Bed-time stories for grown-ups, says the cover of Eighteen Plus, a short story collection that will take its readers on a joy ride of the racy sort. Apurv Nagpal, an IIM graduate and former CEO of Saregama, makes his debut in the publishing world with a clutch of raunchy tales that would probably make the most experienced person in the field blush with embarrassment. Thankfully, unlike most debut novelists these days, Nagpal makes good on his language, and it’s a clean read when it comes to grammar and some such.
From ‘Taking Care of a Hard-on’, ‘The Condom Chronicles’, ‘The Memoir of a Sexologist’, to ‘Dear Neanderthal’, all these stories have one thing in common - sex, and quite a lot of it. What’s interesting is the way the author mounts all his characters in believable, typically Indian situations and landscapes, without making it sound forced or absurd. And there are large doses of humour too.
In ‘Eighteen Things That Arouse’, an unnamed protagonist lists 18 little things that arouse him about women. No.7 reads: “Every woman singer with a husky voice. Suzanne Vega. Norah Jones. Dido. Sade.” Props to Nagpal, for effortlessly infusing pop culture references into his stream of lascivious tales.
He tries to be imaginative with form too. For instance, Sexting: Fast and Furious, uses the format of text messages, where a woman leaves a long lost friend hanging after a torrid session of teasing and sexting. And in ‘A Tribute to Breasts (Free Verse)’ he uses poetry to get his point across.
However, the book fails to truly take off from it’s imaginative, inherently desi twists and instead of sensuous literature, we’re left with soft porn. One of the short stories ‘Going Down to Come up’ suggests women to offer oral sex in return for promotions and foreign trips at work.
For some reason, the simple yet sensuous nuances of sex are ignored for all the fun and just plain carnal, blow by blow account of the act itself. But perhaps that is exactly what the writer was driving at - a book that helps one get into the mood or just provide some steamy distraction. So if you’re looking to spice things up in the bedroom, with your partner or maybe even by yourself, this book can be the perfect companion.