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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

‘My name is Kovid and I’m not a virus’: How life of a ‘namesake’ changed in the pandemic

While his name, which means scholar or learned in Hindi, has always intrigued people, the hilarity it evokes hasn’t worn off even as the pandemic enters its third wave.

Written by Shreya Das | Kolkata |
Updated: January 10, 2022 12:13:25 pm
kovid kapoor, holidify kovid kapoor, man named kovid corona jokes, covid 19 memes, kovid meaning, viral news, indian expressThe man said he often has to take out his identity card to prove it's his real name.

While having a common name can create lots of confusion in our day-to-day lives, a man named Kovid has been having his share of limelight amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, without being offended or being bogged down by countless jokes, he’s been basking in the joy. Now a thread of some of his interesting encounters has gone viral.

When the pandemic hit, Kovid Kapoor, co-founder of the trip planning site Holidify, took to Twitter to put out a disclaimer: “My name is Kovid and I’m not a virus.” However, confusion and hilarity haven’t ceased to flow.

Kovid tweeted how people were amused by his name when he went on his first foreign trip since the pandemic started. Soon, his tweet garnered a lot of attention, and he spoke to about how he took this “as an opportunity to make some light jokes about it” and keep going in such gloomy times.

The 31-year-old businessman based in Bengaluru admitted that running a travelling business through the pandemic has been an “absolute nightmare” but that his sense of humour helped keep his mood light. “We went through a lot of stress to manage our company, and now we’re staring at another wave that’s just getting started. I almost always start my calls with new people with a quick joke about my name!” he said in an email interview, adding that it “works better than generic small talk”.

As his tweet blew up on the platform, feeling like a “mini-celeb”, he shared a full thread recounting some of the “memorable” moments, which even included #Covid-30 being written on his birthday cake!

There have been moments where he says even Gmail was in confusion about his name. But he believes in making lemonade when life gives you “sour” lemons. He also admitted to not using his real names sometimes; revealing his name got everyone laughing at a coffee shop once.

Asked if he is ever bothered by the jokes, the man said he had learnt to take it all in his stride. “It’s a joke that will probably not get old for the rest of my lifetime, so I’ve made my peace with it,” he said.

“Sometimes, though, when I’m in no mood for a conversation—while getting a coffee, booking a table reservation, I use an alternative name—Kabir Kapoor—so that there’s no chance of talking about it,” he admitted.

While jokes surrounding his name started in 2020, the entrepreneur admitted that his name, which means “learned or scholar” in Hindi, had always intrigued people since his childhood. “It’s an extremely uncommon name—to the point that I’ve met only one other Kovid in life. And yes, we bonded over the joke after the pandemic,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say I got attention but yes I’ve always been complimented on my name—how it sounds and what it means,” he said.

Asked how he reacted for the first time he learned that the disease caused by the novel coronavirus would be known as Covid-19, he said: “A friend of mine shared that news with me, and I was quite amused.”

Of course, he admitted he didn’t know then how big the pandemic would be or about its long-lasting impact. But he knew he had to keep his humour alive through it.

While the infectious disease’s name has often been used as a racial slur, particularly in anti-Asian hate crimes, Kapoor was lucky he didn’t encounter anything like that. “I was in Sri Lanka and people were nothing but extremely nice—and they were always pleasantly/mildly amused with the name. But thankfully no negative incident,” he said.

His tweets got everyone talking online, and he was glad to bring in some respite as Omicron fears loom large.

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