junior to me, we usually used to spend after school hours together, either playing or watching television programs or simply chatting. Later we went to the same college and university. Last I saw her was way back in 1992. So I was really thrilled to meet her after a gap of 19 years. I met her parents and younger sister after 22 years. We were all excited and talked about various things for a long time.
Myself, my friend, and her sister in 1986

My friend and I in 2011

My friend, myself, and friend’s sister in 2011

On 7th January, hubby and I got up at 5 am and packed our baggage as we were to leave Pune in the afternoon. We hired a taxi to go up to Mumbai. My parents accompanied us and it took about 4.5 hours to reach Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Mumbai. My parents stayed with hubby and me for about an hour at the waiting lounge of the airport. We ate potato-stuffed paratha that my mother had made and packed in aluminum foil as evening snack. We all felt very sad and emotional while saying our goodbyes. At about 6 pm they returned back to Pune by the same hired taxi.
My parents and I at Mumbai airport

Father and hubby at the airport

Hubby having potato-stuffed paratha

Our return flight to Japan was via Hong Kong, and we still had a few hours before the flight left. At about 9 pm, my friend from college and university days came to meet us at the airport. Thanks to Facebook social network service, we recently got in touch after a gap of 20 years! It was very nice to meet my friend and her husband. There was so much to talk about but unfortunately we could talk only for an hour as it was time for us to enter the departure terminal of the airport. After saying our goodbyes, hubby and I went to the Cathay Pacific check-in counters.
My friend and I along with several other classmates during Masters Degree course in 1989

My friend and I in 2011

My friend, myself, and friend’s husband

My friend’s husband and my hubby

After getting our boarding passes and checking in our baggage we went to a restaurant and had a light dinner. The flight left the airport at about 01.30 am on 8th January and it took about six hours to reach Hong Kong International Airport. We had a stopover of about five hours at Hong Kong. I moved around inside the airport but hubby just dozed off on a chair near the boarding gate of Cathay Pacific flight bound for Narita. Our flight left Hong Kong at about 15.20 pm (local time) and reached Narita International Airport at 20.30 pm. After finishing the immigration procedures, we went a hotel near the airport for an overnight stay. Next afternoon we took a domestic flight to Akita and reached our home at about 3 pm. That day the temperature in Akita was 35 degrees Celsius lower than Mumbai, and hubby and I felt so cold.
Hubby relaxing at the boarding area inside the airport at Hong Kong

Snow in Akita

It was really nice to meet my parents and friends in India. Now we are back to the usual routine in Akita.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My parents

As I wrote in the previous post, hubby and I had been to India during New Year holidays. We reached my parents’ home in Pune, India at about 2 pm on 1st January. It had been a long and tiring travel. But the tiredness was all gone on meeting my parents. Hubby and I were so happy to meet my parents. My family is a typical traditional Indian family. My mother is a homemaker and my father is a retired defense personnel. They are pretty conservative and simple. They instilled in me and my siblings the fact that education is an important asset. They are great pillars of strength in my life and are my biggest moral support. My parents, especially my mother, have the ability to stay calm under most difficult situations and always adopt a positive approach to life. My parents have always stood by me and have always supported me in my decisions. Thank you very much for everything and love you both Ma and Babu.
My parents

My mother loves cooking food and feeding people. So on reaching home, she served simple delicious Indian food to my hubby and me. Later she served several kinds of fruits like bananas, chiku, and apples to us. It was so cute to watch her feeding pieces of apples to my hubby. It was the first time that hubby tasted chiku fruit and he liked it very much.
My mother giving a piece of apple to my hubby

Hubby eating chiku

After lunch, we all relaxed and chatted for a few hours. In the evening, my elder brother and his family paid a surprise visit to my parents’ home. They stayed for a couple of days and it was fun chatting with everyone. We took a few of photos for the sake of memory.
My mother and I

My mother and hubby

My father and I

My father and hubby busy shaving

Hubby and I in Indian dress

My elder brother and hubby

A group photo of all the family members

Hubby and I were not expecting to meet my brother and his family during this trip to India. Therefore on seeing them, we were excited and chatted to our hearts’ content. But my mother got really busy as she had to cook food for seven people. So whenever possible, my bhabhi (brother’s wife) tried to help my mother to cook food. One of the days, hubby and I were chatting with my mother and bhabhi while they were busy cooking. Bhabhi was making roti (Indian bread) and hubby was amazed to see her make round roti which puffed up and turned into perfect sphere. Hubby did not know that roti is supposed to puff up as mine never does. Bhabhi taught me a few secrets of making puffed roti and hubby compiled a video of it.
My mother busy in the kitchen

A compiled video of puffing of roti

Most evenings we all went out for shopping and often returned home rather tired. Hubby usually visited a snack shop near our home and bought salted green chillies deep-fried in oil. He relished eating those chillies along with cold drinks. Hubby also ate two fruits guava and amla for the first time. He liked the taste of guava but was shocked by the extreme sourness of amla.
Hubby relishing deep-fried salted green chillies

Guava and amla fruits

Hubby eating a piece of guava

Every morning hubby used to look forward to the breakfast of Maggi noodles that my mother made especially for him. Maggi is a brand name of instant noodles that is very popular in India and the flavor is optimized for the Indian palate. My mother added various kinds of vegetables and a few spices and that made the noodles taste really delicious.
Colorful packet of Maggi noodles

My mother’s variation of Maggie noodles

Hubby happy with a bowl of noodles

Hubby slurping noodles

Another thing that my hubby looked forward to every morning was to see my mother offer prayers to various Hindu deities in the Puja (prayer) room. Although he did not understand much but was very much interested to see my mother perform various rituals while praying to the deities. He compiled a video of my mother praying to Hindu Gods.
Puja room

Hindu deities in Puja room

A compiled video of my mother praying to Hindu Gods

On most mornings, hubby accompanied my father to an old fashioned open air vegetable and fish market near our home. My parents prefer to buy vegetables every day as very fresh vegetables are available at this market. In fact, a new supermarket is also there near our home. But the vegetables at the supermarket cost almost double as compared to the open air market and are not that fresh. Since my hubby is very conscious of the price as well as the freshness of the vegetables, he preferred to go to the open air market. After returning home my father often helped in washing the vegetables and fishes, and mother got busy cooking. Once hubby helped in removing peas from peapods and ate almost half of the peas as they were very fresh and tasty! Every day we enjoyed eating various kinds of vegetable curry dishes, dal curries, fish curries, chicken curry, and many more dishes. Mother’s cooked food is simply delicious. We were so busy to eat food that we completely forgot to take photos of various dishes.
Various vegetables at a market place

Father helping in washing vegetables

Hubby removing peas from peapods

Mother and father in kitchen

Father having lunch

Mother having lunch

My elder brother and his family returned back to their home on the evening of 4th January. My parents, hubby, and I went to see them off at Pune Airport. While returning back home, we picked up a salwar-kameez dress from a tailor shop near our home. My bhabhi had presented me the piece of cloth for the dress. It was stitched so perfectly. Hubby took a photo of me in the Indian dress.
I am wearing salwar-kameez dress

We stayed two more days in Pune about which I will write in the next post.