As I wrote in the previous post, hubby and I had been to India during New Year holidays. On 1st January 2014, we reached Pune City where my parents live. We felt very nice to meet them after three years. On the morning of 2nd January, hubby had breakfast of Maggi noodles that my mother made especially for him. In fact, every morning hubby used to look forward to the breakfast of Maggi noodles, which is a brand name of instant noodles that is very popular in India with the flavor optimized for the Indian palate. My mother added various kinds of vegetables and a few spices and that made the noodles taste really delicious. After breakfast, we took a few photos with my mother in the kitchen. She is very proud of her kitchen and loves it.
My mother preparing breakfast of Maggie noodles
Mother’s variation of Maggie noodles and omelet
Hubby slurping noodles
My mother and I in her kitchen
Mother and hubby
Afterwards, hubby read some news about Japan on internet. However, he got bored of it after about an hour or so. After some time, he realized that my mother had started preparing lunch. So hubby was back to the kitchen to help her. My mother loves cooking food and feeding people. Hubby loves her way of making fish-fry very much, and so she taught him how to make them using Indian spices. He had a piece of fish-fry immediately as he could not wait until lunch time to have them. The lunch was ready in about an hour. My mother cooked various dishes like vegetable curry, Dal curry, fish-fry, fish curry, salad, Roti, and rice. Soon it was time for lunch and mother was very happy to serve her son-in-law. All the dishes were delicious, and hubby enjoyed the lunch very much. He ate almost all the pieces of fish that my mother had cooked for the four of us. Mother was so satisfied and enjoyed seeing hubby eat with relish. Later my father, mother, and I had lunch. Hubby hovered around the table hoping that one of us would give him a few pieces of fish.
Hubby reading some news about Japan on the internet
Hubby helping mother in the kitchen
Mother showing hubby how to make fish-fry
Hubby having fish-fry
Hubby having lunch
Mother is so happy seeing hubby eating with relish
My father and mother are amused to see hubby eat almost all the pieces of fish
My parents having lunch and hubby is looking at something inside the cabinet
After lunch, we relaxed and chatted for a few hours. In the evening, we all went to a shopping mall named Phoenix Market City. The mall is located just 10 minutes walking distance from our home. The area around my parents’ home has dramatically changed in the last decade or so. In fact, hubby and I were shocked to see such a huge shopping mall near my parents’ home. This mall was not there the last time we visited India in January 2011. The mall is really huge and it has many shops, restaurants, movie theaters, and many other types of entertainment. Although the mall is very near to my parents’ home, somehow they had never visited the mall until that day. Since it was Christmas-New Year period, there was a lot of lighting and illumination outside as well as inside the mall. We entered the mall from a side entrance and then enjoyed viewing the marvelous illumination inside the mall. That day my parents encountered an escalator for the first time in their life. While my father was a bit scared of getting on and off the escalator, my mother is a natural. It seemed as if she has been riding escalator for a long time. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I was reminded of my first few months in Japan when I had a tough time learning to ride an escalator. Afterwards, my parents bought clothes for hubby and me. We bought a pair of walking shoes for my mother. My father refused to buy anything as he felt that the prices were ridiculously high. Well, for that matter, even hubby and I felt that almost everything was more expensive than Japan. We exited the mall from the front side. The front side is really gorgeous and brightly illuminated. It was nice to visit the mall. My parents enjoyed it very much. While I love the fact that Pune City is developing at a very rapid pace, sometimes I crave and wish for the quite old relaxed Pune. Later we had dinner at a restaurant named Shree Krishna located very near to my parents’ home. After dinner, while walking back home, we saw a tiny cute shop that sells bread, eggs, tobacco, snacks, and other everyday necessities. This shop exists for the past 30 years and has been recently renovated. Many a times I have bought eggs from this shop during my college days. After returning home, my parents and I talked for about an hour while hubby slept immediately.
I wore an Indian dress to go to Phoenix Market City mall
My mother and I are walking near the side entrance of the mall
My mother and I are standing in front of the side entrance of the mall
My parents and I are standing in front of a huge Christmas tree decoration inside the mall
My mother appreciating the brightly illuminated tree
My father and the tree
A portion of the tree and I
My parents and I are walking and enjoying the display of goods inside various shops in the mall
My parents and I are standing in front of the escalator
Front view of the mall
My parents and I are standing near the front entrance area
My parents are standing near the Christmas tree decorations located outside the front entrance
Hubby, parents, and the illuminated trees
Side view of the mall as seen while walking back towards home
My parents having dinner at Shree Krishna restaurant
A tiny cute shop near my parents’ home
Hubby tired and fast asleep at home
On 3rd January, my mother made Maggie noodles with a lot of soup for breakfast. The noodles smelled so good that hubby could not wait for the breakfast to be served in a proper bowl and ate straight out of the container where she kept it. It felt nice to see that my father still maintains the habit of reading newspaper every morning.
Mother making breakfast
Hubby having noodles straight out of the container where my mother kept it
Father reading a newspaper
After breakfast, hubby and I visited the school where I did my high-school studies for two years. The name of the school is Kendriya Vidyalaya Lohegaon, and is located just six kilometers north of my parents’ home but somehow I never visited it in the past 3 decades. In the month of November 2013, a friend on Facebook had told me that two of my school-classmates are teaching in the primary section of the same school. So I visited the school to meet my classmates. They had no idea that I was going to meet them in the school, and so they were initially stunned to see me. It was really exciting and nice to meet them after three decades. The school and the surrounding area look almost the same as three decades ago.
Front entrance area of the school where I did my high-school studies
I am standing with my school-classmates
In the afternoon, we visited the home of a very close friend of mine with whom I studied for two years during post-graduation studies. We kept in touch for a few years after completing our studies, but had lost touch for the past 21 years. It felt good to meet her and her family. I was pleasantly surprised to meet her grown-up kids. I remember meeting her new-born daughter all those years ago. How time flies! We all chatted for a while and then had lunch. There was so much to talk about the past two decades but I feel that we hardly talked as hubby and I were busy eating. We absolutely loved the simple and delicious South-Indian style vegetarian meal. Later we took a few photos with all people present. It was a fun photo-session. While leaving, my friend and I did a ceremony called ‘Haldi-Kumkum’. I was very embarrassed as I had absolutely no idea what to do but my friend realized my plight and helped me out. I hope to meet my friend more often in future.
My friend busy cooking
My friend and her daughter
My friend’s husband and son having lunch
Hubby having lunch
Friend’s son having dessert
My friend and I
Yet another group photo
A tray with Haldi-Kumkum, fruits, and a few gifts
In the evening, hubby and I visited the home of another close friend of mine. Our parents are family friends for more than 30 years now. My friend is like a sister to me. Although hubby and I had met my friend and her son three year ago, it was the first time for us to meet her husband. My hubby instantly liked his way of dealing and mingling with people and both of them went outside to see the surroundings and do some shopping for some time. I chatted with my friend for an hour or so. Later in the evening, my friend’s parents and younger sister also visited my friend. It was so much fun reminiscing the good old days. My friend’s younger sister reminded us of a few extremely funny incidences which made me realize that how naughty we all were in our childhood. Soon it was time for dinner. My friend cooked delicious chicken curry, fish curry, fish-fry, vegetable curry, Dal curry, salad, rice, Puri, and dessert. Although hubby ate with a spoon, seeing my way of eating with hands, he truly understood the meaning of finger-licking food experience. It was really nice to be with my friend, her family, and relatives for about six hours.
My friend, I, and hubby
My friend and I
By the time we returned to my parents’ home it was almost 11.45 pm. We were pleasantly surprised to meet my older brother at home. During those days, my older brother was also visiting Pune City with his family and his wife’s relatives. They were staying at the other end of Pune City. So it was really nice of my older brother to come and visit my parents and us in spite of his very busy schedule. In fact, he would do sightseeing with his family and others the entire day and return (by himself) to stay at my parents’ home for the night. It was very thoughtful of him.
Hubby and my older brother
My parents are very happy to meet their older son
On 4th January, we had breakfast a bit early. Since hubby likes Maggie noodles very much, my mother again made noodles for him though the spices used were different. It was too funny to see that hubby had arranged his noodles in a Kadai pot and was happily eating it along with an omelet.
Hubby having breakfast of noodles served in Kadai pot
As I have written earlier in this post, on 2nd January my father had refused to let us buy anything for him at Phoenix Market City mall as he felt that the prices of almost everything were ridiculously high. So on the morning of 4th January, hubby and I again visited the mall and bought a few pairs of shirts and pants for my father. I was a bit worried about the size of the clothes but hubby was very confident. Later he told me that before going to the mall he had noted my father’s clothes size at home. Afterwards, we had some snacks as lunch at McDonald’s fast food restaurant chain located inside the mall. And yes, we felt the prices of the food items and drinks we had to be very high. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the experience of going to a fast food restaurant in Pune.
Inside Phoenix Market City mall
McDonald’s fast food restaurant
Subway fast food restaurant
The portions served were too large, so we had too much food and felt a bit tired
In the afternoon, hubby and I visited a garden named ‘Pune Okayama Friendship Garden’ located on Sinhagad Road in Pune. I will write a post about our visit to the garden sometime later. We returned home at about 7 pm and had dinner with my parents. My older brother returned home at 9 pm. We all chatted for some time and then retired for the night.
My parents having dinner
My older brother and hubby posing for photo while chatting
My brother, hubby, and father
Brother and I
On 5th January, after breakfast hubby and I packed our baggage as we were to leave Pune in the afternoon. We had lunch at about 1 pm and took rest for a while. My mother gave us potato-stuffed Paratha packed in aluminum foil as evening snack. We all felt very sad and emotional while saying our goodbyes. At about 3.30 pm, hubby and I left Pune. We hired a taxi to go up to Mumbai and it took about 4.5 hours to reach Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. Our return flight to Japan was via Hong Kong, and we still had a few hours before the flight left. So we went to the waiting lounge of the airport and rested for about 3 hours. At about 11.45 pm, we got our boarding passes and checked in our baggage. The flight left the airport at about 1.45 am on 6th January and it took about six hours to reach Hong Kong International Airport. This fight was delayed by 30 minutes or so, and we literally ran through all the immigration procedures at Hong Kong to board our connecting flight to Narita. We reached Narita International Airport at about 4 pm on 6th January, and then took a domestic flight to Akita and reached our home at about 11.45 pm. That day, the temperature in Akita was -7 degrees Celsius and was snowing heavily. We felt so cold but remembering our wonderful and memorable trip to India made us feel warmer.
Hubby waiting at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai
We reached Akita Airport. Akita prefecture’s mascot character named Sugichi as well as Namahage demon-like masks are put up at the airport.
Our snow-covered car in the parking lot of the airport