DuetsCover

Eighteen delectable short stories, each co-authored by Apurv Nagpal with a different woman, all first-time writers, with fresh, free-spirited voices of their own. The idea behind co-authoring was to imbue the stories with both the male and female perspective and incorporate the different experiences and mileus this eclectic group has traversed. Each story is sensuous, wickedly funny and contains characters and situations we can all relate to and easily identify with. The stories are loaded with the ethnic, desi touch and deal humorously with the unique ways we, in India, deal with a topic till today spoken of in hushed tones..

Synopses.

1. The Royal Honeymoon by Shay Seher

They were engaged the same day they met, the wedding fixed just a month away. She was a sensually charged hottie, who couldn’t wait to get him inside her. He turned out to be a bit old-fashioned, wanted to wait till the honeymoon. And thus began a sizzling game of cat and mouse…the hunter and the hunted!

2. Girls’ Night Out by Asha Aggarwal

Everyone has secrets. A secret desire, a secret fantasy, or a secret from their past life. Seema and Avantika are the most unlikely of best friends. Seema is reserved and inhibited, whereas Avantika is promiscuous and bold. When Seema asks Avantika for help, she gets so much more than she bargained for. With Avantika’s guidance,Seema tests the boundaries of her comfort zone. How far will she go for love?

3. The Breakfast by Sukanya Duttaroy

A healthy sensual relationship between two people, who have fun together, is the definition of friends-with-benefits. That’s what she thought she had signed up for with him. A day of lazy lounging in bed, lots of pampering, definitely a couple’s massage and an evening enhanced by a bottle of good wine, followed by a leisurely breakfast, her favourite meal, the next morning. With a hundred per cent success rate for five years, what could possibly go wrong…?

4. A Day of Desh Sewa by Jo March

Bajaaj, known as Buzz, is a consultant in the Ministry of Indian Culture and Civilization, Government of India. Brought into the ministry by his mentor, the venerable Minister, an senior and respected member of the ruling party, Buzz is devoted to the Minister. He is at first bemused and then disgusted by the promiscuous culture of the officers of the ministry, so different from what he thinks is his Minister’s way of life. Little does Buzz know that the day will take a most unexpected turn….

5. Losing the Stripes by Rachna Chawla

Veer aka Tiger had been the college heart throb—the one every girl had a crush on! He was muscled and macho, so who could help it? Deepa still remembered the feeling all these years later. Tonight was her chance—all the banter leading up to this evening had got her excited and she knew she was in for a night of great action…specially after the wimps she had encountered in the recent past. She just hadn’t accounted for sweet adorable Buddy, her best friend.

6. Soulmates by Manu Randhawa

If you Google the word ‘soulmate’, you get a reasonably accurate explanation, ‘A person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet—a connection so strong that you are drawn to the person in a way you have never experienced before. Your soulmate understands and connects with you in every way and on every level, which brings a sense of peace, calmness and happiness when you are around him/her.’ But the important question is—does the definition apply to one person only? Is one allowed to change one’s mind about it? Or is it the instant connect, the ‘when you see one you will know’ theory? Two women thought they had found their one and only soulmate, with a lot of surety and a dash of confusion too! So, had they really done so? As their world is about to be thrown into the midst of a roller coaster ride of sorts, who will come out unscathed and will those questions get answered?

7. Taming the Author by Mallika Ghosh

Memory and desire. Deliciousness is made of these. So they met, decades later. At a reunion of sorts, just making the years melt away. The luscious dusk spicing the swinging party, re-igniting a dormant spark from ages ago. Lilting laughter, crystal glasses, fiery liquor warming the throat…and much else. Who can withstand the seductive charm of the chase? Does it end at this or does it melt into something more? And, most importantly, who is the hunter and who is the hunted?

8. Living Life in Reverse: 40 going on 20 By Bhawna Mohile

She didn’t know what happened, but something changed when she turned 40 in mind and body. Suddenly, she became more charged, empowered, confident, self-aware—and much more sensually aware. Or, in layman lingo, just plain aroused… She felt she had really not explored her sensual potential enough and would suffer extreme frustration if she didn’t do something about it—but did she, a muchmarried woman, have any options? It seemed a bleak prospect—but
then she discovered Tinder…

9. Trip to the Moon. And Back. By Mamta Bhattacharyya

The first time he saw her, she was pleasuring herself, oblivious to his presence. The second time, she was at the most important business meeting of his life. And even while making his presentation, he was struggling to get the visuals of her (with her legs spread apart) out of his head. With a start like that, a relationship could only go one way—or so you would think…

10. Magic by Lata Gullapalli

How does a couple get to know each other? Even if they are introduced and dating before marriage? Does one really know what is making the other one tick-live-love-laugh and not necessarily in that order? Shruti and Shekar were friends and got married, but could this be a new love that would blossom? Would the fire that was lurking so close to the surface blaze forth? Would they discover each other or would theirs remain an arms-length traditional marriage? Most importantly, would they find the magic…?

11. Mid-eastern Madness by Palak D’Souza

A new city, a new home, a peaceful morning, the world seemed to be smiling upon her until the arrival of a mysterious, unknown swarthy, clean-shaven Mid-eastern man…His startling revelation comes out of the blue. And then her world is turned upside down…

12. Guess the Queen by Urjita Kulkarni

Arranged marriages don’t always set the bedroom on fire and that is what Shubhi and Rishi are struggling with in their nascent union, when they have to attend a family wedding. While there, one night,they encounter a mysterious game, one that tests attitudes, boundaries and limits. But then how does it all end? Or start?

13. The Sexologist’s Nightmare by Archana Mishra

Keshav and Harini are like any other married couple, except that they were going through a severe crisis, which they were not able to resolve on their own. Finally, they decided to meet a sexologist, which itself was a very courageous act for them, considering their background. The drama, which unfolds in the doctor’s cabin, leaves everyone shocked, flabbergasted and speechless.

14. Sunset Cinema by Nivedita Singh

College sweethearts, Aakriti and Raj, have a dilemma that will remind you of your life at some point in time. They want to move to the next step in their relationship, but with her conservative father and Big Brother watching, it isn’t easy. That’s when they decide to try Ahmedabad’s famous Sunset Cinema.

15. Happily Ever After by Ciza Srivatsa

What is the big deal with Facebook anyway? Why do so many obsess about its ability to connect old friends? Meena is ready to find out on a warm September day. She would have never guessed she’d ‘meet’ Mahesh on the social networking site. All these years later, an old flame is fanned and the happily married Meena is caught between her past and her present. Her husband Dev has his own fuel to add to the
fire.

16. She Wants It All by Manali Bagawade

Revenge, the sweet taste of revenge, was the only thing Ayushi was looking for. Her thirst for reviving her tarnished ego was something she could no longer control. How could her second fiddle in the office have the guts to sleep with the man she once called her own? She wasn’t backing down, not without a fight to reclaim what was hers. A seductive dress, a bottle of wine, a lovely resort and a heavenly thong as part of a siege, was all that she thought was required. But was destiny was on her side…?

17. Two For The Road by Gauri Nafrey

Treks can be so liberating! Mads and Sam, neighbours from Gurgaon, went on one every year together. Mads went because of the crisp mountain air, the scenic views, the feeling of being at one with nature…but Sam? She just loved hunting down the single men who were part of their group. After all, wasn’t that a natural instinct too? Mads meanwhile tried to enjoy the treks that helped her escape her daily grind, but this year things wouldn’t work out as planned….

18. Mr Rockstar by Subarna Roy

Sometimes even an innocent crush can be so overwhelming that it makes you question the moment it all began. Mr Rockstar was an enigma. His delicious looks, dashing personality and mysterious persona had a lot of older women flock to him. Did she, all of 25, working in a music label firm, even stand a chance? And most importantly, were her feelings chemistry or love?

Meet The Authors

Get to know the lovely ladies behind the short stories. All first time writers, telling their stories proudly and uninhibitedly

Archana

Archana Mishra

A go-getter, I’m a woman with a very strong spirit who never believes in giving up, no matter what. Always greedy to learn new things, I am a voracious reader and love to interact with people from various cultures. An MBA from Pune University, I devote most of my time to animal welfare, other than my work. I have two lovely dogs I consider my children, companions I cannot do without.

Asha4
Asha Aggarwal

Born and brought up in small-town USA, I am the original ABCD. I have been blessed with a dirty mind and a wild imagination. Writing poems and short stories has always been my forte. I’m a dreamer by nature, and I love escaping to other worlds when I read and write. Though writing has been my passion, I did not share my work for a long time. I gained confidence only after attending writing workshops where I got plenty of positive feedback from fellow writing enthusiasts. I am essentially a housewife, but I have always dreamt of being a published writer. I have two fabulous young women and one fabulous man in my life. My husband and two daughters are very supportive and give me plenty of fodder for my stories. Enter Apurv Nagpal. Friend, confidant, partner in crime. He encouraged me to get off my butt and ‘just duet’! It’s true that writers usually draw from their experiences. Therefore, my stories are filled with more humour and less sex.

Bhawna Mohile

I worked as a French teacher till last year, when I gave up my part-time teaching job to take up writing full-time. I am well travelled, well read and have a quirky sense of humour. I was born in India and raised in Bahrain by my parents, both very progressive in the way they brought me up. However, sex before marriage was a no no and even talking about it was taboo! Today, I live in Pune, a happily married woman and a mother of two teenage daughters. I’ve always wanted to write and had tried my hand at it a few times but never had the courage to actually get published. I’m glad I’ve finally done it!


Ciza Srivatsa

Born and raised in India, I moved to the United States when I was 12. Writing and music kept me together when everything turned upside down. I enjoyed a second track to my thoughts in the form of songs from old Hindi movies (singers like Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Talat Mahmood), a ghazal (Jagjit Singh) or a book. It took me through some of the ugliest times of life with great beauty. I knew then that ‘I am a writer’. After studying business and walking through finance, marketing, real estate, and of course, motherhood, I finally arrived at the epiphany of being a writer in my late 30s. When a friend mentioned a plan to publish a short story collection about ‘sex and humour’ written by 18 women, I
was on board immediately and am excited (no pun intended) about sharing the artist within me with the outside world.

Gauri Nafrey

An enthusiastic foodie, I have owned and run various F&B businesses in the past 10 years, although I’m a banker by profession. I’ve lived and worked in India, the UK and Singapore and will be relocating back to London soon. I graduated from Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), Delhi University, with a B.Com (Honours) degree, followed by an MBA in finance from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore, in 1993. I spent 13 years in investment banking in India and the UK, before becoming an entrepreneur. I’m married to a classmate from business school and currently live with him and our two sons in Singapore. I love to cook and bake, and enjoy jamming sessions with my musically inclined family. I also love to travel with my foodie family and every holiday revolves around eating in new, exciting places, and experimenting with new cuisines.


Mallika Ghosh

Kolkata to Delhi. Then all over the world! The travelling profession offers unique opportunities to expand horizons and palettes, physically and metaphorically. The wide exposure through constant travel to different continents transformed the wide-eyed little girl I was into a more composed, well-travelled, independent woman. The journey has been rewarding and enriching, in sync with my own nature and interests, reading being a prime one. New experiences excite me. When I was asked to be a part of Eighteen Plus Duets, I gladly took it up. I have enjoyed working on the project with the other lovely ladies, sharing laughter and ideas.


Lata Gullapalli

In my previous life, I worked as an investment banker, advising companies on mergers and acquisitions, which is considered the toughest bit in investment banking. It has loads to do with finding out what matters most to the parties in a deal and making sure they get it or at least most of it. It was always interesting to observe the behaviour of people and find out what motivated them, how they behave when they are actually cracking up inside and how they behave when the other party gives in a little, or, when they don’t. My singing, in another previous life, was pretty interesting too. The day I put a bit of my soul into it, the notes flowed melodiously, otherwise the sound recordist would ask me to try again! I am doing this again in this life too…I have moved several times to many interesting places and travelled to many others too. I now live in London. I’ve known my co-author, Apurv for some time now, and when he suggested we write a story together, for his sequel book Eighteen Plus Duets, I was ready to try it. All those observations and analyses of people and places were almost fighting to get written, in a way. It was an opportunity to put down my thoughts of how people reacted to each other and what better way, being much married myself, to start with a newly married couple? People, places and aspects of life like professions, or even the weather, are part of my experience. That’s the way I think and write best. That’s what makes the best stories.


Jo March

Like the character from Little Women with the same name, I am a dreamer, a blithe spirit, who refuses to be bound by tradition or age. I write for myself, but if the world loves what I write, then that’s even better. I have always been ‘one of the boys’, an adventure seeker, rebel, always ahead of my times. Frank and honest, I am often misunderstood, but couldn’t care less. I want to travel all over the world and read every good book ever written. I am completely in love with the idea of being in love and love all creatures, big and small. I do not believe in narrow boundaries of nation, race, religion, community, caste or creed. My favourite quotes are: ‘Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all…’ (Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A.H.H.). ‘All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts…’ (William Shakespeare, As You Like It)


Mamta Bhattacharyya

I was born in Yugoslavia (the modern-day Spa country of Slovenia), brought up in India and after marriage, set up home in three countries, one after the other, moving around several times. I pride myself as a homemaker with a passion for bringing out the best in myself and making each of my various postings meaningful. I am the daughter of a Late Master Mariner, who sailed around the world, and whose experiences had a great bearing on my upbringing. My mother was one of the few ladies in her time who rode a two-wheeler and played squash. I truly value my parents’ contribution to this day, for giving me such an unforgettable childhood. My husband and my two dear boys have always been very supportive when I try something new. I consider myself as a multitalented person since I’ve learnt Indian classical music, swimming, yoga and horse riding. In my previous life, I have worked in shares and stocks (in India), credit management (UK), set up a Indian cookery school in the UK and worked as an Executive Coordinator for a Joint PhD programme for one of the top-notch technological institutions of India. Now as my boys are growing up, I am enjoying my time at home so I can be on standby for them. I was elected VP of the Parent Teacher Organization for their International School and played a key role in bringing the international community together through organizing events. I also do profiling for children to map out their strengths and guide them in potential areas where they can excel. This opportunity to write came along at a time when I was ready to put my creative ability and vivid imagination to good use. But honestly, making a debut into the ‘taboo’ area of sex was something I had never imagined. I have truly enjoyed being part of an18-women crew and the journey was as exciting as the writing!

Manali

Manali Bagawade

A newbie entrepreneur, I live with the sole objective of doing ‘something different’. As a means of livelihood, I use what my friends call my ‘quirky’ thinking abilities to help my clients with their digital communication. I love to read, swim, listen to the sitar, watch movies and movie trailers (no, watching movies isn’t equivalent to watching trailers—I actually like watching just the trailers). A virgin author, I can’t wait for my story to make someone, somewhere chuckle!


Manu Randhawa

An adventurous soul, who is always on the go, I take each hiccup as a hurdle that leads to the next best adventure that has to be lived and loved until the next comes along. I run in marathons, go on long treks and have taken part in car rallies, bungee jumping and cliff jumping. Along with handling home, hearth, husband and kids and now some writing—all my activities run the gamut of my roles and achievements!

5-001Nivedita Singh

Born and bred in Bengaluru, a stay-at-home mommy to two beautiful kids, a fashion designer by qualification and a part-time PR professional—that’s me, Nivedita. Like any other kid, I loved reading too. I enjoy reading different genres of writing but currently am hooked on to fiction, especially action/thrillers and espionage. So when I got an opportunity to write a story in a genre which was alien to me, humour/erotica, I was a little hesitant—this being my first attempt at writing—but excited at the same time. The first few lines were difficult but as I progressed, it started falling in place and soon I had a story with some laughs and some love, topped with some hot and not so hot moments.


Palak D’Souza

I’m a 30 plus globe-trotter, with a wild and crazy passion for life. I am completely devoted to my kids (which includes my dogs and my darling husband—after all, aren’t most men kids at heart?). I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so my story, my first time writing anything for public consumption, underwent many redrafts before it got finalized, giving my family and Apurv several anxious moments. But now that it’s written, I hope it gives enjoyment to many, many readers.

Rachna1Rachna Chawla

A management consultant and coach with a secret wish to spend life lying on a beach with a book in hand and my Labrador, Elmo, by my side, I instead spend my days at work. My evenings and weekends are spent travelling, trying to write, and taking up women’s issues as a volunteer. My two teenaged kids continually encourage me to face my fears and to try new things. They also appreciate my cooking skills and think my attempt at writing is ‘pretty cool’.


Shay Seher

A dancer, an artist, a sports-girl, a chef, a fighter, a rider, a marketing professional, a pseudo coder, an amateur writer and a mother, I play varied roles in life. And I put all the above-mentioned roles to use…in my writing.


Subarna Roy

‘An intense life needs a touch of sadness’ is my philosophy…I am a true Mumbaikar and infinitely enthusiastic about music. In fact, I live, breathe and dream music. I absolutely believe in angels, an ancestral world, envisaging in a parallel universe and I still believe in fairytales…actually, I’m a drama queen. A‘social butterfly’ as my close ones call me, I am usually high on life and always see the brighter side of things, having no regrets. Besides music, I am an advance certified scuba diver, an avid traveller, photography enthusiast, food slave, beach bum, animal lover and love going to music festivals. An adrenaline junkie, driven by wanderlust, a dreamer, road-ripper and an aqua soul, that’s me. A media and entertainment professional for almost a decade, I am currently with Universal Music Group. I live in the moment and cherish the good memories of life. An emotional girl with a gentle heart, my dream is to travel to the farthest places in the world and absorb the places and people thoroughly so that when I am old, I can relive the moments through my writing and pictures. This is my first crack at writing a story with the help of my roomie Deepa whose lyrics have been exquisitely penned down for my story. Life to me means my family and close friends and relationships with people


Sukanya Dutta Roy

The most apt way to describe me is to call me a true-blue Delhi Bong. An avid reader, an ardent movie buff, I have frequent bouts of escaping into the world of fiction. This is my maiden attempt at storytelling. In my real world avatar, I head an international fashion brand and continue to live happily ever after with my husband and son, close to Delhi.


Urjita Kulkarni

What can be more interesting than having an authoritative voice in the world of words and the world of sex! Yes, that’s what I am—a sexologist by profession. I consider myself just another person in the crowd, vindicating my name totally, as I am a livewire with cool brains! A true wanderer, I like being on the move. And I love to pen down my ideas and thoughts in all the three lovely languages—English, Marathi and Hindi.

Munna Photographer (120)Apurv Nagpal

The sole male of the group, I attribute most of my grey hair to my experiences while writing, co-opting and otherwise dealing with my fabulous co-authors over the last two years. Eighteen Plus Duets is my brainchild and the follow up to the best-selling, sexy, funny Eighteen Plus, published by Rupa in 2013. After working in blue-chip corporates for 19 years across six countries and rising to the top, I now simply follow my passions. Currently a man with many hats—blogger (I review movies at ApurvBollywood), prominent Twitterati (@ApurvNagpal), entrepreneur, consultant, and Visiting Faculty, IIM-A, where I teach a highly sought-after course on Innovation which I developed from scratch. I am also an avid traveller and sports fan, having visited every continent (including Antarctica) and attended every FIFA World Cup since 1998. I know I have a flair for innovation and marketing, so I decided to self-publish this book—I also think the world of publishing can do with a vigorous, thorough shake-up!
To know more, visit – www.apurvnagpal.com

Our Partners


Bajaj

Logo Cook with Pride Final (13 Ver)Wonderchef


Ola

DurexLogoDurex


Egg Art


Kingfisher


Classic Rock Coffee Co.

quodecklogo
QuoDeck

QuoDeck is a unique consumer learning tool which uses games and gamification to make learning interesting. Developed by Ptotem – the pioneer of serious gaming in India, QuoDeck has been the game engine behind some of the best consumer learning projects like Sachin Memory Project, eBay Learning Centre and now, 18 Plus Duets. Visit www.quodeck.com to know more.


Sixth Element – Pune OOH Partner


The Social Street

A new age experiential, engagement and communications company, which addresses the brand business issues through the communications lens and provides a fresh and unique perspective to their challenges.

file-page1

Aspri