Book Review: The Windfall

Mariela Serrano, Staff Writer

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After living in the middle class with money counted to the cent, The Jha family come to a large amount of money where their lives will change forever.

In The Windfall Mr. Jha sold his $20 million company and uses it to say goodbye to the cramped spaces of his apartment, stolen yoga pants, and most importantly the middle class which is short on privacy.  Mr. Jha welcomes his wealth by moving to quiet Gurgaon, a New Delhi neighborhood outside of the large city. Gurgaon, India is the city where labels matter, with luxury shops promoting fancy up to date automobiles. And most importantly residents paying close attention to their ownings.

Mr. Jha soon adapts to his luxurious new life however, Mrs. Jha finds it difficult to forget her past since she longs for her nosy neighbors, her uncomfortable apartment, using a bucket of water to bathe, and not having her kitchen clean.

“We don’t need to copy everything other people in Gurgaon do,” she will repeat several times to her husband.

Author Diksha Basu tells NPR books “I myself grew up in New Delhi in the ’90s and I saw the explosion of wealth all around me. And it was hard to ignore and that’s what led to this novel.”

Diksha’s wanted this novel to be about humanity and humor. Finding the idea of money interesting to her she writes about India since she felt that the United States had little understanding of India.

Basu has had experience as a global citizen which helped her write about Jha’s world. In the 1990s the Indian economy was welcoming foreign investments and global consumer markets. She explains in an interview how in her school they all wore uniforms but the kids who went abroad for the holidays were noticeable by their backpack and shoe brand. In The Windfall, the Jhas struggled to keep up with other surrounding families. It is a difficult process since all eyes are on them. Mrs. Jha gets mistaken for a maid because of her traditional starched cotton garments. Mr. Jha blocks all those comments by spending on luxury cars even for his son who is abroad. His son, Rupak flunks out of business school wishing he could study film instead and spends all his time smoking pot with his American girlfriend. (which he has another girlfriend in India).

Basu wrote Rupak as the soul of the novel. He uses the three main characters to leave the readers thinking how we adapt to new cultures or change in general. Can you take someone from their roots, place them on the other side and expect them to grow?

Rupak’s American girlfriend tells him “Figure out who you are and just be that person.” Since he was blaming everyone else for his problems. Apart from that being a cry for help for Rupak it was also a thought for the readers.

In The Windfall, there is much to unravel and plenty of topics to relate. The potential of this novel was seen by producer Shonali Bose who will have a major impact in a TV series based on this book with a Hollywood ending.

Diksha Basu, had a great concept. The characters she created made the audience feel their sorrows, love, and heartbreaks. She combined a true scenario in hilarious words. But, near the ending too much happened that I feel she lost her words and combined everything.

This is a recommended book for our long Thanksgiving break. So that students can read about a dysfunctional functional family and maybe by the Thanksgiving break 2018 you can watch the TV series.


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