Senior civil police officer Aparna Lavakumar is clear that she does not care for feminine beauty ideals. But when the 46-year-old Kerala policewoman got her head tonsured on Tuesday, she wasn’t just challenging beauty standards, but lending her support and knee-length tresses to a noble cause.
Aparna donated her hair to make wigs for cancer patients on Tuesday.
“It can be unnerving when you lose your hair after chemotherapy. I wanted to show support by going bald and normalising it,” she tells TNM. A mother of two who works in the all women’s police station in Irinjalakuda in Thrissur, Aparna decided to donate her hair after she met a class-5 student who was battling cancer during an awareness drive in a local school.
“These children go through a lot of bullying because they are bald. Apart from their illness and issues related to treatment, comments and stares from classmates can also add to their worries,” Aparna adds.
Days after meeting the young student who was battling cancer, the 44-year visited a local parlour in Ollur to shave her hair. She added that she decided to go entirely bald on a whim.
“I had earlier too donated my hair for the cause. But I retained shoulder length hair and donated the rest. This time, I wanted to go all out and do the maximum I can to help these patients. Besides, I have never much cared about appearances” she says. Though the officer chose not to announce her selfless act, the local parlour posted a picture of her on their Facebook page which was later picked up by the media.
Apart from her making headlines, the officer was also appreciated by the Thrissur rural district police chief N Vijayakumar IPS, who granted her permission to get her hair shaved.
“The Kerala police manual have some rules regard the uniform. You cannot grow beards or shave your head (both male and female officers) unless the reasons are convincing. Aparna’s was a positive action and I was more than willing to grant her permission to donate her hair. In fact, this is the first time I have seen an officer donate all their hair for a cause. It is commendable,” Thrissur rural police chief Vijayakumar IPS tells TNM.
This is not the first time that the senior civil police officer has made news. Back in 2008, Aparna donated her gold bangles to get a dead body released from a private hospital as the family could not afford to pay the hospital bill. The officer was conducting an inquest in a murder case in Ollur, Irinjalakuda, and decided to help the victim’s family who was financially stressed.
“With such acts, I believe the gap between police officers and the public reduces. Usually, the police are considered to be terrifying and don’t have a positive image among the public. I want to change this by being more human,” she tells TNM.