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Book Review: The Windfall by Diksha Basu

August has been great till now since I’ve got the chance to read new authors who have written books which are super close to my heart and portray what I feel. One of these books is The Windfall by Diksha Basu, a story about a family who has been living in a small town of the capital city, and now after two decades, they are moving out of their home towards a new life in a super busy and bustling city of Gurgaon, the concrete jungle.

But the story of The Windall is not just about the move, it is about how families find it hard to adjust during a big change, how relatives act like leeches and neighbors keep on poking their noses into other person’s business. Being a Delhiite myself, I’ve experienced these things for 25 years. And just like Jha family, I moved to the concrete jungle in December 2016, after my marriage.

The Windfall opens with Jha family organizing a dinner for their neighbors, to break them the news of their moving out from East Delhi to swanky new establishments of Gurgaon. Mr. Jha has recently made money after selling his internet venture, which in turn is helping out in living his dreams. Unfortunately, his mother is not there to witness his success.

While Mr. Jha is brimming with excitement, Mrs. Jha is a nervous wreck and doesn’t like to move out of her comfort zone. She is trying her best to support her husband, but she is unable to understand the unnecessary expenses Mr. Jha is making for their life in Gurgaon. Chandeliers, Sofas studded with crystals in them is making her dizzy like anything. On the other hand, their son who is studying in America is trying to keep his relationship with an American Girl secret along with a downfall in his semester grades.

Once the Jha family settles in their new Gurgaon home, things take an unexpected and hilarious turn when Mr. Chopra and his family enters their life. The swanky neighbor has everything, a full-time guard who also acts as a spy to keep an eye out on competition next door, a gold laden fat wife who suits his lifestyle and a useless brat as his son to keep his name in the market. Once Mr. Copra and Mr. Jha meet, the real competition begins; the complex game of humble brag one-up-manship with their neighbors, who casually drop references to Harrods and luxurious recreation clubs and new Jaguars. It seems that once you’re rich, only being richer will do.

The move which was supposed to make life better for Jha’s turns their lives upside down, and one day they realize they should’ve focussed on the things that matter the most, not the crystals in their sofa set.

The Windfall is a book that I can very closely relate to. I am a pure Delhite, now living in Gurgaon. I’ve seen how close knit people are in Delhi and how alienated they are in Gurgaon. Delhi is family, where you share happiness, sorrows, and small joys also. Gurgaon, if you try and take sweets to neighbor’s home, he will either treat you like some god forsaken Behenji or a middle-class person who doesn’t know that sweets don’t work anymore, a bottle of Jacob’s Creeks works. Money speaks in Gurgaon, not emotions.

What I loved the most in The Windfall was the way story has been written. Diksha Basu has done a brilliant job in keeping the narrative simple yet powerful, conveying the message via straight humor. And my most favorite part was when Rupak comes home and drinks are organized by Jha’s for Chopra’s on a small get together, I mean I couldn’t stop laughing when I was going through that chapter! And yes, I’ve seen that happening at my home too, not to that degree but to some extent, yes.

The only issue I had with The Windfall was Rupak’s character, I mean it was confusing for me. In fact, too confusing. Apart from that, The Windfall makes up for an awesome read. And if you’re a Delhite, you will definitely relate to this one! So make sure you pick your copy soon.

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