Tahira Kashyap: Obstacles come to you for a purpose

Incidentally, my family was initially not in favour of me speaking about my illness as there is some sort of a taboo attached to cancer that too specifically breast cancer. Honestly speaking, if and when I would have told my family that I wanted to speak about my breast cancer, they would have not encouraged me. But I am glad that after my post and the world’s reaction, there has been a shift in perspective not only in my life but in the life of my parents and other family members.

Initially I got a lot of love and support from them in terms of my treatment. But when it came to sharing the message with the world, they always had their inhibitions just like any regular parents because they wanted to protect their child. Once they saw how everyone was reacting to it and apart from that it is really a cause for concern as it could happen to any one of us and we should be aware about it... That awareness and message changed their perspective. Now they are very supportive.

Through this tough period, I have been inspired by my mentor Daisaku Ikeda, I practice Buddhism. He told me live the life of a person, who has gone through so many struggles in life and you actually realise if an obstacle has come your way, it has not come to defeat you, it has come to you for a purpose. This is why I had perspective towards this challenge that I was facing. I knew I had to turn this around and I made it into a mission and I talk to everyone about it.

About my association with Pinkathon, I am glad Milind Soman has started this .I am sure he too must have faced a lot of issues because women don’t come out in large numbers. In fact many women don’t go for regular checkups and in some families males don’t allow them to get inspected as they think another person touching their wife’s breast is not right. But when I see so many women turning up for such events it feels good. The causes which they are talking about are so important.

The longest association we have is not with husbands, parents or children; it is with your own body. You need to respect that, women need to be encouraged to take care of themselves and not feel guilty about it. They should have courage to say I will do these house errands little later but I need to give my health check-up more importance. There is nothing wrong in that. Men do that but women also need to stand up for themselves.

Spreading awareness about this illness is important. The number has to be increased, there should be a large number of people asking the question about this and there has to be a large number of people talking about it. This is how the message will spread across. The only way to do that is communication. That’s why I am going to keep talking about my illness and if people wish to judge me for that they can do that. I know even if it encourages one person to go get their check-up then a life is saved. So we really need to talk. There are many camps held for this but to get women to those camps and to get men get women to these camps, the message needs to reach men as well.

Yes I am contemplating writing a book about this subject. Like l said, I don’t want to let go off any platform or medium, where I can spread this message. But I would want to do it in a very happy and quirky way. There could be things coming up in the form of film or short film or in a book. I will take it up to all mediums. People have approached me to write a book about my struggle and treatment.

Right now I am making a short film with Guneet Monga, which is going to start in couple of days. I am not going to act in it. I have written it and will be directing it. Apart from that things are yet to get finalised and then I will share the details on it.

Writer, director, cancer survivor and wife of Ayushmann Khurrana, Tahira Kashyap Khurrana is associated with Pinkathon this year to spread awareness about breast cancer.

— Co-ordinated by Sonali Joshi Pitale

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