Tuesday, June 17, 2008

WJKKWJKF ! Been there, Done it !!

The tattoo place was inside a Schwarzkopf hair salon and they made me sit at the reception with a big Plasma TV on the facing wall. Two grown up people - a man and a woman were standing in front of the TV and watching cartoons on Nickolodeon. At first I thought they may just be inanely staring at the screen in want of nothing else to stare at (like me) but then I noticed they were both giggling intermittently. It was the Ninja Hattori show. Ruhi also watches it at home and I always thought it was one of those morbid cartoons which are meant to be mean and exciting. But it suddenly dawned upon me that Ninja Hattori is actually comical ! Never heard Ruhi laughing though.....anyway, after a bit, a heavily tattoed young guy came and looked me up. He asked me what I wanted.

I told him I wanted a 'Khanda' on my wrist and since he seemed quite blank, I started drawing it in air while explaining what it was, all the time wondering what he was doing in Delhi if he didnt know what a 'Khanda' was. As I went on. he calmly went behind the reception desk, browsed through a couple of folders and opened two designs of the 'khanda' and asked "which one ?"

We disagreed upon the design that would suit my wrist and I finally went by his selection. He disagreed with my decision to keep it small, but gave in quickly. He printed out the artwork, I disagreed with the size yet again and he took another printout which was smaller and we settled for that. On the spur of the moment I suddenly decided that I wanted the tattoo on the upper forearm instead of the wrist. I asked him for his opinion and he agreed and said it would also be much less painful on the forearm.

We went into a tiny cubicle which had something like a dentist's high chair besides a stool and a red bean bag. I sat on the high chair while he sat on a stool at my feet. He was very business like as he went about wearing gloves, showing me a fresh needle and taking out the ink etc. In the midst of it all he said : "why a 'Khanda ?"

I wasn't expecting him to ask me personal questions. He didn't even look friendly enough so I decided not to tell. I paused a second and then said "Long story".

It works ever time and he seemed to give up further conversation on the subject.

He pasted the artwork sticker on my arm and as he picked up the needle I asked him " Is it going to be very painful ?" He gave me a blank stare and said nothing. I thought that look meant my question was silly. So in answer to that look I said " Oh OK, so its going to be like pin pricks ?". He stared again and I thought then that he had nodded though I am not sure now.

When he started working the buzzing needle on me, I died.

The sharp shooting pain made me clench my fist in pain. He gave me a dirty look and stopped the needle to hiss "DON"T DO THAT".

It was slightly better after that. I clenched my teeth forever to control the pain and thought about my 2 Caesarian operations and that it could not pain more than the stitches. And then he started asking a volley of questions - If I was married, what I do, how many kids, where I live, how I came to know of him, if my family knew and approved of my decision... etc etc. I think asking questions is a useful trick to distract the 'patient's' mind away from the pain.

After the introductory set of questions were over he asked " so tell me the long story". It was paining so much that I didn't care as long as my mind was distracted enough to talk. I told him about my mixed marriage. And that this was my way of reinforcing my identity that will go down with me - just in case I do go into a grave instead of a pyre !

He said "8 years and you are still struggling." I told him that in fact my struggle had only just begun. I had been happily immune till a few years ago.

He asked : Did they give you a new name ? I told him the name a few aliens call me by : "Sara".

He said it was a nice name. Then he said " I wonder what name I will get !". He told me he was seeing a muslim girl and his prospective mother in law was hunting for a nice new name for him ! We both laughed. I suggested he should chose between Amir Khan & Shahrukh and that he should get an OM tattoo on his forehead ! I didn't notice the pain too much as we talked though I winced every now and then when he filled in the color. I now know that tattoos are not for the faint hearted !

Job over he wrapped my bleeding arm in a plastic wrap with strict instructions not to open the cling film before 4 hours. No water on the 'wound' for 10 days. No swimming, no sun, no waxing for 2 months and sunscreen on tattoo after that. The wound would develop a scab which should fall off in 10 days but I should not try to peel or touch it !

By the end of the 45 minutes, we were friends and knew a lot about each other ! Strange world.

I came back to office with a bleeding cling wrapped arm and had to leave immediately for a conference. On the way I bought some bandage and wrapped my arm in it. At the conference one of my interns who calls me 'madam' came to escort me inside and politely asked " ma'm how did you get hurt" I told him "Not hurt, I got my arm tattooed today". He smiled indulgently with disbelief, since I am known to say funny things at odd times.


Preethi said...

cool.. after this I know I never will get one.... did not know it hurt so much! But looks so cool seems worth the trouble!!!

Anonymous said...

You are a brave woman!!! Came here from MM's blog!!! I can truly sense the honesty in your words.

Inexplicably said...

hey Preethi ! PLEASE get it if you really want to. I think the inside arm where the skin is soft is more painful. The shoulder / back etc with thicker, tighter skin should not hurt as much.

Thank Anon...

Mystic Margarita said...

It looks very nice. :) Definitely worth the pain, eh? Hope the arm is better now.

dee said...

it looks awesome! bravo ...
... am almost tempted myself.

Inexplicably said...

Hi Mystic - I think its just about healed today. I was scared out of my wits for the last 5 days since it had been raining cats and dogs and it almost felt as if the tattoo was 'going bad' !!! Its survived !

Dee, do it ! :)

Balvinder Singh said...

"jis singhni ne apni baahn utte khande di tasweer khudwaande hoye cee tak naheeh keeti, us de honsle tey ichha shakti da dhiyaan dhar bolnaa jee "Shri Waheguru"

Inexplicably said...

LOL Balvinder. Waheguru !

bombaygirl said...

Looks good, you brave woman! I don't think its for me. Childbirth again, maybe, but not needles.

Diligent Candy said...

OOoh! NICE! I have been contemplating getting one. Now I am very sure that I do want one. The heart plays a very important role in my life. So that's what it shall be. Thanks for helping me with my decision.

Stopped by from your comment in High Heel Confidential about your boy Rayyan being a bit like Shahid :) ....verrry adorable. And Rayyan was one of the names I had shortlisted for my little one!


Diligent Candy said...

It's 12.15pm - spent all morning reading your blog. You write so well. It makes one experience the event through words. That's really a talent.

I will be blogrolling you, hope that is ok with you.

And, has anyone every told you - you look like Zeenat Aman?

Inexplicably said...

And I went lurking to your blog but couldn't snoop around enough to find your name ! Bookmarked you and rushed for a meeting ! Will go sneaking back again tonight after the kids go to sleep :)

Zeenat Aman ? He he he ! Has anyone told you, that you are a sweetheart ? I look like Pankaj Kapur in fact.

Inexplicably said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~nm said...

Yesterday only I was talking to hubby about getting a tattoo done but the way you describe the pain of the needles, I'm so double minded!

Roop Rai said...

NO WAY would I do it but NO WAY would i not tell you taht I am proud of you! :)) very well written post. i love reading what you write but u know that already :))

phoenixritu said...

My son has two tattoos, on both his upper arms, and plans to get a detailed one on his back. i think he's insane