Photo by CDC on Unsplash


On Being a Virus

Sharing my name with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19

Hi, I am Covid but with a K. My name comes from an ancient language. In Sanskrit, the literal meaning of Kovid is intelligent or poet. People keep asking me — what does your name mean? It’s usual for Indian names to have a literal meaning.

I was quite fed up of introducing myself as an intelligent guy or a poet until the WHO gave my name a new life. Now, I am a virus too. An intelligent, poetic virus.

Growing up, I never aspired to be a virus was never part of the plan. I always wanted to do something with computer engineering and music and cricket and cosmology and a lot of other things. I definitely wanted to be intelligent and a poet too, obviously. But life surprises you in all kinds of funny ways.

I see poetic justice when I connect myself with this virus through this name. How, you ask? Well, I have always been a parasite, feasting on all the money and wasting all the resources I could get from my family. That’s pretty much been my life. So, in a way, I have already been showing traits of being a virus. Now, the WHO has just confirmed it.

My name is Kovid — a Sanskrit word. I have been called Kobid, Koveed, Kovit, Kewvid, Kovee, Govid, Govith, Kovind, Govind, Koovid, Kuvaid and also Komal (I have no idea what went down there). And I have faced this in my home country, sometimes even in my own city. It’s been a recurring theme, explaining how to pronounce this word and what it means.

The good thing to come out of this COVID-19 nomenclature for me is that now at least people will know how to pronounce my name. A couple of months ago, I stumbled upon a piece by Shruti Das talking about how she had been mispronouncing her own name for 20 years. A lot of people around the world face this problem. I don’t take it too seriously but still responded to her post with admiration.

Oh and by the way, wash your hands people. Please find more information here on WHO’s website.



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Kovid Rathee

Kovid Rathee


I write about tech, Indian classical music, literature, and the workplace among other things. 1x engineer on weekdays.