I always heard, for a long time, about hair donation being done for cancer patients. But I never thought of doing it impulsively.
Being a professional dancer, I keep travelling to new places to perform with my team. While I was on tour for one of such events, I came across a few cancer survivors who have undergone chemotherapy and radiation. All the survivors whom I met had lost their hair.
Most of them were aged between the 20s and 40s. Some of them were even younger. After meeting them, I realised that it was very easy for a healthy person to grow back their hair to normal. However, all those cancer survivors who underwent radiation, chemotherapy have a very slow hair growth rate.
Few of them with whom I had a conversation told me that every time they looked into the mirror, there was a lot of trauma that they recalled. They told me that it stressed them to look at their reflection in the mirror. And after such interactions, I decided to donate my hair.
All my life, I was made to feel that hair is an essential part of one's physical appearance. In reality, of course, who doesn't want beautiful hair. But losing hair due to some medical conditions is something that is beyond one's control.
After donating hair, I received mixed responses from others. Some people just laugh about it while others feel that I'm breaking the conventional definition of beauty. These things don't bother me at all, and I feel I have done very little to support the journey of cancer survivors.
At times, without hair, it is difficult to get that perfect look during my performances. For instance, a Satyabhama in Bhamakalapam dance performances needs to wear long hair, which is till knees. Instead, now I use hair extensions every time before such performances. So, I don't see much of a challenge now and I could manage it easily.
I have also performed a lot of male characters in a lot of dance dramas, wherein I used a male wig.
Till today after I shaved, not a single day, I tried to cover up my head with a cap or scarf or anything. Frankly, if you ask me how it feels, I have no words to express. It's more like exploring your inner self. Now, I do not take much time dressing up now.
It doesn't matter if you've got hair or thin hair or no hair at all, you need to accept yourself just the way you are. Never bother about making an impression on anybody. Stay confident just in the way you are, and there lies your real beauty.