Tattoos have been a controversial topic amongst Tamils. It’s somewhat of a marmite choice across all cultures. You either want one or you don’t, the reasons vary. Regardless, most parents disapprove of it (full stop) unless you are that parent, who once was a child who wanted a tattoo.
My mum always called me a “punk” for having too many piercings, a tattoo would have blown the roof off. That is until many of my close friends had the courage to finally get one.(I say many, it was only two..)
Typical of me to use them as an example to get my own way, if I’m going down I’ll take them down with me… My mum still wasn’t happy about the idea when I kept bringing up the suggestion but she slowly came to an understanding that I am old enough to make my own decisions, even if I’ll regret them later.
My dad doesn’t contribute much to my superficial decisions, in actual fact he loves my piercings. He was the rebel in his days, so in his eyes like father like daughter, aha!
I had been to many tattoo studios previously to get my piercings but for the first time I stepped in not knowing what to expect when it comes to a tattoo consultation.
The place I decided to get my tattoo is the old london road studio in Kingston. My Artist was Sandro, his work is amazing to say the least, check out his work here
I had already arranged for a consultation over the phone, I took in my idea and sat down with the artist in a quiet area of the studio to speak about the art I’d like to be permanently etched onto me. The guy was friendly and very open to suggestions. He drew out the tattoo inspiration I had and worked around it adding in his own style.We then decided on size and placement and scheduled a date for the actual tattoo session.
A deposit was paid for the tattoo session which contributes towards the final payment for the tattoo. Prices vary upon Size, detail and time spent on the tattoo.
Deciding on a Tattoo Design
I wanted to get something meaningful. Something that will always represent me. It wasn’t a light hearted decision to even take the initiative to get a tattoo but I was sure this time.
I have an Om fused together with ganesh on my left inner arm.
The Om represents my religion, hinduism. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself religious, but I do consider myself spiritual. The reason for this is because I believe and have faith towards something more powerful than us but don’t want to define this to be as GOD. I don’t follow all the “rules” that come with our religion. I also don’t think it’s completely necessary to have to pray to statues in temples or carry out poojas. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to temples, it’s very meditative and peaceful but I love speaking to that energy in my own space and time, it almost comes natural to me like breathing, rather than a scheduled session – it feels forced.
I believe in reincarnation, I believe in the morals and stories our ancestors have passed down and lived through. I believe that I was born and raised to be a Hindu for a reason.
I understand my definitions of religion an spirituality may be different to yours, but it does not make my beliefs false or less worthy.
Those believes stem from the idealism Ganesh represents. He is the perfect lord to represent faith. I can’t prove to you that he really existed but I can tell you that I feel connected towards him and his story. He allows me to believe in the impossible, in something that I haven’t seen or witnessed and to be accepting of who I am. It gives me hope and courage. And, elephants are also my favourite animals…
The Tattoo Session
On the day of the actual inking, a stencil of the tattoo was stamped onto my disinfected arm, he asked me if I was happy with the size and allowed me to make any changes to it, if necessary.
He started off by working on the outline of the tattoo with a small needle followed by a slightly wider needle to fill in the spaces in between.
The pain was bearable to quite painful. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most painful, and although I have a high tolerance for pain, I would say it was at a 7. It feels like many tiny needled scratching the surface of your skin consistently. It gets more painful the more flesh you have beneath the skin and the more frequently the needle goes over the same surface.
The whole session took about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Once the tattoo was done, it was cleaned and wrapped up in cling film. I was told to wash, clean and apply sudocrem 3-4 times a day. The surface shouldn’t be wiped clean but lightly patted down with tissue.
The Healing process
There’s not much pain you feel during the healing process, however it does get very itchy! The sudocrem gives a cooling sensation to take this itchiness away.
The skin may also become very flaky and scaly. This is a sign that the skin is healing and should be gone within the third/forth week.
My tattoo and skin took about 1-2months to heal and look normal again.