Indian living, Religion and Humor in Diksha Basu’s The Windfall
An authentic picture of Indian Living in Diksha Basu’s The Windfall
Diksha Basu’s The Windfall is a delightful story about the Jha family who suddenly come into money and have to adjust in middle age to a new life of luxury. Mr Jha is carried away, eager to please and fit in with his new neighbors and social standing. His wife, however, is nervous and even sad about the change and their new lifestyle. Their son Rupak while flailing in Business school is secretly dating an American girl and surreptitiously nursing filmmaking dreams. Life’s changes prove to be both overwhelming and unifying for the Jhas.
A snapshot of middle class India
The Jhas are initially comfortably nestled in India’s middle class. This class, according to Rupak, is confusing to explain to foreigners, as it is neither exotic nor familiar enough. Basu’s novel has many of such insightful observations sprinkled throughout. The Windfall made me want to visit India. Not the resorts or the poverty stricken areas which often saturate the media but the “real India” where the majority of the population reside.The Windfall made me want to visit India. Not the resorts or the poverty stricken areas which often saturate the media but the real India where the majority of the population reside. Click To Tweet
Even more interesting and comical is Diksha Basu’s portrayal of the upper class, the filthy rich in India. The Jhas’ new neighbors, The Chopras are a prime example. They take pride in their son being unemployed as it proves that they are wealthy enough to fully support him financially. In addition, the father, Dinesh Chopra is constantly in fear of losing the wealth that he has already accumulated. This is a fear many fail to realize, plagues the rich.
The transactional nature of religion
Mrs Jha notes in a thought-provoking (and hilarious) visit to the temple that religion sometimes is made to feel like a transaction. Diksha Basu’s The Windfall muses often on the commercialization and idiosyncrasies of religion. Some of which include the rich hiring live-in priests to priests stealing donations from the temple.
Amidst the drama of moving up the social ladder, the Jha’s also must confront their son’s struggle for an identity of his own. Triggered in part by his parents’ change in social status, Rupak, has to figure out who he is and what he wants for his life. Although his character is annoyingly immature at times, I could easily sympathize with the difficulty of figuring life out at his age.
The Windfall reads like a true to life funny Indian movie without making terrible caricatures of the characters. Click To Tweet
What I liked
Diksha Basu’s The Windfall is an easy read which will transport you to India, complete with sights, smells and sounds. The writing in this book is simple but insightful, descriptive and often laugh-out-loud-funny! I enjoyed the multiple subplots which kept the story interesting and the pages flipping. The Windfall reads like a true to life funny Indian movie without making terrible caricatures of the characters. My only critique would be that sometimes Mr Jha is unbelievably gullible and almost without a mind of his own.Diksha Basu's The Windfall is delightful, immersive and refreshingly authentic. Click To Tweet
Nonetheless, Diksha Basu manages to craft a multilayered novel dissecting life in India, the transactional nature of religion and the struggle to find oneself. The Windfall in the end is simply delightful, immersive and refreshingly authentic.
My Rating: 4/5 stars