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Body Art is Trendy: But at What Cost?

Posted on August 14, 2011 in Specials

By Ritika Chawla

19 old year Shiv is the lead vocalist of his college rock band ‘Agni’. Everything about his appearance highlights his rock star status. His T-shirt with the picture of popular rebel Che Guevara, his long hair locks and of course the tattoos on the lower arm and the ankle to complete the Bohemian look. And yes! You cannot miss the piercing on the left eyebrow. Talk to him about his unconventional looks and there is a sudden gush of excitement on his face. The tattoo on his left arm reads Life when read straight and Death when read upside down. And on his right ankle is a dragon with three heads, all in different directions. He explains that this three headed dragon represents the 3 predominant human emotions of love, anger and hatred. If you take a closer look you’ll see the marked difference in expression of each dragon face. Certainly tattoos are deeper than they look! He is more than willing to tell that he got his first tattoo made at the age of 16 when he was yet in school much to the protest of his parents. “But that’s what tattoos are for- rebellion, aren’t they?” says this Literature student of Delhi University. You can’t help but grin.

This story is not unique to Shiv; tattoos are no more a taboo they once used to be. They are becoming more and more common with the youth. In fact youngsters feel that tattoos define their very ideology of independence and uniqueness. “There is a tattoo for everyone.” believes Ankit Marwah or Anky as he is popularly known. Ankit has been running his tattoo studio “LN INK” in Lajpat Nagar region of Delhi successfully for past 5 years. He confirms that the number of customers have increased a great deal in these 5 years. “Tattoos are a way to enforce your identity, your individuality, your beliefs!” he says.

The word tattoo comes from the Tahitian “tatu” which means “to mark something.” Over the years, they have served as symbols of rights, symbols of rank and seniority or being juniors, symbols of spirituality, devotion, religion, rewards and awards for bravery, amulets, talismans and security. Tattoos were also used as a symbol of punishments, being outcast, slavery and conviction. Tattoos have been one of the most frequently used body arts. They were majorly used to express social status and religious values. Today tattoos serve a totally different purpose of style and personal inclinations.

However, getting yourself tattooed is not without risks. Tattoos breach the skin; this means that infections and skin complications are possible. Allergies from ink especially red ink causing rash on the tattoo site, bacterial infections etc are possible. It’s very important to ensure safety while getting yourself tattooed. You should ensure that

  • the tattoo artist is properly trained
  • wears gloves while tattooing
  • uses proper equipments
  • sterilizes the non-disposable equipments before using them on your body.

Use of infected needles can as well cause one to become HIV positive or contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C and tetanus. So it’s very important to go to a reputed tattoo studio to get your identity etched on your body.

Body piercing and tattooing is definitely trendy but should fashion and trends come at the cost of scarring you for life? Do post your comments below.