Updated: June 10, 2021 12:21:07 pm
With the world battling the novel coronavirus and vaccination the only way forward, across the world, various incentives are being offered to boost the inoculation drive, such as free meals, vacations, and even dating apps giving users the option to flaunt “vaccinated” badges. In India, however, the incentive seems to have entered a quintessential desi institution — the arranged marriage.
A matrimonial advertisement of a woman who has taken the jab and is looking for a vaccinated groom,is breaking the internet. In the viral ad, a 24-year-old self-employed woman claims to have received both doses of Covishield, and is looking for a man who, along with other desirable traits, must be completely vaccinated. The cutout of the newspaper ad quickly garnered a lot of attention online, leaving many in splits. It even caught the attention of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who shared the ad saying: “No doubt the preferred marriage gift will be a booster shot!? Is this going to be our New Normal?”
As the ad went viral, while many were excited to see the interesting new criterion added to the list for seeking alliances, several people raised doubts over it genuineness.
Turns out, the ad was a “harmless” campaign launched by a man from Aldona, Goa, to influence people to get the Covid vaccine shot. Created by Savio Figueiredo, a community pharmacist, the ad had so many falling for it that Figueiredo’s phone has not stopped buzzing since.
His original post shared on Facebook last week had more than just the eye-catching matrimonial ad. Titled “The future of Matrimonials”, he shared the ad along with a phone number of a vaccination centre, explaining the revised dates to get the second dose of the injection, after the interval was increased.
Talking to IndianExpress.com, the 58-year-old said: “I created the ad with the intention of encouraging people to take the vaccine and posted it on my Facebook page. Some one got the bull by the tail, thought it was real, and now it has gone viral.”
Talking about his new-found fame and seeing humour in it all, he said he was in disbelief as he started getting calls from as far as Kolkata, Odisha and Mangaluru, enquiring about the marriage prospect.
Although Figueiredo stressed that it was never meant to go viral and the post was just for people on his friend list on the platform, he is happy that it reached a wider audience. Stressing that he had good intensions and there is “no harm done”, the middle-aged man added: “If even 10 people who are on the fence get vaccinated, I will be satisfied”.
Though his phone hasn’t stopped ringing, since his original number was mentioned in the fake ad, he doesn’t regret it much. “It was meant for just my friends on Facebook. But if it means that some people will get motivated and convinced to get vaccinated, I don’t care about the inconvenience,” he said.
Asked why he decided to create such an ad, Figueiredo said he firmly believes that even one does of the vaccine can save people’s lives, and after losing someone close, he was more determined to motivate others.
“I lost very dear friends in the second wave because they did not get vaccinated in spite of me begging them,” he said.
Although the ad is fake, it successfully started a conversation across social media platforms and many shared it, saying, this “should correctly be the norm”. “I hope I have succeeded in my purpose,” he added.
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