When Sarala (identify modified) was identified with breast most cancers in 2019, the 50-year-old’s world got here crashing down. It was an opportunity checkup at a hospital that led to the analysis. As she made up her thoughts to combat the illness, what she wasn’t ready for was the hair loss from chemotherapy.
“Whereas I used to be mentally ready for nausea, vomiting and different unintended effects of chemo, what I wasn’t prepared for was the hair loss. I’ve all the time prided myself on my thick hair and wore it lengthy till my therapy. It took me loads of time to come back to phrases with this aspect impact, and it wasn’t until I wore a wig that I felt like myself once more,” says Sarala.
An estimated 13.9 lakh folks had most cancers in India in 2020, as per a Nationwide Most cancers Registry Programme, India report. And circumstances have solely been growing yearly. Together with the harrowing bodily results of therapy, hair loss is without doubt one of the issues that the majority impacts sufferers psychologically.
In such circumstances, wigs act as a much-needed respite for many most cancers sufferers.
And one man has made it his life’s mission to supply hope to most cancers sufferers, one wig at a time. In one of many busy lanes of JC Nagar in Kurubarahalli, Bengaluru, lies ‘Pure Wig Works’. This humble 8 ft by 14 ft store has crafted wigs for greater than 12,000 most cancers sufferers prior to now 16 years.
Discovering goal in life
It was an opportunity encounter that led Marisetty Kumar into the world of wigs. Born to a farming household in Belakavadi, Mandya might solely examine until class 8 attributable to monetary constraints. He would graze cattle close to the Shivanasamudra Falls, the place loads of movie shootings would happen. It was there that he befriended a make-up artist, Shivaji.
“I’d see Shivaji at work. He would make wigs, moustaches, and so on for the actors. It was fascinating for me. As I didn’t know something apart from farming, I used to be piqued by this new occupation. When Shivaji requested me if I’d work with him, I jumped on the alternative. I went with him to Chennai (then Madras) and learnt the artwork of wig-making,” says the 47-year-old.
It was in 1996 that Kumar moved to Chennai. After studying the ropes from Shivaji, he moved to Bengaluru and began making wigs for film stars of Sandalwood. Whereas the glam world of cinema supplied loads of alternatives to this wig-maker, what it lacked was contentment.
However goal got here knocking at his door within the type of a most cancers affected person.
“Whereas working within the movie business, I met a most cancers affected person. She was shedding hair attributable to chemotherapy and was in loads of misery. She requested me if I might make a wig for her. I instantly took her measurements and made a wig for her. I can always remember the enjoyment on her face as she wore the wig. It was completely priceless,” smiles Kumar.
After that day, he determined to dedicate his time, effort and power to creating wigs for most cancers sufferers. He opened his store in 2006. By means of phrase of mouth and make contact with with docs, Kumar stored getting orders from most cancers sufferers.
The speciality of his wigs is that they’re utterly pure. He sources hair from Tirupati and Kolkata. Making a wig is a protracted course of that takes at the least 4-5 days, says his spouse Lalitha, who assists him.
“As soon as we get the hair, we type it – lengthwise and by thickness. It’s then cleaned, boiled and washed in water. Utilizing a base which sticks to the scalp, the wig is handwoven, one strand at a time. The bottom itself takes about two days, and it takes three days to sew the hair on it and make the wig,” says Lalitha.
Every wig is offered at a beginning value of Rs 10,000, relying on size and thickness.
Kumar takes the measurements for locals whereas for folks from different states and international locations, he asks them to ship measurements by way of WhatsApp. Lalitha proudly says that they’ve prospects from the world over.
Nonetheless, this occupation comes with its set of challenges. Artificial wigs, that are ready-made and cheaper, have triggered an enormous dent in his enterprise. The pandemic has additional added to his woes.
“We was once very busy earlier, having orders nearly each day. We now have catered to 12,000 most cancers sufferers thus far. Now, due to these readymade wigs, our enterprise has been hit. We hardly get orders. I had three folks working for me, however because of the pandemic, they left two years in the past. I’ve not referred to as them again as I don’t have sufficient for myself, how can I pay them,” says Kumar.
The wig-maker, who has a five-year-old son, says that he can’t afford to present wigs away without cost as he did earlier, as a result of he has to pay for his youngster’s training.
“Many occasions prior to now, when sufferers don’t have cash to pay for wigs, now we have made it without cost. As soon as, a affected person paid advance cash however didn’t have sufficient to pay for the remaining. So, we didn’t ask for it as we didn’t wish to burden them. Even now, if sufferers ask for a reduction, we give it. We don’t work for earnings, simply sufficient to pay the store hire and eat some ragi mudde (a well-liked meal in Karnataka). Even with Rs 1000 revenue per wig, we are going to handle,” says Kumar.
The smile on the faces of the sufferers is sufficient reward for this wig-maker.
Discover Pure wig works at 119, sixth Important highway, twelfth cross, JC Nagar, Close to Sathayanarayana Choultry, RV English faculty, Kurubarahalli, Bengaluru. You’ll be able to contact him on +91-9980043121.
Edited by Yoshita Rao