Open Space

Why internet breaking over Sonali Bendre’s haircut disgusts me

Losing hair to cancer treatment is the least of the worry racing through the mind of the person battling any form of cancer - rare/common, metastatic or not, aggressive or not, genetic mutation or otherwise. It’s a journey and one of the toughest journeys ever.

‘As if I was tasting life for the first time, the magical side of it.’ were the words that an Indian actor had tweeted not so long ago, when he officially shared the news of being diagnosed with Cancer for the first time.

And recently the news of another Indian actress being diagnosed with “high grade metastatic Cancer” started to appear in the social media. And right at its heels came an emotional video of her getting that first haircut that a Cancer warrior gets after her/his first chemotherapy. And it almost broke the internet that day with the video being shared on all social media platforms by thousands, words, wishes, prayers, consolations, advice, more prayers, wishing strength, sending positive vibes, the false tears, the the media circus, sigh.

I couldn’t take it any more, the superficiality, the ignorance and the stupidity of people. And had to put this out there.

Please learn where to draw the line, people!

Remember, for those who are going through the same battle everyday, it’s not easy. It is painful. It is scary. It’s a very dark place.

Facing Cancer changes everything. It mangles, twists and warps the person forever. Imagine being pushed into a dark bottomless pit with your hand and feet tied, eyes covered and your mouth gagged. Many succumb to the fight, some fight on, some win, some give up, some quit. But each, in their own way, is fighting, to arm twist Life and negotiate for a little bit more time. To come out on the other side, scarred but alive. And no, they are not looking for your pity.

You can watch the abovementioned video and go “wow! She’s looking pretty! She’s so brave! She’s strong! Etc! Etc! Etc!”

Trust me, you HAVE NO IDEA. She’s crumbling inside, trying to clutch at every moment that’s slipping past. You can’t see all those regrets, those dreams, the hopes coming tumbling down all at once, flooding her mind and ebbing before she can fathom or get a grip over them.

You don’t understand what she is going through – how each snip of the scissor is sending shivers down her spine. She doesn’t know what lies ahead of her in the coming days. Whether her battle will be won or be a draw. It’s not easy standing where she is standing today.

Stop patronising her.

No, I won’t even ask you to understand or feel what she is going through. You can’t. So stop this shameless charade.

Also. Let me tell you this. Losing hair to cancer treatment is the least of the worry racing through the mind of the person battling any form of cancer – rare/common, metastatic or not, aggressive or not, genetic mutation or otherwise. It’s a journey and one of the toughest journeys ever.

C-A-N-C-E-R – just six letters, but one of those most dreaded words in the world that breaks all language barriers and hits the hardest when one hears it. The diagnosis, which is just the tip of the iceberg, is a death sentence. The journey through the sickness and its treatment is a journey through the depths of hell. A life facing Cancer and the lives surrounding it is a war zone. The last thing they seek is your pity.

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Soma Ghosh

Ex-Journalist. Blogs for Ei Samay. May write a book some day, just might.