Meet These Kerala Men Who Grow Their Hair for A Cause
Allu, 22, loves to roam around like Charlie from the Malayalam movie with the same name. A dancer, the chirpy young man has a unique passion — growing hair to donate to charity.
Men like him who have long hair are committed to growing their hair, and in March, even formed a group called the ‘Kerala Hairz Society’. In just three months, the group has 175 members and apart from growing hair to donate it, the members have been doing charity as well.
Fun, Passion Or To Donate?
The 175 members of the Kerala Hairz Society come from all 14 districts of the state and are aged anywhere between 17 and 35. While some of them began growing their hair for fun and others with the intention to donate, they all have one common goal now, and say would cut the hair only when the length is long enough to donate to make wigs for cancer patients.
I began to grow hair two years ago as a fun thing. Local people began to ridicule me. My parents started having a problem only when neighbours started talking to them about my hair. But, just the way they looked at me made me determined not to cut it. At present, my decision is to donate my hair to make wigs for cancer patients. Now, the locals support my interest.Ratheesh, member of ‘Kerala Hairz Society’
Aravind, another member of the group, began growing his hair with the intention to donate.
“It was my sister who suggested if my hair grows, it can be donated. I thought that it was a noble idea,” says Aravind.
22-year-old member Nadirsha, another group of the group is now in the process of growing his hair to donate for the first time.
“My hair is now long enough to donate. Hence, I have decided to,” he says. Arjun and Anil, two other members of the group, are also keen to donate hair.
“Once I donate it, I won’t grow it further. It was a craze or a passion, but I think it may fade as I grow older,” Arjun says.
The group members do maintain their hair with extra care. “It splits if we straighten it. It’s unlike women, as they grow it from a very young age. We have to clean it once in a week, need to use hair creams to avoid dandruff and need to give it protein care,” Nadirsha says.
Breaking Stereotypes Surrounding Long-haired Men
Arjun, like other members, has a clear vision of why he would like to donate.
There is a wrong notion about those who grow hair in society — that we are drug addicts, that we behave badly and so on. We followed some of our elders in growing our hair. If someone is younger to us, we need to set an example for them by doing something noble. If we are followed by someone, let them follow the good deeds as well.Arjun, member of ‘Kerala Hairz Society’
Allu, echoing Arjun’s views, says they aim to eliminate the stereotype surrounding people with long hair.
“The police used to stop us seeing our hair based on the notion that we are going to do something wrong. They would ask if we have stuff with us. After the death of Vinayakan in Thrissur, who also had long hair, such acts are less. With charity, we also aim to eliminate that notion about us,” he says.
They say that they are often stared at, for being long-haired men. “To avoid people staring at us when we go out, we use caps,” says Anil.
‘Pooling In Money For Charity’
Since their inception, the group has also gathered funds for the treatment of a member who is paralysed. They have also pooled in money to donate to an old age home.
“We are planning to start something of our own to raise money for charity by performing at weddings and other functions. There are members of our group who are unemployed. With these ventures, we are planning to help them earn an income,” says Arjun, a graduate student who works part-time.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)