This is prompt number 97 from Bryn Donovan’s list of prompts and ideas for writing about yourself. I’m picking random numbers, and I’m lucky I got this because I’ve been waiting to tell this story since the day it happened.
Yes, I have a tattoo. The story of how I got it is quite patience-testing.
For quite a long time, Akka and I (in the end, along with Amma) had been pestering Pappa to agree for us to get tattoos. I didn’t see the big deal. The only scare or concern was the lead content and the needles. I know they use fresh needles every single time, and well, the lead levels in my blood might have increased, but there is joy in getting a tattoo done. It’s like branding yourself and saying “This is who I am”, or maybe reminding yourself to live your life. Either way, it is quite fascinating.
Pappa finally said yes, late in June, probably. Then began the search for the designs. I knew what to get and I had choices to pick from. It was either a Totoro, or the Sun, or the Sun and the Moon together. So, after looking for designs of the Sun and the Moon and being fed up, because I wasn’t satisfied with any of them, I requested Vaishnavi to ketch me some designs. She was so happy to do it, that she by next week, she had sent me three designs of varying simplicity. And each one of them was so pretty! The simplest one was a design with the Sun at the centre, and the phases of the moon on either side of its rays, and I could put it as a bracelet or an anklet. I decided to get that one done, on my right upper arm. So, it was decided for me. And even though Akka said, “It’s not very unique; you should get the other one,” I stuck to what I wanted and went with her to this tattoo parlor in Indiranagar.
Akka was going to get the words “Carpe Diem” on her arm. Where on her arm, she wasn’t sure. I thought “Carpe Diem” was a common enough word, but I didn’t dare say that out loud. She talked her designs over with her friend and finalized the font and all, and decided she wanted a tiny flower with it. Her visualization was actually pretty. But when we went there, everything changed.
For one, this place where we went, which was really famous, looked really cool with its metal decorations and all, but inside, it felt like an orgy. People kept walking in and out, tattoo in their heads, tattoo on their bodies. It was a stifling 10 minutes while we were waiting for a friend’s friend (one of the many tattoo artists) to come out. Akka prodded me first, and then I showed him my design. He said, “This design will not come in the size you want. Is that okay?” I frowned. I mean, Pappa agreed only if we got small(-ish) tattoos, and the size he showed? Way too big. I said, “Never mind,” and he moved on to Akka.
When she said, “I want to get a tattoo of Carpe Diem,” he simply nodded, and went towards the computer. He sat down and asked her to select a font from that list. She already had picked one out, but of course, Murphy’s law came into the picture. He didn’t have it. She chose the closest one, and without further ado, he printed it, tore it, and stenciled it on the side of her wrist, below her little finger. And he led her towards an empty bench and began tattooing.
The only good thing to come out of that was the price discount.
That day, my spirits had died down. I decided I didn’t want a tattoo. For now, at least. But Akka insisted that we get it done for me, too. So we searched for places near Jayanagar when Akka remembered that there was a new one right outside the complex. We hitched an auto and went to Jayanagar.
This was a small place, with just one small room. A guy was just finishing up another guy’s tattoo and was doing one of those “wiping-foam-to-reveal-tattoo” videos. There was another guy sitting on a sofa nearby. When we walked in, he greeted us and led us to the lone computer across the door we just walked through. I showed him my design, and he said, “This will be too big. Is that okay?”
I groaned. But Akka had decided that we weren’t going to go home without both of us getting tattoos. She’s sentimental that way.
So I told him that I wanted the Sun and the Moon, and he Googled designs. I already did that and which was why I had customized designs!
I picked one, and he printed it out, created a stencil, and put it on my arm. The guy was perfectly chatty with me, and I was glad because it distracted me. I was prepared to ask to talk to him, but thankfully, he saved me from that embarrassment. It took him 15 minutes, and on a scale of 1-10 of pain (with 10 being the highest), it was around 3 for me. I got it on the fleshy inside of my left forearm, so it was only noticeable.
As I begin working, I will definitely get myself all the tattoos that I want because once isn’t nearly enough. I want a few more Suns and Moons, and I want a quote or two, and I definitely want a watercolour one, and a Totoro one. Maybe every year, on July 15th, to commemorate the anniversary of my first tattoo, I will get one more on my body. I anyway cannot donate blood, so why not?