Five years back to this day, I got myself inked. I remember thinking about it for a long time, trying to figure out what I wanted and where. And what sparked this adventurous side what the fact that my family had started to search for a marriage alliance, fact that I would be married off to some person, fact that I would have to pack up my stuff and move in to a new home, new family, new faces. I wanted everyone to know, that my family would always, always come first, no matter what. so I knew what the theme would be, I knew I wanted a lotus to represent my mother's name - Pankajam, and that's it. Where it would go, how much it would hurt and how much it would cost came up later. Thankfully for me, my cousin got her first tattoo a few months earlier so she suggested the same place for me, and also she had one already so i kind of knew what to expect. It took a couple of visits to the tattoo parlour for me to figure out the design and the placement of the tattoo, I chose a very sensitive part of my body to get it - the nape of my neck; The tattoo would be a lotus with the names of my brother and father beside it - it took me sometime again to figure out what language I wanted the names to be in. The people at the parlour suggested Hindi, Sanskrit, and some unheard languages that would look 'cool', but none of them sat well with me. This is where I think I really thought hard, because I wanted there to be a flow, a connection to everything. And then one night it finally hit me - Malayalam. I loved the idea, got my friend to write down the names in the language and waited for the day to come. The appointment also took a while, first because I took time to come up with everything and be happy with the design, the placement and the language; second, well the artist himself had to be free. I remember talking to them and trying to figure out a date when they said the 12th of December was open and I remember my sister jumping and saying that day would be cool since it had corresponding month and year - 12/12/12 - so we took it. 

The day I got inked, I will never ever forget - because I have never cried and cursed so much in my life. It hurt so bad even after he put the numbing cream - nothing eased the pain. It hurt. and I cried and cried because it was on the bone and it felt like a million needles piercing into my skin at the same time. I cursed the artist, used language I want no one to hear. It was horrible. I remember this guy come in and was shocked at the amount I crying and cursing, he gave me his iPod to listen to music - that really calmed me. It had Lenny Kravitz, Linkin Park and Metallica and so i started singing loud to distract myself. The whole session took 4-5 hours since i constantly needed breaks to walk around, breaks from the pain etc. But I was thrilled with the end result. So thrilled. He did an amazing job at the tattoo and for be so patient with me, and also for not punching my face from all the cursing and crying. 

Looking back at these five years, this tattoo is something i'm so proud off. It was an 'icebreaker' topic for Mr.husband and I, since he has a tattoo too. I showed it off loud and proud at the wedding with low backs, it was a topic of discussion with all doctors and the nurses at the ICU, since they are all Malayalees, they were surprised to see names written in Malayalam and thought 'Rahul Prasad' was my husbands name (facepalm). 

Getting this tattoo was a way of telling everyone that my family will always have my back - literally. And they do. 

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Tips From the Wise:

Try not to negotiate too much with the tattoo artist. This is something that's going to be on your skin forever - you don't want to piss them off.

Pain tolerance varies from person to person. Take my experience with a pinch of salt.