What kind of stories do you expect regular Indian women to write if given the opportunity?
The new anthology of short stories Everything Changed After That: 25 Women, 25 Stories (Embassy Books, Rs 395) edited by Aekta Kapoor will defy your expectations.
Prepare for a thrilling journey through life-changing twists and turns in this exciting new collection of 25 short stories written by 25 women writers from across India.
A chance meeting on a road trip that invites you to rethink your upcoming wedding.
A moment of vulnerability betrayed and made viral on the internet.
A shared cab ride that gives you a chance at sweet revenge.
Gatecrashing a grand feast and falling headlong into an unexpected new friendship.
An opportunity to make quick bucks under the table that is fraught with risk.
This anthology showcases the winners of eShe magazine’s short story contest for women writers and will leave you enthralled to the last page. The contest was judged by India’s highest selling female author Preeti Shenoy, eShe’s founder and editor Aekta Kapoor, and author and editor-in-chief of Embassy Books, Aruna Joshi.
From humour and romance to suspense and psychological thrillers, these stories are a treat for fiction-lovers.
As a collection, the book is a fascinating glimpse into the preoccupations of modern Indian womanhood, and it’s edgier, bolder and more nuanced than you’d ever imagine.
Aekta Kapoor is the founder and editor of eShe magazine and the author of the spiritual memoir 100 Paths. After a long career as an award-winning lifestyle and fashion journalist heading prestigious publications and websites, Aekta now focuses on gender equality, social justice and peacebuilding through her writing and initiatives.
THE WRITERS (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
Anushree Bose: ‘Moondust’
Anushree Bose is a clinical researcher and a DBT-Wellcome Trust India Alliance fellow. She has a PhD in psychiatry, a Master’s degree in psychology, and specialises in the scientific study of mental disorders like schizophrenia. Beyond academics, she likes to read, write and wonder about human nature, something she explores through poetry and fiction.
Arti Jain: ‘Skyward Bound’
Arti Jain studied New Media at Stanford University, holds an MFA in cinema from San Francisco State University and an MA in mass communications from Jamia Millia Islamia. She has worn various hats – as associate producer for an Emmy Award-winning TV series, co-founder of one of India’s early online bookstores, and even a storytelling coach. In 2020, Arti combined her three loves – theatre, radio and books – to produce her podcast StoryJam, where she narrates texts from Hindi and Urdu literature.
Dr Arva Bhavnagarwala: ‘At Home, Finally’
Based in Mumbai, Arva Bhavnagarwala is a paediatrician by day, writer by night and a struggling mother to two boys. Her writing journey began in 2016 and since then her stories have been published on various platforms and in anthologies. Besides writing, parenting and her work as a doctor, she loves to read, travel and exercise.
AV Sridevi: ‘A Flight to Freedom’
AV Sridevi is an MBA by qualification and a homemaker by choice. A passionate reader, her love for words took a new turn when she held her pen and gave flight to her imagination. She currently lives in Mumbai with her husband and two sons.
Dr Bhargavi Chatterjea Bhattacharyya: ‘A Father’s Daughter’
Dr Bhargavi Chatterjea Bhattacharyya is a practising psychiatrist in Kolkata. She was awarded the Morris Markowe Public Education Prize by The Royal College of Psychiatrists, England. After journal and newspaper publications, she recently started experimenting with fiction. Her diverse experiences as a doctor in England and India provide the rich tapestry for her stories.
Chandrika R Krishnan: ‘The Allure of Power’
Chandrika R Krishnan is a Bengaluru-based writer and educationist with 200-odd published articles and stories that are eclectic and mostly experiential. Of late, since the 2020 lockdown, she has taken to learning Sanskrit, gardening, hosting WhatsApp quizzes, storytelling, collecting jokes, and volunteering at a local hospital and Seva centre that feeds the poor.
Divya Vartika: ‘Memories Forgotten’
Divya Vartika is an introvert who lives in a small town somewhere in India with her husband. She is an avid reader with a vivid imagination. Her training as an IT engineer along with an MBA degree, and even a decade-long stint working in IT and cybersecurity for companies like Accenture and Deloitte, could not kill the storyteller in her. Currently, she is a full-time writer.
Manisha Sahoo: ‘A Seasonal Quiddity’
Based in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, Manisha Sahoo got a Bachelor’s degree as an engineer, followed it up with a short stint in an IT company, and then did her Master’s in English. Since then, she has won several fiction-writing contests, been published in an anthology, and has received an honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future.
Nasreen Khan: ‘The Maggi Point’
Nasreen Khan is an executive coach, life coach, behavioural skills facilitator and NLP trainer based in Delhi. She works with individuals and organisations to support them to be their best, and brings simplicity, authenticity and commitment to whatever she chooses to do. A keen observer of human behaviour, the human mind also fascinates Nasreen. She loves travelling, being in the mountains and nature photography.
Natasha Sharma: ‘A Promise Is a Promise’
Natasha Sharma is a software developer based in Pune. A “Navy brat” whose father fought in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, she spends each day arguing with her eight-going-on-sixteen daughter, and taking long walks with her dog Biscuit. Writing was always on the cards, and in the past year, she has dabbled in short stories and poetry.
Nina Krishna Warrier: ‘The Karma Seed‘
Former copywriter Nina Krishna Warrier is now a full-time homemaker and amateur author. Based in Mumbai, she loves meeting new people, travelling to new places, and is a fan of seventies’ and eighties’ music. She goes by her mother’s advice, to “enjoy and endure”, and says her biggest strengths are her daughter, husband, brother, sister-in-law and nieces.
Noopur Joshi Bapat: ‘The Car Keys’
Noopur Joshi Bapat lives in Pune with her husband and five-year-old daughter. A software engineer by profession, Noopur discovered her love for writing early in her school days and runs a blog Kaleidoscope. Besides English classics, she is equally interested in reading Hindi and Marathi literature.
Dr Preetha Vasan: ‘Akhila’
With over 20 years of teaching experience, Dr Preetha Vasan currently teaches the Master’s programme in English at Jyoti Nivas College, Bengaluru. A poet and author, her first publication Yagna, a book of poems based on The Mahabharata, gives voice to subalterns, while contemporising the epic through the perspective of Sanjaya.
Kala Priyadarshini: ‘The Dance’
Raised in Patna and Chennai, Kala Priyadarshini (Priyadarshini Sharma) studied science before turning to literature, and moved to Mumbai after marriage. After raising three children, managing the family tea business, and even launching her own popular tea café in Kochi, she went back to college to study journalism and to do her Master’s in literature. She has been with The Hindu newspaper’s Kochi bureau for the past 18 years.
Priyamvada Singh: “You Are All Menials!”
Priyamvada Singh worked in television across Mumbai and Delhi for over a decade before pursuing her vision of restoring her 150-year old ancestral fort in Rajasthan through her ‘Meja Project’, which has given the village of Meja a new look, and the rural community a new outlook. She has won various awards including the Nari Shakti Puruskar in 2019 for this endeavour that blends heritage restoration and socio-cultural resurrection.
Raina Lopes: ‘Jalebi’
Raina Lopes works as a software engineer at a renowned multinational company and is a writer at heart. She loves spending time observing the serenity of nature and finds solace in reading.
Rajitha Menon: ‘Peering Through the Mist’
Rajitha Menon is a finance professional-turned-journalist who alternates between manic bursts of inspiration and extreme lethargy. Her choices in literature, music and movies are those with strong Indian influences. She is an alumnus of Asian College of Journalism and divides her time and loyalties between her hometown of Ernakulam in Kerala and Bengaluru, her adopted city.
Ruchika Verma: ‘An Autumn Leaf’
Ruchika Verma is a literature student whose heart lies in the classics. Always seeking fun and ready for philosophical discussions at all times, she wrote her first novel Yes, I Ran Away! at the age of 16, and works part-time as a PR specialist for a technology firm.
Salini Vineeth: ‘The Talking Heron’
Salini Vineeth is a fiction and freelance writer based in Bengaluru. She worked for a decade in the electronics industry before turning to full-time writing. She has authored four books and has contributed to several anthologies and online magazines.
Sangeeta Das: ‘Dream’
Biochemist, bibliophile and travel enthusiast Sangeeta Das was born and raised in the beautiful hills of Shillong, Meghalaya. She is now a learning and development professional based in Bengaluru, and is on a new journey exploring her writing skills.
Sangeetha Vallat: ‘Be the Flow’
Sangeetha Vallat had a memorable career spanning 14 years in the Indian Railways after which she opted for voluntary retirement. She now spends her time surrounded by books. She picked up writing recently after the demise of her father as a way of dealing with grief, and has warned friends and family that they may end up in some form in her stories.
Sapna D Singh: ‘The Night Out’
Sapna D Singh is a journalist with two decades of experience in both Indian and international publications, including some of the biggest media companies like The Times of India Group, Indian Express Group, Business Standard and S&P Global Platts. She has covered myriad sectors ranging from healthcare to energy and from corporate affairs to textiles.
Shalini Mullick: ‘La Bella Revenga’
Dr Shalini Mullick is a keen reader-turned-writer, who writes nonfiction, poetry and fiction. She is also a practising doctor, specialising in pulmonary pathology. Her short stories and flash-fiction contributions are regularly featured on online platforms and have been published in anthologies.
Sulekha Bajpai: ‘Navjote Nu Bhonu (The Navjote Feast)‘
Sulekha Bajpai is a bi-lingual script, story, dialogue and lyrics writer, a published poet as well as an advertising professional based in Mumbai. Her creativity is fuelled by her love for travelling and interacting with new cultures, as well as a keen appreciation of authenticity and realism in human interactions.
Dr Urvashi Tandon: ‘The Resurrection’
Dr Urvashi Tandon is a professor of anaesthesiology. She served in the Indian Navy for 29 years before seeking premature retirement. She has written articles for various magazines and has authored a collection of short stories for children titled Potpourri – Stories for Children, which aims at creating environmental awareness in the younger age group.