Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Your body is your canvas

Come's all bikinis and beaches.... and the quintessential tattoo parade.

Nowadays everyone I see has at least one body art. Some people have just one or two (visible ones) and there are some who have clearly very little clear skin left. I struggle to understand the fascination with tattoos. Yes, I see that its a form of self expression and that sort of thing. But aren't there many other painless ways to self-express... like the, ahem, blog or Facebook or Twitter or whatever-the-new-hell. But why on your body? You ask questions like this and that's how you get stamped (no pun) old-fashioned.

Although tempting, and most time interesting, the idea of getting a tattoo for life is quiet scary. And there are few things that actually holds me back from getting inked.

  1. Pain. The first thing when I look at some elaborate tattoos on people's body, I cringe at the thought of the pain they might have had to undergo for that. And I wonder is that really worth it. I mean if there is a way to cure something with a pill why take an injection. 
  2. Decision. What propels people to pick a particular design and color and spot. Not considering the ones chosen during a drunken stupor and ruling out the misspelt ones....even if its like a butterfly on the ankle or Sistine chapel on the chest and back, how did they end up picking the particular design? Its not like an outfit or a haircut which has some chance of redemption after a faux-paux!
  3. Body changes. You put on weight or drastically reduce weight you end up with stretch marks, if you are not too careful. Now what happens to tattooed skin? Its one thing to deal with wrinkles in your skin as you age and quiet another to have to live with a wrinkled tattoo. 
  4. Mind changes. What if one morning you wake up and get repelled by the tattoos... I mean, after all mind is a fickle monkey or some such thing. And what if you end up regretting the design or the meaning behind which you got the tattoo. Yes, there are removal procedures. But for some people removing those extensive tattoos would be like getting a new skin. 
  5. Out of vogue. Once, getting 'pachhai' (literally green.. an old fashioned, tribal Indian, branding-iron-mark sort of thing) was very famous in India, or, at least in my grandma's village. I have seen lot of great-grandmothers with green ink. The designs were really conservative and was mainly something spiritual or God-related stuff. Occasionally there were some romantics who got their sweethearts names written painfully across their hearts or arms (in case of women... you know those were times when women were modest enough). But anyways it went out of fashion and were generally frowned upon in the years to come. That generation advised its younger ones against getting the ink. What if in the years to come this new-fangled trend also meets the same fate. We can already see, read, sense that the days are not far from today where teenagers will be advised against inking their bodies. The meaning of clean-cut "neat and smart in appearance and well-bred " would then include "without any body piercing or ink". But again, like anything else advised against, there will come days when people took to streets to protest for the right to get inked and they will pass a bill in the parliament for or against it ,and the world, or parts of it that cares, will wait with bated breath for the verdict that would change.... pretty much nothing. Freedom of expression and some such.
  6. Side-effects. What about side effects of getting inked extensively. I mean can an IV be inserted on a vein that's tattooed? Can the body be XRay-ed or MRI-ed? I mean, yes, this can be Googled, but I don't know I just wonder.
All that said, after spending three summers around tattoos and tattooed sights I have come up with a list of tattoos I might want to get if ever I decide to get some ink. Its good to be prepared isn't it.

Aaidha ezhuthu If at all I get one, this would be it. Its a simple design, less painful as it could get. Just three dots. This has lots of significance and meaning to me. Personally, right now in my life, I see the three dots as - the first dot on top is 'How I see myself'; The dot on the bottom left is 'How the world sees me'; The dot on the bottom left is 'How I see the world'. And, based on my mood they change places. Alternatively, it could mean my family, with the top dot my daughter and the bottom two are her parents. Now writing about it has sparked my interest to know more about the origin of the letter.
One other reason this design seems so tempting is that, this also showcases at some level, a connection to my roots... my mother tongue.
I probably would get this design on my neck...a little down and below my left ear-ring drop, I guess, maybe.

Shiva's stamp This is Leo's mark from The Beach movie. He had it marked on his left arm using an iron rod and had it rubbed on it with ash - the traditionally old-age Indian style. I think the left arm is as good a place for this design if not the forehead. :)

TOTEM This is a totem from Inception movie. Its one of those things that is enigmatic at one level and seems almost silly and foolish, if you think too much about it. My understanding or rather the significance of the totem to me is that you can believe what you want, be it a dream or reality and you can work towards making it a reality. That's my take on it today! I would get this design on my where....? Right wrist would be good? Or little above the wrist somewhere in the middle of the right forearm little below elbow?

YOLO Zac-Effron has this tattoo in his right side-palm. The design is perfect but the spot isn't easily visible which takes away the significance of what the acronym conveys. I would get it across my right index finger (on the side facing the thumb) where I can see it every day.

That's all I have for now folks.... more designs to follow when I become more crazy.

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