Yeh aapka real name hai kya? Abhi change kiya kya naam? – These are just a few amusing reactions that Bengaluru-based Kovid Kapoor is asked, ever since the pandemic hit, due to the stark similarity in his name and the Covid-19 virus. Inundated with calls since the last two days, the 31-year-old says that the last two years have made him conceal his real name whenever in a public place!
“Unless I have to make a hotel reservation or book a ticket, I don’t give out my name,” says the co-founder of a travel website, adding, “Jahan pe naam itna important nahi hota, like a restaurant reservation, I make do with someone else’s name ya apna naam kuch aur bata deta hoon. I have already received some amusing reactions at the airport security and check in counters, many a times. Most of them are busy so they will laugh for a second, and then say something like: ‘Ye kya naam hai? Baad mein change kiya kya?”
The similarity in names has even made holidaying a tricky affair for him. “After the first lockdown was lifted, we planned a trip and made a booking at a hotel. Within two hours, the hotel called me and went like, ‘Sir is this a joke? Yeh toh bahut hi funny naam hai! Are you sure?” laughs Kapoor, whose Twitter bio reads: ‘My name is Kovid and I’m not a virus.’
He, however, wonders how his name suddenly started trending on social media, given that we are in the pandemic since almost two years now. Kapoor recalls, “The virus got the name Covid, in February 2020. At that time, a friend of mine sent me the WHO tweet and it was obvious that the name is similar to my name in terms of its pronunciation and spelling. It was certainly amusing to me then… But I don’t know what happened this time. I have been making and hearing so many jokes since the last one year, and some of them I tweeted three days ago and went to sleep. When I looked at my social media account again, it had gone absolutely crazy.”
His wife is “not as amused” as him, he says, adding, “My wife is a bit tired of it already. She has been dealing with jokes on my name since the last two years. And since the last couple of days, I’ve been on my phone and laptop for something or the other almost all the time. So she’s sitting in the room, waiting for all this to get over!”
The IIT Bombay graduate adds his parents are extremely thrilled with the sudden attention coming his way. “Yeh joke mere parents ko toh bahut saare log bolte hain: Aapko sapna aaya tha kya 1990 mein!”
And as far as his employees are concerned, Kapoor informs that his team meetings can never been the same like the pre-pandemic times. He shares, “When we had team meetings to discuss the impact of Covid situation, it became quite amusing that the words Covid and Kovid would get mixed up so often that I had to lay extra emphasis in pronouncing them carefully and would often end up asking – Are you talking about Covid or Kovid?”
Author tweets @anjuri