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Diksha Basu Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Opening Night (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Windfall (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Diksha Basu is an American author with Indian roots that is best known for ‘The Windfall’, a book that explores the lives of an Indian family that suddenly acquires a fortune.

+Biography

Diksha was born in the early 1980s to a former World Bank Chief Economist and a Cornell University Professor. Kaushik Basu and Alaka Malwade Basu were intellectually curious parents. So their influence migrated to Diksha who remembers reading rather widely, with some of her influences including Enid Blyton and PG Wodehouse, not to mention a variety of Russian Stories.

Diksha Basu was a student at Cornell University where she studied Economics and English. Like many of her friends, Diksha was determined to get a corporate job, preferably a high paying one. However, the years she spent running back and forth between Delhi and New York as a child had opened her eyes to the theater.

Having experimented with a couple of plays in New York, Diksha eventually saw fit to move to Mumbai on her own with the intention of pursuing acting. At the age of 23, Diksha Basu didn’t know much about Bollywood.

What she learned in those early days should have shown her how ridiculous the industry was. But she wouldn’t be swayed. In fact, she reveled in the madness of it all. Even though she was depending on her small savings to get by, Diksha refused to be taken in by the seedy underbelly of the industry.

She noticed relatively early on that Bollywood was a male-dominated realm and that women were still viewed through a sexual lens. Diksha wrote about the industry in ‘Opening Night’, though she has denied claims that the book is autobiographical.

The author eventually got a leading role in a film. She was even more fortunate to meet her husband Mikey McCleary during those years. The New Zealander is a Bollywood music producer.

Life eventually took Diksha away from acting. The author cannot remember one particular moment where she decided to give up on Bollywood in favor of acting. The change was gradual. As a struggling actor, Diksha Basu spent a lot of time in rickshaws running from place to place in search of lucrative auditions.

She noticed at one point that she was spending more time in rickshaws than she was acting. And it occurred to her that so much of her time was being wasted in the process. The idea of writing slowly made its way into her conscious until she finally realized that it had been calling to her all along.

Diksha Basu has never been comfortable using the word ‘calling’ to describe what she does. But she admits that she felt a strange sense of relief when she started writing, like she had just acquired her freedom.

Suddenly Mumbai had nothing else to offer her. So Diksha Basu packed her things and went to New York. She acquired additional certification from Columbia University and it was during those years that the author’s first novel took shape.

Diksha’s Master of Fine Arts course had its challenges but there were also opportunities. She produced numerous short stories for the Masters program about a family that falls into money. The stories were funny and insightful and they struck a chord with Indian readers. They also paved the way for a full blown novel.

The book was a commentary on Indian Society. It tackles issues like sexism and class, this while going against common Indian stereotypes. Diksha believes that the book has more to say to Western audiences than it does Indian audiences because it forces Western readers to redefine their opinions of Asian culture.

As an avid traveler, Diksha was always shocked by the wanton misunderstandings of India that were rife in the places she visited, particularly New York. Diksha’s novels aim to break the narrow perspective of exotic Indian culture. The author needs her Western audiences to realize that, as with every other group of people on the planet, the lives of Indian men and women are shaped by their experiences.

Diksha Basu, it should be noted, is a full-time author. Her family life doesn’t always encourage her literary efforts. Diksha’s husband is often away on business and it falls on the shoulders of Diksha to balance her writing with the needs of her child.

Diksha does most of her writing at night. By then her child has fallen asleep and her husband is making dinner—if he is around.

Diksha doesn’t necessarily work on a schedule. Most of the time, she waits for inspiration to hit her before she gets down to putting words on the page.

+The Windfall

Mr. and Mrs. Jha were not necessarily poor. But their thirty years together were not the most comfortable, not with the nosy neighbors and the cramped spaces. It didn’t help that their marriage was stale.

But Mr. and Mrs. Jha would have argued that things were comfortable for them. They were ready to settle into their golden years, especially with their son having found a place at a Business School in the United States.

Mr. Jha changes all of that when he comes into a fortune. The family wastes no time in moving to the rich side of their community, no longer forced to deal with their New Delhi housing complex

Mr. Jha isn’t content to be living among the wealthy, though. He also wants to fit in. That means getting all the latest gadgets and toys.

Mr. Jha’s eagerness upends the peace of the community and rocks his family.

Diksha Basu’s first book has been commended for its charm and warmth. The book acts as a perfect introduction to Indian sensibilities, not only in Diksha’s characterization but also the dialogue.

+Opening Night

Naiya Kapur knows what she wants when she comes to Mumbai, and it isn’t to find love or to discover her parents’ home. The Princeton University graduate wants to be a star and nothing will stop her from claiming that big dream.

This book explores Naiya’s journey as she navigates Mumba. Naiya comes to understand the true nature of Bollywood. This is while she juggles auditions with parties and attempts to keep her relationship with a film producer afloat.

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