Social media star: Meet Karl Rock, the Kiwi YouTuber who was praised by the Delhi Chief Minister
Four years ago on one of his annual trips to India, New Zealand YouTuber Karl Rock, 35, decided to pick up a Go Pro worth $400 and start filming his journey to every state in India. His intention was simple: to make visitors to India feel less intimidated. (We have no reason to believe he is like any other non-Indian social media star who is turning to India for the sheer number of followers and likes it provides.)
One of his videos, in which he walks around a neighbourhood in Haryana speaking with the locals in Hindi, went viral, clocking nearly 5.2 million views. Now, his channel has over 1 million subscribers.
That’s cool, but what brings him here?
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted on July 10 about the Kiwi YouTuber who donated plasma after he recovered from the coronavirus infection.
“Long ago, when I had heard that the Tablighi Jamaatis had donated plasma, I made up my mind that if I ever got infected, I’d donate too. So when I recovered, I went to the clinic and was blown away with the facilities and the hygiene. It was a fairly simple and safe procedure.”
Karl is elated that Kejriwal called him a “Delhiite”. “Donating plasma was my way to assimilate and give back to Incredible India.”
Tryst with India
Karl moved to India permanently in 2016. “When I lost my job in the IT sector in Auckland, I decided it was now or never. It took time to convince my folks, but I was successful.”
His now wife, then girlfriend, who he met in 2016 was part of the reason. The couple got married in 2018 and Karl posts cute videos of his desi avatar. “My wife is from Haryana so the Haryanvi culture in the house is powerful and they have happily made me part of that,” he shares.
The social dilemma
He picked up the camera after he moved to India and has faced a lot of hate online, he says. “It comes from people who do not understand what I’m doing or who think I’m trying to bring India down. All I want to do is educate foreigners about India and show them the bright side. With time, I have learnt to ignore the negativity and focus on the positive instead.”
After the Hindi video, Indians also began sharing his videos. “People might be conservative here, but India welcomed me with open arms and now home is here,” he says.
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From HT Brunch, September 21, 2020
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