Meghna Apparao Amazon India

Being Brave is tough. Teaching our kids about Being Brave is tougher. Coz they observe you, they can see you and see-thru you (the Lil Rascals!). I like to talk to my kids as little adults – I talk about what makes me happy or sad or nervous… and what I already did or what I plan to do about it. I am pleasantly surprised about how they soak it in.

This time, my 10-year-old was unhappy, nervous and stressed about my decision to go bald. She loves long tresses and it was breaking her heart. To engage her, I decided to ‘appoint’ her the official photographer and videographer. It has been a mind-blowing success for me (just look at the pix, all her!) and for her … she was busily engaged in shooting the whole process at the salon and capturing it perfectly, that the pain of seeing a bald head not just receded but vanished! The ‘A-ha’ moment was when she excitedly whispered, “Mamma, it’s looking cool!” And busied herself in setting up the ‘reveal’ photo. Ta-da!

My young adult has been oscillating between the lackadaisical “Ya, whatever” to “Mamma, you are out of your mind. Papa, can you come to school for all parents events for the next few months, coz this is embarrassing”. One evening before the D-day, I was pondering about this and said out loud, “Well if you think is gonna be SOOO bad(Read: with dramatic effect), I can get a skinhead look, so at least I have a head of hair.” I was expecting her to jump at this and say, “Cool idea”. Instead, she nonchalantly says, “Mamma, Go Big or Go Home!” It was such a proud moment – I knew then that I was doing something right. Our kids are braver than we know, bolder than we think and can be kinder than we believe. They see through our fears and sadness and absorb them, so let’s begin by quelling our own. Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Kind. Be Crazy!

And… if you are wondering what this is all about ….here’s my full story.

2018, was ‘the best of times and the worst of times. Some wonderful dreams came true and I also suffered deep loss. The sharp yo-yo of emotions, when everything looks wonderful on the outside but there is sharp pain inside was hard and learning to self-heal while getting on with life was much harder. I like to make things happen, I like to get things done. This time, I learnt to ‘give-it-time’. I didn’t think much would improve and I am amazed that it has. I get it now. Time is a healer. I also wanted to felt a strong urge to do something meaningful, purposeful and hard for me to do – joy and pain at the same time. So I did. I decided to shave my head to donate my hair for underprivileged cancer patients to get wigs (natural hair wigs can cost up to Rs. 25000!). This spiralled into an idea #baldforacause where well-meaning friends sparked the idea of #cashnothair (they wanted to contribute cash so I didn’t need to do this ‘weird act of insanity’). Knowing me, I wanted my cake and wanted to eat it too! I decided to fundraise for the Cancare Foundation, Chennai (www.cancarefoundation.com) where I know the trustee personally (so authenticity is guaranteed). They are doing wonderful work for underprivileged Cancer patients. My kids asked me how much I would raise – I had no clue. I hoped for a lakh. I am ecstatic that I have already raised ~3 lakhs and counting! You can contribute too #cashnothair!

Going through all this, what impacted me most was the revelation of the fears we carry inside us, the ones that hold us back, the ones that make us hold others back. The ones that stop us from ‘Go big or go home’. There was a monster out there, I hugged it. And it turned out to be a real cool dude! #baldisbeautiful – I expected to be on self-imposed house arrest till (some) hair grew back. But strangely, it felt weirdly normal (even cool!) to me. This seemed to rub off on the folks around me too. After the initial reaction of “Oh! It’s you!” to “the looks brings our your jawline” or “your smile lights up your eyes”. Some folks called it ‘brave’, ‘courageous’ and my personal favourite, ‘fierce’. Some even made profound remarks about how I now radiate inner confidence. The most special were the ones who were moved to generosity (thank you all the most-est!) and contributed to #cashnothair. I’ll take them all and just say, “Let’s unstereotype”. Here’s to many more adventures to add more smiles. Spread the cheer in the Happy New Year!

From #baldforacause to #baldisbeautiful: It would be wonderful if you can contribute (#cashnothair!), to make it easy for you I have set up a campaign on ketto (social crowdfunding), so it takes just 2-3 mins to contribute. Just click on the ketto link, and do share it forward! No amount is too small http://ket.to/baldforacause-cancer-care-for-underprivileged