As I type this, I am bald. Or, at least, close to it. I have about a quarter of an inch of hair on my head.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
St. Baldrick’s, sponsored by the Roundel fraternity, was last Thursday, April 11. All of the shaves who had signed up had to arrive at PepsiCo Center at 6:30 pm to check in, turn in any cash donations, and basically get ready for the event. Most of the OZOs and Roundels were shaving their heads, but what I’m proudest of is the fact that there were fourteen women who shaved their heads too. I knew two of them–a friend from Alpha Psi Omega, the theatre fraternity and a friend from work.
I wanted to do St. Baldrick’s last year, but I found out about it too late and didn’t know anyone else doing it or what I had to do to sign up. This year, I signed up early and managed to raise about $310. In 2008, soon after I moved to the US from India, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I didn’t get to see her again before she died in 2009. However, my mother went back to India to spend some time with her. During that time, my grandmother had her head shaved because the chemotherapy caused her hair to become matted and difficult to manage. According to my mother, that was one of the few times she’s ever seen my grandmother lose composure. After the shaving, my grandmother never let anyone else see her bald, always wearing a scarf or a hat to cover her head. My hair isn’t as important to me as my grandmother’s was to her, but I felt that doing St. Baldrick’s (more than donating any amount of money to cancer research) would be the best way to honor her.
The event started off with two nine-year-old girls getting their heads shaved. The fact that such young children were ready to lose their hair was really inspiring.
Then, the men started getting their heads shaved. They all lined up, and six barbers were hard at work with their clippers.
At about 8 pm, the men were told to wait, and the women were called up on stage. Finally, it was my turn. I’d been pretty nervous all day. Starting at about 6, I had become unable to sit still. So, at that point, I was ready to just get it over with.
I sat down, and the barber draped a green St. Baldrick’s cape over my clothes. Then the clippers started buzzing and soon large tufts of my hair were falling into my lap. People keep asking how it felt to have my head shaved, but that’s a really difficult question to answer. Honestly, all I could feel was the clippers moving against the side of my head. I didn’t really process the fact that I was bald until I walked off the stage and ran a hand over the stubble that used to be my hair.
Then my wonderful friends who had come to support me called me over to take some pictures together and feel my stubble, and from then on I was too buy to even think. But later that night, before I went to sleep, I realized that wherever she is, my grandmother is proud of me.
Life without hair has been interesting… Look out next week for some Bald Facts!
Posted on April 15th, 2013 by Rukmini Girish
Filed under: Rukmini Girish