AKA - Oodhu Paavai.
To my knowledge it all started immediately after I posted the video to YouTube on the 20/09/2021. A random Indian YouTube account had reposted it to their channel with a completely fabricated name and backstory.
But apparently it was only once the video was sent around via WhatsApp that the video started gaining steam.
I always watermark my work in a corner so people can trace them back to me, but it had been so poorly ripped from YouTube and compressed multiple times so that when it ended up on WhatsApp which also has its own compression, made the watermark very hard to read and ruined the visual clarity of the video, leading to it being more mysterious and believable due to its lack of detail.
Luckily there were copies out there of better quality and 2 days after posting to YouTube I started receiving some messages via Instagram all asking the same question, “is this real?”. I was flattered, but then some of these people started telling me the sources of where they had seen the video. Which ranged from botanical forums to government officials on Twitter.
I found this all very funny and waited to see what happened. I was soon tagged in multiple twitter posts from doctors and government officials who had reposted the fake information without checking a thing. Many people commenting to say its fake and created by me, while others but thought it was an amazing discovery.
I let this go on for a while as I found it hilarious. But eventually I piped up and left some comments saying it was me who made it. Some people many days later after pressure from the community started deleting their posts, others blocked me to save themselves from embarrassment. There are only a couple of posts that remain from the people who sent it viral. But you can still type in Oodhu Paavai, into Twitter and see the amount it was reshared.
For about 3 weeks after, this video continued to spread and didn’t slow down, I was then seeing it appearing in small newspapers in the US and RT from Russia. The icing on the cake was a written interview with USA Today where they fact checked me.
I was overjoyed it made it all around the world in such a short time. But it also showed me how fast bad information can spread, but oh well!