is mostly likely ME. I need to finish this post and get the sad one off the top of the page, because despite the ensuing sorrow on my return home I really feel very blessed indeed and strengthened by my recent trip to India. I spent three glorious weeks there with my beloved Friend Greg: two weeks in Mumbai and one week in Shimla (joined by my friends Carla—Filmigeek—and her husband at the very beginning and end of the trip in Mumbai). We even managed to fit in Diwali celebrations in both places!
I know I promised a post on my recent trip to India, but I have not managed to finish it yet because of very sad events in the weeks since I came home. My beautiful little dog Callie was sick when I returned, not eating and having trouble breathing, so I have been quite worried about her. Last Wednesday her breathing was so difficult and she seemed so frail that I took her in to the emergency room at my local animal hospital. They admitted her to the Critical Care Unit where she was put into an oxygen tent while they tried to figure out what was going on. On Saturday, after no real change and being told by the very good ER vet that there was nothing else to try, and seeing that she was in quite a bit of distress, I made the decision to help her go into whatever is next for us all.
I know that a lot of you here know how painful it is to lose a pet…and really pet seems like such an inadequate word, too, especially when it comes to Callie. We rescued each other in April of 2011 after my father and my first dog Gemma passed away within two months of each other. Callie had grown up in a commercial dog breeding enterprise, known here as a puppy mill; they are truly some of the worst examples of humans ill-treating our fellow creatures anywhere on earth. She had never known love, had been confined her whole life in a tiny cage barely larger than she, had had no medical care despite being forced to breed at every opportunity, providing cute puppies to be sold in pet stores. When she could not give birth any more, she was lucky enough to be rescued by a woman who coaxed her slowly into a new life and eventually sent her to me.
She quickly settled in and became attached to me (I fell in love with her instantly). Her big brown eyes followed me wherever I went, and if I disappeared from view she’d get up and come find me. She started to become anxious when I would leave the house without her, so in July I got her a companion who also instantly fell in love with her (Gilda has always and forever considered Callie her primary “Mom”). I think Callie was less sure she wanted to share space with Gilda at first, but Gilda persisted in her adoration and Callie in her infinite sweetness of spirit accepted her (and most importantly, stopped being anxious when I left the house without her). Gilda for her part gracefully accepted that Callie was always going to be the one in my lap when there was not room for two.
(Photos taken by my friend and photographer extraordinaire BD Colen)
We three bumbled along happily until February of 2012, when I was awakened one morning by Gilda and realized that Callie was having a seizure. My poor gentle girl was about to face another huge hurdle to cross: Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis (GME). It is a devastating auto-immune disease which takes the life of most dogs within months, but I am lucky enough to live near Angell Memorial, one of the (if not THE) best animal hospitals in the world. She was treated by a neurologist who specializes in GME, and for a year and a half endured chemotherapy treatments (I had to learn how to give her injections) and large doses of prednisone, a steroid, which caused a lot of her fur to fall out and made her very weak indeed. She soldiered through it like a champ, though, and as of December last year was in remission, although decidedly more fragile. By this summer she seemed much brighter and happier than she had since her diagnosis, and when I left in October for India I felt as good about her health as was possible given her history and the toll it had taken on her.
I left all three dogs (had added Bandit to the family in May) in the capable and loving hands of a friend who came here to stay with them and take care of the house too. A couple of nights before I came home, Callie threw up her dinner and stopped eating, except for small amounts fed by hand. When I returned, her breathing was shallow and rapid and I couldn’t coax her to eat much either, which brings us to last Wednesday and three difficult days later, to Saturday. The vets are not sure what was wrong, but think she developed blood clots which went into her lungs, and nothing they tried eased her distress.
She endured so much trauma and pain in her ten years here on earth. I didn’t want her to hang on for my sake, which I knew she was capable of doing despite her own suffering. Dogs are amazing that way. She passed away peacefully in my lap, where she loved to be most, and I think she was reassured that her journey would be a good one, to a better place. But making the choice to let go and being left behind is one of the hardest things we ever have to endure. Her small, frail little body and enormous courage and sweetness of spirit have left a huge hole where they had burrowed in. I know I will be okay: I have my Bandit and Gilda to care for and to care for me, plus a wealth of friends and family helping to prop me up. I hope to be able to share details of my India trip soon, but this is all I can manage for now.
Sleep in peace, sweet Callie girl, and gain your strength for what is next. I hope that it includes me, in some form. I love you so.
I am working on a post about my recent wonderful trip to India, but before I that am thrilled to report that Tom and his cohorts in Edu Productions have been very busy! We have added four new films to the list for downloading or watching on YouTube (if you can, I encourage you to download them, the quality is so much better!): Rattan (1944) starring Karan Dewan, the lighthearted Azaad (1955) starring Meena Kumari and Dilip Kumar; and two more Pakistani films, 1957′s Nooran starring Noor Jehan and Lakhon Mein Ek (1967) starring Shamim Ara.
All these films have good English subtitles and the video quality is the best that you will find out there. This also brings the number of Edu Productions releases to a grand total of 25 films so far—a jubilee well worth celebrating! Enjoy and as always please let those involved know how much their efforts are appreciated. It takes a lot of work to put these dvds together and is a labor of love only for all involved.
Thank you Tom, Pacifist, and Muz!
Two more updates on the Edu Productions page: another Pakistani Noor Jehan film called Neend (1959) and a Hindi film called Milan Ki Raat (1967) starring Sanjay Khan and Sharmila Tagore. There are links to download the dvd version of each, or if you prefer, also to watch them on YouTube. Many many thanks due again to Tom, Muz and Pacifist for their hard work and devotion! Here is a Helen song from Milan Ki Raat which I love:
As for me—I’m not dead, I’m resting! A number of people have been emailing or messaging me out of concern for my well-being and asking about my prolonged absence from here, which warms the cockles of my black, sticky heart of tar. I don’t plan to stop blogging, but I am equally unsure when the desire to take it up again will strike. Since I left off my regular posting I have gained a third dog named Bandit, lost 30 pounds! (13.5 kg) that I didn’t need to be carrying around, improved my knitting skills, seen old friends at a college reunion, and planned my next trip to India (hooray!!!!).
Family and job have kept me busy too, and I have just not had the time or energy to watch many films and then write them up, although I recently watched the epic Rajput (1982) with my bahen Suhan and had a lot to say about it. So you never know.
In the meantime, enjoy these two new additions to the Edu Productions catalog and let the team feel the love!
A 1955 Pakistani Noor Jehan film called Patay Khan is now available for download from the Edu Productions page. Tom tells me that it’s a good ensemble film, with comedian Zarif as a real standout. Hopefully I can watch it soon and chime in with my opinion. In the meantime, enjoy—and you can find the songs from the film on Tom’s YouTube channel.
Many many thanks as always to all of Tom’s meticulous work putting this into the best DVD form possible and to Muz for supplying the video.
They have just made available two more Noor Jehan films, one a Pakistani film from 1959 called Koel; and 1947′s Mirza Sahiban starring Noor Jehan and Trilok Kapoor (fun to see him in a hero role, na?). Karan Bali over at Upperstall has reviewed Koel (link is included in listing) and although he feels it is a less than stellar movie the songs are worth the price (which by the way is FREE). Pacifist’s opinion of Mirza Sahiban is that it’s a much better film than the later Shammi Kapoor outing by the same name, which is actually not that hard but makes me look forward to seeing it.
Download them from the links on the Edu Productions page, enjoy, and give props to the team for their hard work and generosity!
Some of you have been agitating (ever so gently, though, and I don’t mind) about my silence over here. Luckily Tom and his army of subtitlers which now includes our much-loved regular Pacifist have not been nearly as lazy.
I am pleased to announce that there are updates to the Edu Productions page with
two four new movies available for download, with subtitles. They are two early Pakistani Noor Jehan films (1952′s Dupatta and 1958′s Choo Mantar). I have included a link to Richard’s review of Dupatta over at his blog, Dances On The Footpaths so check that out too. And Tom has put the songs and dances on his YouTube channel as always.
I have just added 1943′s Kismet and a rare one called Karigar (1958) starring Ashok Kumar and Lalita Pawar. Tom has done his usual stellar job on the sometimes problematic video quality and these are very hard to find films, especially with subtitles. Many many thanks to Pacifist for joining the team and doing such a great job subtitling! The quality of her work is outstanding, and it is not an easy thing to do to capture the nuances of disparate languages elegantly.
As for me, I have spent the winter focusing on another long-time hobby which conflicts with my movie-watching one: knitting. I am not a good enough knitter to read subtitles at the same time as I knit (although I have always been very pleased by how much knitting goes on in Hindi movies!). If you are interested, you can see some of my recent projects (with Gilda’s “help”) here, here, here, here, and here. If you aren’t, I don’t blame you and I hope to be back discussing fillums here very soon when the flowers start coming out again and it’s too warm to be sitting under a cloud of wool yarn!
My friend and film encyclopedia Arunkumar Deshmukh contacted me a few days ago with the news that he had met family members of “yesteryears” actor and singer Parshuram. He was offering to write a guest post about this largely forgotten but long-time contributor to Indian cinema, who began his career in 1937, in V. Shantaram’s Duniya Na Maane (and Kunku, the Marathi version) and worked steadily for three more decades plus.
Naturally I jumped at this generosity! A big thank you to the family of Parshuram, and of course to Arunji.
I have always felt that bears have the right idea for winter and apparently this year I am joining them. I’ve been watching movies, but the writing part of my brain is AWOL. Hopefully I will be inspired by something soon, but until then I have a favor to ask all of you.
Do you have two or three favorite posts here? I am thinking of compiling the most popular ones to create a book but don’t feel I am the best judge of what the “most popular” are (not being objective in any way, shape, or form). If you do have some definite favorites please leave them in the comments—I will sort through them all and make a list with those that get the most votes!
And let me know what you think of the idea too (please be polite, but honest!). You can select more than one answer, too, but try not to contradict yourself.