June 6, 2023

Bold and Bald Ketaki Jani shows in style how to battle Alopecia

Battling alopecia isn’t a joke. Especially in a country where there are unwarranted stares, comments, advices, suggestions and more that make one feel less loved.

Ketaki Jani is a mom, a fighter, beauty pageant contestant and vocal about accepting alopecia, a medical condition where individuals lose hair on their body. Talking about her life journey, Ketaki shares with Mums and Stories, “Let me confess very bluntly that I was a unique child, unwanted & unloved. My birth was disliked as the arrival of a stone as a girl child is considered a burden. Traditionally, it was a very bad and sad childhood which no one should have. But there were silver lines on these dark black clouds too. I have some great and sweet memories with my grandparents and maternal uncle, as I spent my childhood with mom’s family. I consider that period as my golden time and perhaps I am also alive thanks to that upbringing and all above mentioned great souls.”

Ketaki started losing her hair in her early 40’s. From someone being a woman next-door managing her world, she had to work the way around to manage unwarranted stares that would reflect sympathy or rude comments. Suddenly she found herself losing hair in patches. She shares, “That day was Friday, 7th May 2010. It was a dreadful way. I was sitting in the office. Suddenly my hand went behind my head, perhaps to find something as there was little itching.  As my hand was moving in my hair, behind my ear I felt a touch of skin. One colleague told me that there was a small hairless patch and it was shining in hairs. But I never knew that damn small shining patch was a poisonous cobra out to swallow my peace, smile and emotional, mental, social and health balance.  I had to fight this first attack of alopecia. In the process I fell, got hurt, prayed, and cried. Still somehow I lived. And yes, I lived to win.

Initially I was shocked and shattered. I was desperately trying to save my vanishing hair. I tried all types of medicines. I was ashamed, afraid to be seen. People used to stare at me with insults; their eyes were full of questions. Without declaring they started hating me and even began to keep a distance from me. To run away from prying eyes, I used to go to the office earlier and sit there till night. Alopecia flung me into a deep sea of depression. I thought of committing suicide too as the changes in my looks were quite sudden and I really didn’t have answers to all the questions.

Ketaki had also visited many doctors only to be informed that this was non- treatable. With time she subjected herself to medications, consultations, her methods of hiding her baldness with scarves and even steroids. Slowly she found herself inching towards depression. It was only when she decided to accept alopecia that she found peace. Today she sports with aplomb her bald look that is tattooed and brings out the confidence to accept herself.

Ketaki with her kids. ( All Photographs subject to copyright)

Talking about her kids who have been her biggest supporters , Ketaki shares, “ My daughter Punyaja and son Kunj, both who are Physiotherapists are God’s blessings. They are not only my strengths; they are my reason to live. They loved their hairless mother unconditionally like before. Looking at my hesitation and fear, Punyaja offered to go bald, just for my sake. I am proud of both of them. I am thankful to my two pets Puku and Niki for their unconditional love, affection and emotions. I am really blessed to have all these four in my life.”

Talking about being vocal on alopecia at several awareness programs, Ketaki shares, “Yes, I am vocal on alopecia and bring about awareness. This autoimmune disorder is centuries old but our society hides it. They torment and torture Alopecian for none of their fault. It leads to suicide, divorce, self-isolation and depression.  According to me, there is no clear cut reason which leads to alopecia and simultaneously there is no sure shot treatment. First of all we must accept alopecia. They deserve Love, respect and acceptance.  For this purpose I am having a Facebook page ‘Accept and support Alopecia’. For this reason, so many people contact me through messenger.  Few were inspired to live normal life again because of our interactions.

One thing on alopecia is that one must understand, in most of the cases, it is not hereditary. There are few cases which may be genetic. Also having this condition is neither sin nor crime. It is not contagious too. I explain to Alopecian that in spite of running to regain hairs and crying-dying for them, let’s live without them. If a person can live without a hand, leg or even eye, what is wrong in being bald? I appeal to all with folded hands that accept and respect bald youngsters like your normal friends. They need you badly. Instead of pushing them into the dark ally of depression or death, be their reason to live and smile.”    

Ketaki Jani – Alopecia awareness fighter

Talking about winning a beauty pageant Ketaki Jani shares with Mums and Stories, “Just for fun, I applied for a pageant in Mumbai. I wanted to drive home the point that BALD CAN BE BEAUTIFUL. I knew it was not easy. I was mentally ready to be rejected in the selection round itself. But there were sensible and sensitive people on the jury. They liked my confidence, determination and motto too. I was selected and the rest is history. Then it started pouring awards, trophies and titles. I became India’s first bald beauty pageant. In the Philippines, I won my first international title too. I started getting invitations for ramp walks, motivational speaker and being a judge in beauty contests too. This journey is going on. I am doing all these for my mission of alopecia awareness.  Destiny snatched away hair but gifted me so much.”

4 thoughts on “Bold and Bald Ketaki Jani shows in style how to battle Alopecia

  1. Ketaki Jani is awesome personality. She is heroine my novel AGNIJA. Moreover, I am ready with one more book on her called ‘BALD & BKESSED. She is Everest of positivity. Kudos KJ

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