After a short sabbatical, I am back to blogging. And what more can I ask for than a lovely book review?
I was greeted by an army in White: almost 400 men draped in white robes and with shaven heads; some had beads in their hands, mouthing silent prayers, parading on the deck like holy warriors awaiting god or his nemesis. They were pilgrims on their way to Hajj. I looked at them, stunned into a momentary silence. The visual was dramatic and surreal, like egg-white stalagmites against an endless blue sky on a bobbing ocean. They, in return, observed me with subtle confusion. A cowboy hat, boots, a guitar and hair like a woman’s. What kind of apparition was this? The devil incarnate? I felt as welcome as swine flu.
I walked nervously through the multitude as they peacefully parted to eceive this newcomer, and made my way to the sleeping quarters below deck. I thought it best to pick out my cabin and unpack my meagre belongings and set my territory; hang up my guitar and hat on a hook, close the door behind me, kick off my boots and relax. I walked down the stairs and came across a miniature stadium of row upon row of wooden slatted slabs. Most of them had bedrolls unfurled over them. I looked around. There were no cabins in sight. It dawned on me these were my sleeping quarters. It was another jaw-dropping moment. ‘Okay,’ I thought, ‘I can handle this. But first, the bathrooms.’ I must tell you I have a thing about bathrooms. Call it a fetish, but they must be pristine, clean and modern. So I strolled towards the toilet zone and peeked through the swing doors. There were six Indian-style squat-on-your-haunches-type toilets. I shuddered at the sight of these unseemly hole-in-the-ground jobs. I noticed six sinks for washing and shaving. Four hundred of us were to share these facilities. My heart sank into my ankles. I would fight them in the trenches, I would fight them on the shore, but I could not fight them in the rush to an Indian-style kazi. I sat on a wooden slab for a while, thinking up Plan B. Suddenly I felt a jolt as the boat came to life. I could hear the drone of an engine and the ungainly movement as the vessel lurched forward clumsily and we were on our way. This I could not miss. So I scrambled back up, onto the deck and looked at the city I was leaving behind. It was nearing sunset and against a blood-red sky, the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Hotel steadily decreased in size as our boat cut through the frothy dark-emerald waters of the open sea. I stood there clutching my rucksack, that little suitcase full of dreams, till the shoreline disappeared.
Stri’s Take On The Story:
The reason I don’t read much of auto-biographies and the likes is because after a point in the story either the person self-victimizes or becomes narcissistic. I don’t state about all auto-bios, but some are really like that. However, this book completely shattered such prejudices that were formed in my mind due to other books.
This is exactly what people would want to read. The author neither preaches nor blames. He talks in a breezy narration. He shares the story with you like how you talk to your best friend about it. That’s what makes the book a worthy one.
Made in India by Biddu
As a child, Biddu dreamt of going west and making it big as a composer. At the age of sixteen, he formed a band and started playing in a cafe in Bangalore, his home town, At eighteen, he was part of a popular act at Trinca’s, a nightclub in Calcutta devoted to food, wine and music, At nineteen, he had college students in Bombay dancing to his
In his early twenties, he left the country and ended up hitchhiking across the Middle East before arriving in London with only the clothes on his back and his trusty guitar. What followed were years of hardship and struggle but also great music and gathering fame. From the nine million selling “Kung Fu Fighting” to the iconic youth anthem of “Made in India” and the numerous hits in between. Biddu’s music made him a household name in India and elsewhere.
In this first public account of all that came his way: the people, the events, the music tours and companies Biddu writes with a gripping sense of humor about his remarkable
journey with its fairy tale ending. Charming, witty, and entirely likable, Biddu is a man you are going to enjoy getting to know.
About the Author
Biddu was born in India, where he started his career playing in a pop band whose
influences lay in the classic repertoire of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Following his early success, he decided to hear West and move into the international music arena. He struck gold, signing the unknown Carl Douglas and producing “Kung Fu Fighting?” which went on to become a hit all over the world. He also wrote and produced hits for Tina Charles and soul legend Jimmy James.
Around this time, Biddu became involved in Indian music: he composed the cult “Aap Jaise Koi” for the film Qurbani which set a new landmark for sales in India He followed this up with a pop album, Disco Deewane, with Nazia Hassan, which became the largest selling pop album in Asian history, and was the first Indian album to hit the charts in fourteen countries. In 1995, Biddu wrote and produced the three-million-selling album Made in India with the singer Alisha Chinai. To date, Biddu has sold over thirty- eight million records worldwide.
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