Meet Ketaki Jani, a 46-year-old woman who has battled universal alopecia, a medical condition in which hair falls out in round patches. She was just 40 when she suddenly started losing her hair in patches and in the next six months, she lost all hair on her body.
“I started taking treatment and started consuming a lot of steroids, but nothing helped. The treatment started showing its side effects. But, I was not able to digest the fact that I was bald and due to this I went into severe depression. For three years, I was just battling my depression. I used to get suicidal thoughts,” said Jani, while expressing what her emotional state was like after being immediately diagnosed with alopecia.
Jani works as a special officer at Balbharati for Gujarati language in Pune. “My profession requires a lot of reading. Many Gujarati authors that I used to read, helped me overcome my depression,” she said.
She explains that her husband and her daughter also helped her to overcome her depression.
“People will talk about your baldness. But do not let your life be affected by their comments. You have just lost hair, but not yourself. Live your life,” were the words of my daughter, who constantly motivated me.
“Now I have even stopped wearing scarves and caps. I have accepted my baldness absolutely” she adds. Jani has even contested many beauty contests and have even won awards in them. In 2016, she was the top ten finalists in Mrs India World Wide. Then, in May 2017, she participated in ‘Mrs India: She is India’, which was a beauty pageant for married women.
“I participated in these contests to make my own fashion statement and to say that conventional norms of beauty are not the only way to look at beauty. The society ridicules the bald women and then women are forced to commit suicides. I wanted this to stop and the beauty pageant gave me an opportunity to put out my stand,” she said.
She added, “Why should I follow the norms of beauty set by society? I do not follow any beauty norms, but have created my own fashion statement: ‘bald is beautiful.”
Jani now has her own Facebook page. Many women suffering from this autoimmune disorder are connected with her via social media. She counsels them. “Apart from my routine daily life, I am busy giving these women an advice that life is beautiful and bald is also beautiful