Book Review : What Might Have Been

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might have beenAs a fashion buyer at one of New York’s most glamorous department stores, Dana McGarry is a tastemaker, her keen instinct for fashion trends and innovative ideas coupled with a razor sharp business sense. But like the elegant and conservative store that employs her, Dana is caught between two eras—between being liked and standing her ground, between playing by the rules and being a maverick. Dana is sensitive and beautiful, but what you see is not what you get. Behind the cool and attractive facade, Dana is both driven by her need to control yet impeded by her expectation of perfectionism. As she competes to replace women at the top of their game, she is challenged by jealous colleagues. And when a wealthy love interest wants to open doors and support her ambition, she embraces Coco Chanel’s mantra of “never wanting to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” As the women’s movement paves the way, Dana finds a path to the career she wants at the expense of happiness that was not meant to be.

Steward captures the nuances of 70s life in New York City and provides the perfect backdrop for an independent woman determined to make her mark. What Might Have Been is a story that transcends any period.

Review: 

While I have read books covering various industries like hotels, automobiles, hospitals, and even films – fashion is certainly a first for me. A novel that is set in the fabric and fashion world of New York City and in one of my favourite decades – the ’70s – there wasn’t any reason I would turn down this one! And might I add that Lynn Steward has a pretty impressive way of writing her Dana McGarry series. Gorging on What Might Have Been for the last two days, I’m quite tempted to go back and read the #1 in Dana McGarry series – A Very Good Life.

New York City is the epitome of fashion with names that we revere all around the world. I have been to the Fifth Avenue and Manhattan’s high end stores and it has left me awestruck with the amount of hard work that goes behind all the glitz and glamour. With the help of cutting edge technology, using fabrics and designing them has become easier in this millennium. But how did it all work in the 1970’s? How did women working in fashion make their way through an outright competitive industry? Dana McGarry and her journey gives an insight into that era and I think it has been captured beautifully by Lynn Steward who has worked as a buyer.

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Book Review : Made in India

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Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

He was the boy with gold in his hair.

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 music. In his early twenties, he left the country and ended up hitchhiking across the middle Fast 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 King Fun 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 very 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.

Review:

Made in India and Biddu are synonymous with my teens. The name still invokes a lot of nostalgia when we used to go ga-ga over Alisha Chinai’s stylish version of ‘Made in India’. It was sensual, melodious and a revolution at that time with Milind Soman in the video. That’s when I first heard of Biddu and loved his music subsequently in numerous tracks.

Since music is interesting, the autobiography of a musician must be too. That was my idea when this book came for review and Biddu didn’t disappoint his readers. The story begins where it should, from his childhood in 1940s and ’50s. What struck me the most is humour, at times it veers to satire on various subjects. India, right after independence still allures me and I wanted to read an account from someone who’s lived in a different part of the country (having heard stories from my father who lived in Calcutta during that era). There was unemployment,  a new Government ruling the country, lot of British people still serving and living in India, and Bangalore was a serene, cute little city.

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