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The Windfall

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Humankind is so clever and accomplished - until it’s time to distinguish between wealth and contentment. This momentous distinction is comedically tackled in “The Windfall” a debut novel set in the status-obsessed wealth colonies of India. Sat Bal

 

There’s even an official name for the kind of psychological turmoil that overnight wealth of this sort brings: Sudden Wealth Syndrome. “The Windfall” mirrors this turn in fortunes for middling entrepreneur Anil Jha whose SWS moment comes when he manages to sell his website for $20 million.  

While this sum doesn’t quite put Jha in the 1% of India’s Bollygarchs, it’s enough to catapult his family from a respectable housing complex to the luxurious Delhi suburb of Gurgaon where status is all.

Author Diksha Basu tells a jaunty, witty story that bristles with the psychopathologies of handling both new and established wealth. In doing so she artfully weaves a cast that vacillates between the former and future lives of the Jha family.

Their future features Mr Chopra, a beefy burgher of Gurgaon and the scion of inherited money. In other words, he knows his way around wealth and is accustomed to the lifestyle it affords. The Jhas are not. Yet Chopra’s dynastic wealth does little to calm his psyche. We’re told that he’s not afraid of much “but the thing that frightened him most was poverty.”

His status fears are heightened when his neighbours sell their house to the Jhas in order to upgrade to London’s Kensington, prompting Mrs Chopra’s insecurities. “What if everyone else in Delhi becomes rich and the people who are poor now move in next door and suddenly we are one of the poor. What then?”

One imagines the same anxieties being played out in Shanghai, Brasilia and other new money hot spots around the globe. The realisation that happiness is not automatically on the fixtures and fittings list of a luxurious house is a sobering thought for anyone who expects contentment to flow as an emotional corollary of wealth. As Charles Spurgeon put it: “It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”

The constant catch-up attempts of the Jhas set the tragicomic scenes ahead as new wealth conflates with old times. Witness the embarrassment felt by Mr Jha when his new Mercedes, which arrived early, was delivered to his old home where it was “nearly impossible to navigate past the cows in the narrow lanes.” Jha’s shame is palpable: the delivery driver seeing his old abode and the neighbours seeing his new luxury car.  

Mrs Jha has parallel issues when her husband decides that they can’t employ a kitchen maid lest guests fail to notice that they have a new automatic dishwasher in the kitchen. The husband even sees trophy value in the aspiration that their son, Rupak, will have a blonde American girlfriend in the US, where he’s studying for an MBA.

Yet the fact that Rupak’s girlfriend, Elizabeth, is indeed a US blonde causes the boy untold grief. The non-disclosure of Elizabeth to his parents, whose objection he anticipates, sets the scene for endless conflict. Rupak is decidedly the weakest character in the book and Elizabeth makes this point with the warning: “Figure out who you are and just be that person,” as the relationship teeters.

The author brings an engaging set of characters to the fray. There’s the widowed romantic, Mrs Ray, who assures herself that lust is a curiosity rather than a reality. Mr Chopra’s son Johnny likes Lexus cars and girls but seems unable to earn a living - a fact welcomed by his dad whose money shields the boy from the unsavoury pursuit of working. And then there’s Serena - Elizabeth’s Indian counterpart. Predictably, Rupak’s affections for Serena just induce more hand-wringing and their druggy encounters stay right there.

Yet despite the promising cast, credible scene-setting and Diksha Basu’s nimble storytelling the novel ends at a plateau rather than the expected crescendo. That said, this debut novel puts Basu on the literary watch list - and the summer reading list.

 

The Windfall

£7.99 Paperback/Ebook

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Rolling Stones and Universal Shake On It

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LOS ANGELES: The decade-old union between The Rolling Stones and Universal Music Group (UMG), has moved closer with the announcement of a global deal that encompasses the band’s recorded music and audio-visual catalogues. Abigail Parkin  abigail@redcarpetmagazine.co.uk

 

UMG will also be providing archival support, global merchandising and brand management.

The status of both parties as global players has been well-established over the years: The Rolling Stones’ huge  impact on pop culture finely tunes with UMG’s expertise and resources.

Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman & CEO of UMG said, “After a decade of working in partnership together, we are thrilled to expand and extend our relationship with The Rolling Stones.  We look forward to bringing our expertise and passion to bear as we put our global organization to work on behalf of this iconic band who continue to create music and influence culture around the world.”

David Joseph, chairman & CEO, Universal Music UK, added: “The Rolling Stones continue to define rock and roll, they are loved the world over and they are the band who never let up. It’s a privilege to work with them and Joyce Smyth, their exceptional manager.”

Joyce Smyth, The Rolling Stones manager said, “For many years now we’ve had a wonderful partnership with Universal Music and look forward to an even more successful future together.’’

UMG will continue to distribute the band’s celebrated recorded music catalogue globally with future projects and reissues to be released through UMG’s labels and networks around the world.

Bravado, UMG’s brand-management and merchandise arm leads the global provider of consumer, lifestyle and branding services to recording artists and will handle global merchandising rights, retail licensing, brand management and e-commerce on behalf of the band, including their iconic tongue logo, one of the most universally recognized symbols in entertainment.

Bravado’s radar will also identify innovative opportunities for creative collaboration within the worlds of art, fashion, retail, sport, lifestyle and touring merchandise to excite and inspire their millions of fans around the world. 

Recent programs and collections include partnerships with Paris Saint Germain FC, Selfridges, Colette and Zara and newly designed merchandise for their No Filter European Tour.

Eagle Rock, the UMG-owned leading producer and distributor of music programming for broadcast, DVD, Blu-Ray, TV and Digital Media, has expanded its global distribution rights to the band’s extensive long-form audio visual catalogue.

The agreement will see Eagle Rock re-issuing several classic concert films from their archives including: Atlanta (1989); Steel Wheels (1989-90); Voodoo Lounge (1994); Bridges to Babylon (1997-1998); Four Flicks (2002) and Bigger Bang (2005-2006).

Picture credit: Dave Hogan

Isle of MTV Malta

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MALTA: Isle of MTV ended a hot June with British DJ Sigala, Paloma Faith and Ella Eyre hitting the stage in in Il-Fosos Square. Lucy Reid  lucy@redcarpetmagazine.co.uk 

 

The performer roster at the 12th Isle of MTV Malta saw Jason Derulo, Hailee Steinfeld (below) join DJ duo Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike stir the crowds massed in Floriana, Malta.

 

  

 

DJ Sigala managed a double surprise, ushering special guest Fuse ODG to the stage to perform their floor-filler Feels Like Home - and then welcoming Paloma Faith (below) to the stage for Lullaby, in a glamorous blue sequinned dress.

 

 

Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar-nominated actress-turned-pop star ran her hits and choreographed dance moves to a primed audience and Jason Derulo (below) ran riot with dancers galore, full live band and stunning visual effects,as hits Wiggle and Whatcha Say rent the Maltese air.

 

Cue confetti clouds and lasers as Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike took to the decks, spinning hits including new single When I Grow Up featuring Wiz Khalifa and All I Need with the night closing on Liberte

 

Catch our previous IOM Malta trips:

IOM 2017:

 

IOM 2016:

Bombardier Jet Reveal

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GENEVA: Bombardier has revealed its Global 5500 and Global 6500 jets, the newest in its Global business jets range.

Bombardier’s reveal took place at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva and presented a positive portrayal of the Canadian company which was dogged by bankruptcy issues only three years ago.

The planes are powered by new Rolls-Royce Pearl engines and come with a new wing design and cabin interior. The Global 5500 has a range of almost 6,000 nautical miles making flights from Sao Paolo to Paris a breeze while the 6500 has a range of 6,600 miles.  The flight range of the new planes will be a challenge to rival Gulfstream which currently holds the distance trophy for long range  business jets.

A 13 percent increase in fuel efficiency helps the environment and  operational efficiency.  

Inside the 5500 and 6500, Bombardier’s Nuage (French for ‘cloud’) seats will cosset passengers.

The jets are expected to take to the skies by the end of 2019.

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