We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible.

~Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935)


If tattoos only lasted for one year, would I want one?

What If they lasted for one month?—um—let me think—

Tattoo the pristine flesh

What is permanent anyway?

This ink only lasts 'til the grave,

Skin and ideas decompose

That which we did compose.

~Corri Alius

Show me a man with a tattoo and I'll show you a man with an interesting past. –JACK LONDON, 1883

That’s what I thought tattoo-ing was all about, but professional training insists that I check my options before I put down my options. That brings me to what is a tattoo?

The dictionary says it is:

• A signal sounded on a drum or bugle to summon soldiers or sailors to their quarters at night.

• A display of military exercises offered as evening entertainment

• A continuous even drumming or rapping.

This usage is an alteration of the Dutch taptoe, from Middle Dutch tappe.

Haa—here is the more popular usage. The one of Polynesian origin.

• A permanent mark or design made on the skin by a process of pricking and ingraining an indelible pigment or by raising scars.

• A design made on the skin with temporary dyes such as henna or ink.

Interestingly the practise of tattooing the body is very old, despite the English word being new. The explorer James cook, who gave English lot of Polynesian (mixture of Samoan and Tahitian) words like taboo, gave it English, this was in 1769, it was the sea-faring community that brought this pacific art to Europe and has always been associated with them though some landlubbers do sport it, the current status being

Ink to paper is thoughtful

Ink to flesh, hard-core.

If Shakespeare were a tattooist

We‘d appreciate body art more. ~Terri Guillemets

If you ever wondered why people got tattoos done, then probably it would be for

Love”—likes Dipika and others. Or like the one we see in every other Hindi movie to bring “bichdey bai”

To combat amnesia or Alzheimer’s a’La Ghazani or Deewar

Religious tattoos are very common, even devout Christians are seen going under the needle.

Military service though not very original it’s the most popular next to the sailors.

To make a statement

To be part of sorority

Just for fun. Are all reasons good enough?

After all like Pamela Anderson observed—Tattoos are like stories – they’re symbolic of the important moments in your life, if you belong to the fraction of people who have tattoos the rest are afraid of people with tattoos.

India tattoos have a great presence; it is called Godna in northern India. Middle East and Indian subcontinent still use Henna or Mahanadi the temporary tattoo ink.

My community of Madhwa Brahmin’s has its annual ritual of Mudra dharana, while the young men use Gopichandana () each day as they perform their sandhya vandana, to apply these mudra’s for the spiritual progress of human beings both internal and external.

The pattern goes Urdhva Pundra on the forehead, shanka and chakra on the shoulders, and Tulasi mala round the neck.

After all these meandering if tattoo’s lasted a year I would not want it, how boringly same. If they last a month a henna hand might be worth it, if I can stay still.

Shall I let you in on a secret? I am tattoo-ed on the shoulder, ugly enough to give Sunjay Dutt a complex, at 40+ I can get away with it, because the tattoo-ing is done with my own skin, the surgeon’s call it grafting.

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