Book Title: The Windfall
Author: Diksha Basu
Format: Paper Back
Total Number of Pages: 294 pages
“ The windfall ” by Diksha Basu is not a slice of life but a scoop of life garnished with crunch of sarcasm . One of the finest social satire about Indian families I have read. The underlying humor found all along the book is not loud but it hits the right notes.
Anil Kumar Jha has worked hard and is ready to live well. After thirty years in a modest flat, he and his family are moving to Gurgaon, one of Delhi’s richest areas. But his wife, Bindu, is heartbroken about leaving their neighbours, and doesn’t want to wear designer saris or understand interior decoration. Meanwhile their son, Rupak, is failing business school in the US – and secretly dating an American girl. Once installed in their mansion, the Jhas are soon drawn into a feverish game of one-upmanship with their new neighbours, the Chopras, as each couple seeks to outdo the other with increasingly lavish displays of wealth. As an imitation Sistene Chapel is pitted against a crystal-encrusted sofa, Bindu wonders where it will all end.
The book is a breezy read and the plot is mostly event driven which just tumbles one after the other smoothly . The story is simple without much surprises but engaging . Overall the book is a humorous take on an Indian middle class family who acquires sudden wealth and how they get entangled in an up-manship game with their neighbours in the light of the newly acquired wealth. Author takes a dig at various aspects of “society politics” as the Jha Family tries to fit into the elite prototype . The inquisitive parents and the intrusive neighbour anecdotes are so relatable that it brings a smile at many situations in book.
The well fleshed characters were the highlight of the story. The initially insecure but later self-assuring Mrs.Ray and the confused teenager Rupak were raw and realistic . Mr Jha and Mr Chopra were slightly caricaturish, maybe because the genre and plot demanded it.
The language and fluidity in writing set the perfect tone. The insights which author gives through various incidents is worth the time and gives a chance for introspection . There is nothing much drastic happening over the pages but the narration and satire keeps the reader hooked till the end.
If you are looking for light read with humour and some food for thought this book is a perfect pick . Go for it !
Diksha Basu is a writer and actor. Originally from New Delhi, India, she holds a BA in Economics from Cornell University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in New York Times, Cosmopolitan ,BuzFeed and BBC.