It was a joyous occasion at the Chatterjee household as they welcomed their first progeny to the world. House number 233 in the IIM Vastrapur campus was soon flooded with friends, relatives, colleagues and students of Prof. Sachin Chatterjee, a recent recruit to the campus.
Sachin realized the gravity of the responsibility that the universe had placed upon him and almost had his insides tumbling out. But, soon, he regained his composure and decided that he was going to take this one step at a time, and off course, the first duty for him was to give his boy a suitable name.
As expected, the family priest set the initial conditions for the name depending on the boy’s credentials while born. A time for the naming ceremony was also fixed and the priest with a typical swagger directed the couple to have something concrete by then as his slot and the divine master’s were booked for the next two months.
Mrs. Chatterjee: What’s the matter darling? You seem worried.
Sachin: Oh! It’s nothing. It’s just that the whole name thing is driving me crazy.
Mrs. Chatterjee: I know it’s going to be tough to arrive at a final name from the huge list of suggestions we have got, but let’s work on it. I’m sure we’ll just hit at the perfect name.
Sachin: But, this is just impossible. We have 42 names to choose from. It’s like the universe mocking us to get through this quandary to experience the answer to life and everything beyond life. We are going to disappoint somebody and the last thing we need is to have a grumpy kindred look at our boy as the one whose progenitors didn’t take his counsel.
Mr & Mrs Chatterjee thought long and hard for a good hour. They seemed to be hitting a dead end as to how they would choose a suitable name, get buy-in from the priest and also placate their relatives.
Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the penny dropped. It was blissfully simple and Sachin wondered how it hadn’t hit him earlier given how frequently he employed it to solve tetra-lemmas and septa-lemmas in his professional life. He let out a huge sigh of relief.
Mrs. Chatterjee: What now? You got an idea?
Sachin: Yes. Indeed. I think, we ordinary mortals should not bother ourselves with these issues. We just look to a higher power.
Mrs. Chatterjee: Oh! I See. You mean, you are just going to ask the priest to select a name?
Sachin: No. Still higher.
Mrs. Chatterjee: For God’s sake, don’t tell me you have planned a pilgrimage visit somewhere, just to select our boy’s name
Sachin: For heaven’s sake! Not at all. I’m talking of a still higher power.
Mrs. Chatterjee: Ok. Now, I feel that you are just going overboard with your jokes. You very well know that we don’t have a butler like Jeeves.
Sachin: No no! Come closer. I’ll tell you.
The couple then slept soundly with snores, the likes of which the institution had not heard in decades, with the noise reverberating through the campus.
Next day, the house was all decked up in vibrant colors with the expected naming ceremony. Relatives and friends were in full attendance with the house filled with the holy words of the priests.
It was now time for the auspicious moment. All eyes were on the gentle professor as he readied himself to call upon the higher power. There was an inherent tension in the air as people waited with bated breaths with many clasping their mouths with their hands. The tension just increased as the sacred moment approached with all the relevant celestial bodies gravitating towards occupying favourable coordinates.
It was now the moment of truth and the priest gave Sachin the green signal. Sachin, in turn quickly checked the formula utilizing the randbetween and the vlookup functions and hit the enter key on the laptop sitting rather conspicuously beside him.
All hell broke loose! The output cell had returned a name. There was chaos all around with the sheer noise drowning out the priests’ chants. People walked up to the young couple to congratulate them on their new journey. Sachin was experiencing more relief than joy that it all worked out well and let out a silent prayer to a Redmond based divinity for solving yet another predicament in his life.
Yagnesh is a member of LSD. He wrote this when contemplating on ways to push the frontiers of sophisticated randomization.