The Windfall


  • 14 Oct - 20 Oct, 2017
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Time Out

by Diksha Basu

A middle-aged Delhi couple, Mr and Mrs Jha, find themselves suddenly wealthy and are no longer young when they suddenly come into a great deal of money. Mr Jha has sold a website he created. The money allows the Jhas to move from their East Delhi housing complex to Gurgaon, a much ritzier neighbourhood, where each house has a gate, a guard, and sometimes a swimming pool. Mr Jha throws himself into their new lifestyle, ordering a couch embedded with Swarovski crystals. Mrs Jha, meanwhile, can’t convince herself to use the new hot showers, preferring instead to stick with the bucket and mug she’s used to.

In the meantime, the Jhas’ son, Rupak, is studying for his MBA in New York. His parents don’t know it yet, but he’s failing his classes. Worse, he’s trying to balance two women: Indian Serena, who rather resembles his mother; and blonde American Elizabeth, whom Rupak can’t imagine fitting in to his Indian life. This debut novel by Basu is a funny, deceptively light treatment of money and manners in modern-day Delhi.

The author manages various storylines well throughout the novel, and her writing is sincere. Even though each of the characters look flawed, but their flaws seem to obtain pity rather than sympathy. At one point, their moneyed lives don’t seem as funny as they do alienating and sad, while the humour seems strained in this comedy of errors, manners, and money.