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 with 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; that was never part of the plan. I always wanted to do something with computer engineering, music, cricket, cosmology, and many 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 I 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.