Some might consider this to be the dark side of me, but frankly speaking, I really don’t find tattoos to be such a big deal. It’s just a piece of body art that those people who wish to have, have it on them. After all, it’s their own body. And if later they regret having that tattoo, well, again that’s their problem.
Just like how some of the regretful tattoos on my arms are my own problems.
It all depends on how creative you (or your tattoo artist) are if you want to change an existing tattoo. Some of my close friends are aware of the cleverly modified “Never Again” tattoo on my right arm :) And that’s what regretful tattoos bring to the table - stories! Crazy, funny, hilarious and memorable stories people talk about whenever you meet up with friends.
A good tattoo will only bring out an “aweee nice” reaction from others. But there is always an interesting story behind a bad tattoo! And the crappier that tattoo is, the more interesting the background story gets.
Like my “tiger” tattoo on my left arm.
Since I already had a dragon and a Chinese word that says “East” (because I am a proud son of the East), I decided to have a tiger too (you know, the whole Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon rave back then).
To cut a long story short, yeah, we were all pretty wasted when a friend of mine tattooed the tiger on my arm. And when he was done, we all admired the awesome art… and then passed out.
THE NEXT DAY, when we all woke up and looked at my arm, it was one of the most shocking and horrifying moments of my life, lolz! What looked awesome the previous night, had completely changed the next morning when we were all sober. Ever heard of men and women meeting in pubs and getting drunk and going home together and then waking up the next day to realize their partner wasn’t as attractive as he/she was the previous night? Yeah, my situation was exactly the non-sexual version of that. Haha, never get a tattoo done when you and your tattoo artist are under the influence! :)
Every day, my friends made fun of me, telling me my “tiger” looked more like a frog, or a bloated rat. To be fair, it was quite a difficult photo to copy, as it was a tiger approaching towards you and turning in the last minute, so the front side had a side view while the rest of the body behind had a frontal view. Daayymmm why did we ever select that particular photo! And yes, I asked for it and blamed no one. I totally deserved the puns and mockery.
When my friend Sidharth (and current flatmate) saw my tattoo, he immediately tweeted:
Finally saw a Tattoo worse than mine. Thats @Mizohican 's tiger that was trying to turn http://twitpic.com/3643h1
— Sidharth Rao (@sidharthrao) November 12, 2010
And so recently, I decided to have a tattoo makeover.
My nephew had a friend who’s a tattoo artist, so he took me to his house and I told him about the unfortunate history of my tiger cum frog cum rat tattoo. He laughed. Yes, people never fail to laugh whenever they hear my story.
And then when he asked me whether I had any particular photo or picture or design in mind to cover it up, I told him it was entirely his call. That was when his face lit up. Apparently, tattoo artists rarely get customers who tell them to do anything THEY want, as customers always come to the shop with a specific design or image in mind. So, yeah, he was excited as hell. I told him to think about it carefully and gave him a day’s time to carefully plan what he would like to design on my arm to cover the tiger.
The next day, my nephew and I went to his house again. He was excited as ever, and started telling me his grand plans, like starting with a maori tribal design here, followed with a Nordic design there, a Polynesian leaf around it etc etc… I just kept nodding my head. I totally trusted him. And frankly speaking, nothing would ever be as bad as the old tattoo.
The tattoo artist was very professional too. He had all the equipments and ink, right down to the antiseptics and gloves.
He initially drew the design he had in mind on my arm, using a marker. After that, he made minor alterations here and there, until it was exactly the way he wanted…
After that, the real work started. The tattoo machine came to life, buzzing and slowly marking the outline of the design as the needles continuously pierced my skin. Our conversation ranged from the types of tattoos and tattooing techniques to who we wanted to see as the next Chief Minister of Mizoram.
And finally, all the outlines were done. After that, we took a short break and relaxed.
Soon, we started the next session, and that was to fill up the design with ink. Usually, people do the filling on the next session, which is around 2-3 weeks after the first session, but since I didn’t have time on my hands, we decided to complete everything in one sitting.
The artist recommended that we use only black ink because colored ink does not look good on our Mizo skin complexion. I kept agreeing to whatever he said.
The filling up part was a bit painful. Actually, the needle was a bit bigger and it did not penetrate as deeply as the outline needle did, so it was less painful than the outline needle. But the outline tattoos were still fresh and my skin was starting to swell due to the open wounds, and since the artist had to hold my skin tightly while tattooing, that was where it hurt the most - the pressing.
Soon, after a couple instances where I had to clench my fist tightly to bear the pain, the artist was finally done.
A fine job indeed! The tiger had completely vanished (well, not exactly completely but yes, no one will ask me if it’s a rat or a frog anymore, hahhhh! ).
The whole process took around 6 hours and the artist charged me Rs. 2000/- for the entire job, which is way cheaper than any professional tattoo artist here in Mumbai would charge. It was totally worth it.
So goodbye froggy! :)