The Book Read at Hughes Systique Corp and the Beauty Contest Game

Tue, 05/25/2010 - 09:40 — parulmittal
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I had worked at Hughes Software way back in 1997 and so I approached Vinod Sood with the idea of a book read at what had now become Hughes Systique Corp. I was very glad when he promptly accepted. The event was scheduled for 20th may, 4pm.

In an earlier book read that I had attended, I had seen the author engage in a dialogue with the host. I inquired if someone at HSC had read my book and can make my life simple by just asking me some questions. But sadly no-one had. So, I talked to some of my friends there from good old days and decided to talk about my inspiration behind writing this book and some excerpts. I jotted down the page numbers of the interesting chapters and reached the venue half an hour early.

Waiting at the reception, I was browsing thru my book when a cool idea suddenly struck me - the Beauty Contest Game! I decided I will make the techies play the beauty contest game that Prof. Dutta makes Tanu's class play on their first day at IIT. With a concrete, interesting activity to do, my confidence started rising.

I went up to the HSC's cafeteria on terrace and laid out the book copies I was carrying in case someone wanted to buy after the event. People started trickling in. There were 4 to 5 familiar faces, but the rest of 30 people were all new, young recruits.

Anyways I started off confidently. Introduced myself and talked about my IIT days and my initial experiences. Narrated a bit of the story behind Heartbreaks & Dreams! Some guys opened up and shared the number of girls in their batches - 4/300, 10/400 ... all very dismal ratios with an exception of 12/50 from Vinod:). Then I made them play the beauty contest game. Everyone wrote down a number between 0 and 100 on a sheet of paper with their name and gave to me. We calculated the gathering's average - it was 45. Deepak was the lucky winner as he had written exact 45. He was happy to have won himself a free signed copy of the book!

After the game, the questions kept pouring from all corners ...

  • Don't you think its wasy for girls in engineering?
  • How about corporate world? How do you suggest women deal with the skewed sex ratio at work?
  • Writing a book is a heart's work. How did you control it and fit it in your 8.30 - to 2.30 work regime?
  • And as much as people were enjoying asking questions, I was enjoying answering them. I also read a few excerpts. Infact on a request to read a humourous incident, I read an excerpt with another employee where he spoke Puja's dialogues and I spoke Tanu's. Everyone was laughing and commenting. I knew the event had gone well!

    I managed to run out of the stock of books I had taken to sell .. told the others to visit my site and order from there. Content and satisfied, I was driving back home, when I started wondering why some people had written numbers as high as 75 in the beauty contest game. If you read the book, I explain that even if everyone guesses 100, average would be 100 and the winnign answer would be 2/3 of 100 i.e 66.6. But if everyone guessed 66.6, average would be 66.6 and winning answer would be 2/3 of 66.6 i.e. 44.4 and so on ... Oh! no!! how stupid of me. I had forgotten to tell them that the winner would be the answer which was 2/3 of average. I had instead told them it was the average ... and then even confidently explained the logic on why the Nash equilibrium answer to this was 0 and so on ....

    Feeling horriblly foolish, I wrote a mail to the lady who had coordinated the event that I had made a mistake and apologized. She was ok and cool about it. Anyway ... guess the book-read was eventful, enagaging and yet another learning experience for me.

    For the event pics, checkout click here.



hi parul............. i have

hi parul............. i have read ur book heartbreaks and dreams. and that puja nd sukhi par d bst......u have really done a great job......


Dear Parul, I am Rajesh(from

Dear Parul,

I am Rajesh(from Pondicherry, currently residing in Delhi).

I read "Heartbreaks and Dreams" last weekend. This is my first fiction novel I have read. And the first book I have read in a single day. I liked certain chapters (perhaps of my nature and liking, I liked it most than others) 1. The Mumbai beach scene where Tanu walks on the footprints of Champ in the seashore - I definitely felt the softness and crushing sound of the sand (which has dried after Champ stepped). More than that the warmth she had. {If it happens like that to me (in some other form) I would be happyJ} 2. And the way the Champ proposed in India Gate - Imagining the walk in Rajpath the yellow light on both sides of the road amidst the mist (which doesn’t let you see the person in the opposite) in winter would have been the best platform to propose (especially in 1994), it was like proposing on a dusk or a dawn in Dal Lake in Srinagar(which I am having in mind for the better half J).

And BTW, let me introduce myself. I am Rajesh. We met in Aricent, Gurgoan on 2-July-2010, Friday. I asked you a question who would be the actress you would prefer to do the role of Tanu. (Your choice was Deepika Padukone). However in my humble opinion my choice would be (National Award Winner) Priyamani who could bring all the emotions very well. (Do consider :-) . I hope you know Priyamani, if not she has recently acted as sister of Abishek Bachan in Raavan. (Acted in National Award Tamil film Paruthiveeran – Recommended)

Looking forward more works from you on other genres especially some humorous stories.
Wishing you a huge success in this avatar(writing).



Hi Parul, lovely post. I was

Hi Parul, lovely post. I was in India a couple of weeks ago - too bad this did not happen then.
Congrats on the book and thanks for sharing it with folks @ HSC

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Parul Mittal (maiden name Parul Agarwal) is the author of a national bestseller novel “Heartbreaks & Dreams! – The Girls @ IIT”. Her second book “Arranged Love” captured the hearts of Indian youth. Let's Have Coffee is her third novel and promises to be a humorous and fun light read.

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