Aparna Lavakumar, a civil police officer at Irinjalakuda women's police station, had hogged headlines in 2008 when she donated her gold bangles to release a dead body from a private hospital in Thrissur. The children of a homemaker, who died of domestic violence, were struggling to settle the hospital bill of Rs 60,000 to get their mother's body released when Aparna reached the site to conduct the inquest. Moved by the tears of the children, Aparna gave them the three gold bangles she was wearing. Media hailed the humane gesture of this young lady cop. After 11 years, the 46-year-old Aparna is again in the news as she shaved her head and donated her thick lock of hair to make wigs for cancer patients. Onmanorama caught up with Aparna whose selfless gesture is now hailed by many.
Aparna hails from Amballur, a village on the outskirts of Thrissur city. Widowed at a very young age, Aparna raised her two daughters alone. She got remarried to an NRI recently. Aparna used to deliver lectures and study classes to school students regarding law, traffic rules, and personal safety. It was during one such class at a neighbouring school in September that made Aparna donate her hair.
“All through my session, a bald boy sitting in the front row with wide curious eyes grabbed my attention. He met me in person after the class. As he shared his fascination for a career in the police department, his teacher told me that he was a cancer survivor. He lost his hair to repeated chemotherapy. I was touched. His teacher continued that it was not the disease that let children down but the socialisation after it. The boy I met was struggling to cope up with his new bald appearance,” Aparna recalled.
The kind-hearted cop took an instant decision to donate her hair for the cancer patients. Aparna had thick lock of black hair. She shaved her head and donated her hair to an NGO which makes wigs for cancer patients.
Aparna doesn't consider her gesture great, as she hasn't lost anything through it. “My act doesn't deserve praise when compared to those who donate their organs. My hair will grow back in a year's time. After all, what is there in external looks?” she asked.
Aparna also takes her new bald look as an opportunity to experience the humiliation the cancer patients suffer. Her daughters, 21-year-old Devika and 15-year-old Gauri, did not accept their mother's new look initially. They realised the goodwill behind Aparna's gesture only when the people and social media started praising her.
Aparna says that her gesture became news only because society still cannot accept women with short hair or no hair at all. “There are certain rules we have set for each gender. It is time to break all of it,” she said.
Back in 2008, Aparna donated her bangles unable to watch the children crying. “I was a single mother at that time. I know how important a mother is to her children. I see every suffering child on earth as my own children. I can't watch them suffer,” Aparna added.