We can't see you (Source: Flickr) Photograph: (Others)
The most common Indian name is neither Rahul nor Priya.
I'm not sure about you, but while working in India, I've almost always come across colleagues named Rahul or Priya. What's more, their surnames have almost always been Singh, Sharma or Kumar. At some point, I sort of assumed that the combination of those first and last names equalled the most common names at Indian organisations. Until recently. Almost a decade into the workforce and I can now say with near certainty that the one name you'll most definitely come across at every Indian set-up is "Concerned Department."
What's more, I've come to recognise certain qualities or characteristics particular to Concerned Departments irrespective of where they work. For instance, you'll find that the Concerned Department at your workplace isn't a one-track, one-team employee. The role of Concerned Department goes above and beyond mundane designations and divisions; their function is multi-pronged, spread across verticles and surprisingly intrinsic to how you're able to perform your straight-jacketed role.
They're also supremely elusive beings, their work so discrete, that it's near a given that you'll never really speak to or see them. You can't even be certain of which gender-specific pronoun to use for them. Are they "he" or "she" or beyond gender normativity?
But, every few months you'll cross paths with them via email or letter, phone call or text. If you don't at your own office, you will certainly at someone else's. At your local electricity department for instance. When you call them, asking why in god's name you've been running on power back up for the last gazillion hours, you'll be told that your complaint has been forwarded to Concerned Department and that they're looking into it. I usually breathe a sigh of relief at this point. Because if it's reached Concerned Department it's got to be good, right?
I mean, Concerned Department at places I've worked at have been the authority on addressing such a wide spectrum of issues they seem omnipresent and omnipotent: non-starting computers, dodgy internet speeds, leave requests, change in designation, change in department, problems with the boss, problems with the guy who acts like your boss... you get my drift?
It's quite unbelievable that I haven't ever met a Concerned Department, given how they've shaped the trajectory of my life as a professional, and the smooth (or more often than not) carrying out of my day to days as an adult. But, despite the ambiguity on who they are and what they do, I know this for sure: they matter. They're the ones who can fast track that piped LPG connection or the ones who can slow down that pending reimbursement.
For me the link between the Concerned Departments of the world and undefined power is clear, it's obvious. So much so, that I'm giving new credence to the theory that a name can shape your place and position in the scheme of things. Did I just bump CD up your list of probably baby names? You're welcome.