Everywhere else in this world, the word corona triggers a sense of alarm and concern except in a locality in this south Kerala town, where it is uttered with love and amusement now.
A young woman may come to you any time with a smile and folded hands, introducing herself as “Corona” if you travel through Mathilil ward which is in Kollam Corporation, these days.
She is Corona Thomas, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Mathilil ward in the local body elections due next month.
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Corona goes for campaigning and house visits wearing a mask and gloves and offering sanitizers to the public while meeting and greeting them seeking votes.
She is also very particular in ensuring social distancing as part of the fight against the virus.
The 24-year old woman said though the name had caused her embarrassment and pain during the initial days of the COVID-19 outbreak, it has now turned out to be a blessing in disguise during the election campaign.
“Because of my name, everyone recognises and remembers me during the campaign. Wherever I go, people call my name with amusement. I hope this name will help voters to remember me on election day and make them cast votes in my favour,” Corona told PTI.
She said her artist father, Thomas Francis, who had picked rare names for her and her twin brother, might never have thought that one day it would be the same as a contagious viral infection which brought the world to a standstill and turned everyone’s life topsy-turvy.
Francis had picked the name Corona, which means halo for daughter while choosing Coral for his son.
Corona said even during school days, the name used to cause her embarrassment as friends and classmates used to mock her asking why she had such a name which was totally unheard of.
“It also earned me many nicknames during school time. But things got serious when the virus spread worldwide. Slogans like ‘Go Corona’ and ‘Kill Corona’ really irritated me in the beginning,” she said.
Ironically, a pregnant Corona had tested positive for the virus when her due date was just days away recently. But, successfully battling the virus, she and her baby survived the infection.
Though she had recovered from the infection, post-disease effects like heaviness in the chest and breathing issues were still causing her some difficulty. Her husband Jinu is an active member of BJP which helped Corona take the electoral plunge.
Stating that she had positive hopes about a victory, Corona believed her name would finally bring in some luck when the ballot boxes are opened.
In spite of all the publicity and media attention garnered by his wife because of the name, Jinu has a complaint.
“Non-stop talk with journalists takes the lions share of her time and we are finding it hard to get time for campaigning,” he said with a smile.
Not just the woman but two shops also grab eyeballs for the name “Corona” in Kerala.
George, who runs an interior designer shop in Kottayam district, would never have thought that the name of his shop would make news one day while choosing it seven years ago.
He said more out of amusement and curiosity, people were coming to the shop nowadays after the COVID-19 outbreak and business was flourishing.
A garment shop in Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district also has the name Corona and interestingly its owner, Pareed is popularly known as “Corona Pareed” for several years.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)