Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Windfall, by Diksha Basu - About the Indian New Money

In the line of the Singapore-based trilogy by Kevin Kwan, Windfall, by Diksha Basu delves into the adventures of an Indian family into new money. After a life of hard work, Jha family is overwhelmed by the chance of starting anew, in a new posh neighbourhood, where they can order a sofa from Japan with Swarovski crystals - not so comfy for your back - and fly business to visit their son which is theoretically study for an MBA in Ithaca - not Cornell. 
The Jhas are not completely 'new money' type - that kind of people who are so overwhelmed by their success although they can hardly can write and read. They are middle class and belonged to a knit-tighted - maybe too much - 'normal' Delhi neighbourhood. They are not turning their back to their former neighbours and friends - although clumsly doing their best to come along to their new acquaintances from the posh areas, so extravagant that they ordered to a painter to make a copy of the Sixtine Chapel - men dressed though - for their living room's ceiling.
The contrasts are hilarious when it comes both to the characters and the situations. It involves also some good for nothing sons, perhaps also the victims of too much wellbeing and money to reach at least for two generations, but also a realistic reflection on the place and role of the women, regardless of the financial stability of their family and success of their husbands. Did money changed the traditional society? It rather only challenges the status for a while, but changes are still at least one generation away.
Although the story is well told, I felt more than once that it was quite predictable and without any page-turning events. A slow yet reflective read, about a world on the move, but changing more slowly than the way in which money is changing hands. 

Rating: 3 stars

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