Writer-director Tahira Kashyap Khurrana was detected with pre-invasive breast cancer last year, but she didn't let that define her. She has urged those affected by cancer to follow suit as she feels they are "bigger than the disease".
Back in September 2018, she shared unexpected news with her thousands of followers on Instagram that she was detected with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) in her right breast with high-grade malignant cells.
Initially, she was not ready to share it with the world. A few visits to the hospital, meeting other patients, talking about cancer and researching about it, made her change her mind.
"No one in my immediate environment judged me. Of course, I was also asked by a couple of my close relatives... they said that the news should remain within the confines of a family circle. I thought that maybe that's the right protocol," Tahira told IANS over the phone.
"On the other hand, my doctor told me about so many cases... women who despite getting a few symptoms refuse to get themselves examined because of so much of humiliation associated with it. Some even feel guilty," she shared.
That left her shocked.
"Every patient should get support from family and the workplace," she said.
That's when she started sharing positive messages and creating awareness about cancer on social media.
"My basic has always been... creating awareness about early breast cancer detection and self-love. If you are suffering from cancer, do not let it define you. You are bigger than the disease. Be the stronger person that you always have been.
"I wanted to remove the stigma and taboo associated with cancer. No matter what life throws at you, take it in your stride and have immense love for yourself because it is you who are putting up the fight and you are no less than a warrior," said Tahira.
Ahead of National Cancer Survivors' Day, which falls on June 2, the wife of actor Ayushmann Khurrana is reiterating it in a video called "Birthmarks" by Culture Machine's channel Blush.
"There is a picture that I had posted on Instagram on World Cancer Day. It (the video) is played on that," she said referring to her shirtless photo in which she is seen embracing her scar.
As of now, she is in "pink of my health".
"I am doing pretty good. Of course, I had chemotherapy which has side effects...it can be endless, but I don't want to acknowledge them. I am concentrating more on what all I can do," she said.
Getting back to work is one of them. She just directed a music video, featuring her brother-in-law Aparshakti Khurana. There is also a film in the pipeline. It's been quite delayed though.
"I have to make it and I will be making the film very soon. We are still in the process of putting everything together," said Tahira.
"It's a film about five women belonging to different age groups...what all quirky issues they face in their life and how they deal with them. It is a fun, quirky, slice of life, happy film," she added.