mid-day's 39th anniversary: Shaking off a disease with a tune
A blues talent successfully manages to beat cancer with mind games and music
Kanchan Daniel, 27
Psychologist and musician
Imagine you are 17. You're about to finish high school. The freedom of college life beckons. Friends, relationships and other teenaged concerns occupy your brain in the meantime. And then you are diagnosed with dysgerminoma, a germ cell tumour.
"Anyone with cancer goes through both, physical and mental battering. It's way more than a disease. But I think I took it in my stride, and told myself, 'Okay, I'm not going to cry about this. That's not going to help'," says Kanchan Daniel. "I wanted to kick cancer's ass. I also had the greatest support from my family, and I think I learnt a lot during the time."
Daniel adds that when life gave her a second chance, she grabbed it. And she decided to take up psychology so that she could help others cope. Although she started out practising, she is now teaching psychology to junior college students.
But there was yet another incident that changed her life. One evening, Daniel was attending a live gig with a friend. There, she started singing in accompaniment to the music, over the vocalist on stage. Her friend, who is a musician, heard her and realised she has a good voice. Soon, Daniel was jamming with the band and despite having no formal training, she became a part of Kanchan Daniel and the Beards, widely regarded as one of the city's foremost blues-rock bands.
Now, she juggles both roles. Her days are spent discussing human psychology while the evenings are reserved for bringing the house down. "Both compartments are too important to choose from. And while I might return to practising psychology in the future, I cannot give up music," she says.
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