Monday, 1 February 2016

Reminiscences Of A Tattooed Girl

I love tattoos. And today being the 5th year anniversary of my first tattoo it just felt right to write about it! Undeniably it is scarring yourself, but these scars are a testimony of who you are and what you believe in.

As opposed to popular notion tattooing is not a new trend imposed by "western culture", in fact in most of the American cities it was illegal to get a tattoo till recent times. Although it has remained an integral part of many other cultures including India, albeit not in same form. It is a very common practice in India for a wife to her husbands name tattooed on her wrist and is  commonly referred as 'pachakutharathu' or 'godna'.  Even to this day, Henna (mehndi) which is a kind of temporary tattoo is heavily used by women across the country.

It is fascinating how tattoos mean different to different cultures, like for the Ainu women in Japan, tattoos of giant-sized lips on their faces were customary. Lip tattooing was seen as a mark of maturity and believed to repel evil spirits. In Egypt the majority of tattoos were found on women, indicating status. By the early 17th century, criminals in Japan were widely being tattooed as a visible mark of punishment. Tattooing has been a part of Filipino life since pre-Hispanic colonization of the Philippine Islands, while some were a form of rank and accomplishments, some believed that tattoos had magical qualities.

Over the centuries tattoos have undergone a dramatic redefinition. Although it's an ancient art it had lost its charm and is now reintroduced with a glamorous quotient. There maybe lot of people who get a tattoo just for the sake of getting one but I cannot speak for those. But I am sure for others it has not been a casual decision.

The idea of getting a tattoo just took me a minute but it took me next 6 months to figure out what I wanted tattooed! It was probably the first time I did some serious soul searching, asked myself questions I wouldn't have confronted otherwise. What do I believe in? Although it may not sound so but it is extremely difficult if you were to choose one word or symbol, which you would want engraved in yourself for rest of your life.

It is essential that you are absolutely sure about what you want tattooed because over the years you may outgrow your beliefs but you should be willing to accept your past choices and be able to live with it (removing a tattoo is a cumbersome task and expensive too!).

You either love it or hate it. Anyone who says "I do love it but on others" is just lying to oneself. Of course getting a tattoo is a matter of personal choice and it would be highly inappropriate to judge someone based on their preference to tattooing.

Tattoos do have a power and magic of their own. Many a times I have found strength from my tattoo, gave me surety whenever my heart faltered. You share a special bond with your tattoo, it becomes a part of you both body and soul.

I once heard someone ask ,'Do you think your tattoo would still look good when you are 60? You will regret it that time'. I couldn't help but laugh because the truth is I would rather regret getting a tattoo at 60, than regret all my life not getting one.