“I am Ketaki Jani, an Ahmadabad born and Pune based government employee who Studied B.A, B.Ed & M.A.”
In our country where a lady is stereotyped to have long hair, how do bald women walk with confidence and glory? Ketaki Jani is one such woman, who fought with depression, Alopecia, stereotypes, and bullies.
She narrated her battle :
“I was leading a normal life like any other woman and everything was great. An amazing family with a daughter, a son & two dogs.
But one day I found a bald spot on my head while combing my hair. As the days passed, the size of the bald spot increased aggressively. I was shocked and panicked, and visited the doctor only to learn that the condition I was suffering from is called Alopecia and is untreatable.”
“Beauty is in soul, not hair” – Ketki Jani
“Soon I realized that nothing can be done now, and Alopecia removes every single strand of hair from the entire body. I lost all hair from my head in just one and a half month at the age of 40. Being a lady next door to the lady people would make fun of, my life turned upside down.
Even after losing my hair, the treatment had to be done. A series of consultations, medication, and steroids were given each day for two and a half years. It was too easy to give in to depression which I did and was on the verge of committing suicide.
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” – Confucius
In our society, being a bald woman is a joke, needless to say, a cruel one. Given that barely a few percents of bald people choose to have their heads as it is, while the rest struggle to accept the fact and spend time, money and efforts to prevent it from happening.
The Strong She
But defeating depression & coming out of it was a choice which I made. After which I accepted the truth and embraced my baldness. Before I walk in society with dignity, despite all the painful questions, it was crucial for me to accept that – Yes, I am bald but I have a soul, which is beyond looks, beyond comparison! I used to cry the whole day because acceptance wasn’t easy at all, and I was afraid to go out. I even stopped looking in the mirror.”
“Beauty is not bound to a single flavour, colour or shape. It may appear in any form.” – Tanishka Patidar
Ketaki was depressed because of her untreatable disease, but then came the turning point and the dawn for her.
“It was my daughter Punyaja, now a physiotherapist, who told me that I am beautiful as earlier and it didn’t matter what the society thinks. She explained at length: All have to die one day so why are you dying in instalments daily? For us, you are the same as you were yesterday.
It was then that I decided to accept what had happened and move on in life. I stopped taking steroids which would have had side-effects on my kidneys in the long run, and decided to shed my scarf and step out of my home with my beautiful face and shiny bald head.
“Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”
Of course, it wasn’t easy at first since I had people coming up to me and asking if I had cancer or some other deadly disease. Some even went on to tell me how my life had lost its meaning and there was nothing left in the world for a bald woman. Further, I am so much-cursed for the wrong deeds I did. I was asked if I were a widow! I could see sympathy and non-acceptance in society. Often, my condition was made fun of, by strangers passing by.”
Being strong is being cool
Her steps were short but strong. Ketki stood by her decision, confidence and herself.
She further said, “Now, that I had promised to myself that I will accept what fate had thrown at me, I decided to go through the excruciating procedure of getting my head tattooed, fulfilling my long-pending desire to have a tattoo.
I remember how I chose my head to have a tattoo, believing that God had given me a canvas and to make it more beautiful was my responsibility. The tattoo helped me win back the lost confidence as it made my condition look more like a fashion statement.
“True beauty is born through our actions and aspirations and in the kindness, we offer to others.” – Alek Wek
That’s how she came back!
Then I saw the Facebook page for the Mrs India Pageant and immediately applied for it. Although later I doubted the decision and felt I would get voted out in selection round itself. But a friend encouraged me to go ahead with it and give it a shot.
I did not only get selected but was praised for the guts & courage to have participated. We had different rounds in Dubai & Mumbai. Finale was at Delhi. I was complimented by the show’s judges, from whom I learned that going bald was out of choice for me but it is a fashion statement in Paris and other European countries and that I had an equal chance as any other participant.
Have you ever heard of a comic phrase “if life throws a lemon at you, make lemonade out of it.”? That’s exactly what Ketaki did. She turned her bald head into a canvas by decorating it with a beautiful tattoo.