The Long Kiss Goodnight.
Five years is a long time for a person who loves getting tattooed, to not have gotten tattooed. I have missed the hum the needle makes when you get inked. I have missed the conversations, during the whole tattoo experience, with the people around you. I sit here, brand new ink on my forearm, and wonder, why did I wait so long?
Each tattoo is a poem wanting to bloom. A remembrance of past memories made. A symbol of more memories to come ahead. A salve on old wounds. A permission to move ahead, no matter. A milestone. A standard bearer for change.
I was so engulfed in the Everyday that I forgot about my goals, my milestones, things and experiences that made me happy, things and experiences that make me who I am. A change came, a declaration of mortality and with it the funniest question of all time - What the fuck am I doing?
As I found myself reaching for answers to that one question, I came to the realisation that I wasn’t happy. For a multitude of reasons. I was scared of too many things going wrong. This change swept me, in a way that was, not welcomed, I understand now, but needed; for me to go on. While I was warped within my fears and unhappiness, I have missed a a lot. I have lost more in the last few years then I have gained. This needed to change. This needs to change. I needed to change. I need to change.
Change, in a way I would want to remember what I have lost. In a way I can remember the last 5 years of not hearing the hum of the needle. In a way that reminds what it is to follow through whatever it is that you set in your mind to do, your dreams. This fact was brought to my attention by an anime/manga series. One Piece. Enough said.
Wearing tattoos on me like milestones, I needed the remembrance and all that those previous years have given and taken away from me. At the same time I needed to declare that I am still alive. I needed another tattoo and how!
The Magicians & The Wannabe Tattoo Artists.
I started with looking for tattoo artists in Bombay, India. One thing that you don’t come across here is a good artist. Someone who you can go to with what’s in your head or in your sketch book and depend on him/her to get you what you seek on you, by means of a tattoo. Trust me, I have tried a lot of tattoo artists, almost each tattoo on me is by a different person claiming to be a tattoo artist. So far, I have only found, if you include Savio(see below) in this list, 3 people who I can depend upon and immediately recall when you say “Tattoo Artists”. The others, without taking any names, are only in for the money and the label of being called “The best tattoo artist(s)”. I have stories of my “getting-tattooed” experiences, to prove it.
First one is Joy Wong, she has a studio in Bangkok, the entire Wong family is into tattoos. She’s the daughter of Jimmy Wong. Now I am a kinda, well to do guy so I can afford a tattoo on me, heck a lot of tattoos on me, but I can’t afford to go to Bangkok for the sole purpose of getting tattooed. She’s just too far away for me. And I couldn’t wait.
Second one was Shanti, a tibetan guy I got tattooed by, long ago at Al’s Tattoo Studio, Bandra. He was really something. Currently MIA though. So a dead end here too.
Third one is Savio d’Silva, a.k.a Savio Chote. He is from Bandra, Bombay. A fine art magician from Sir JJ School of Arts. An illustrator, designer and a tattoo artist. He came highly recommended by two of my friends, Nevs and Havs (Thank you guys). He never repeats his works. His sketches are just plain awesome. His work speaks for itself (see photos). If you hear anyone say he’s arrogant or can’t do freehand tattoos, ask them to look up this blog post or contact me. I did be willing to give a testimonial in person. I have been tattooed by him just today, and only my first sitting too. I am going get a second tattoo from him this year, and hopefully if I can afford it, fix another one that I got done years ago from one of “the most educated tattoo artists" in Bombay, who couldn’t manage to treat something so personal, so permanent and ephemeral to me, with a shred of respect.
Savio loves sketching, illustrating birds of all kinds. He knows what he’s doing. Treats every tattoo as it should be, something unique to him and you. I would highly recommend him to anyone who would want to get a tattoo done in Mumbai(Bombay), India. Simply because of what I have inked on me today (see photo) and an experience to boot!
This is the very first time I am writing about what a particular tattoo means to me. Writing the very first time, my experience getting one.
Being the first ink I got after five years, I wanted this tattoo to be done right. I sketched it up, not completely but just enough to give Savio some idea of what I wanted on me.
The tattoo, when whole represents a pirate flag. The flag bit is left for a second sitting.
Why a pirate flag, you ask?
Jolly Roger had been a generic term for a jovial, carefree man since at least the 17th century.. Source: Wikipedia.
Add to the above definition some of One Piece.
The minute you raise a pirate flag you begin to question everything. You are ready for that final blow, even if it comes way early then it’s suppose to. Death doesn’t scare you. Because you are doing what you want to, happily. You are chasing your dream(s), even if it means that it will end up killing you. And where pirate flags are concerned, No dream(s) is big or small.
The Skull in my pirate flag is the image of death, of mortality, of time slipping by. Reminding me to keep moving. Reminding me to run if I can’t fly; to walk, if I can’t run; to limp, if I can’t walk; to crawl, if I can’t limp. Whatever it is, whatever it may be, wherever it may be - pursue it. Do it. No better time than now.
The cross bones was something I thought about a lot before putting it down in my sketch book.
The fishing hook represents patience. For me, it’s a symbol of the elusive, not so elusive, catch of the day. When you fish, you have to wait. Attach and the throw the bait - do some work that reaps (literally) reward(s) that fill up your tummy as well as other’s tummies. The wait, at first is an impatient one. As time goes on, you look forward to the wait and the quiet, more than the reward(s) it reaps. You look forward to that “Catch of the day”, and any catch, so to speak, is the catch of the day. It’s always the journey and not the destination.
The second cross bone is, a Trident, a Trishul, Neptune’s symbol and a symbol of the Taoist Trinity.
“The Tao produced One; One Produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things.” - Source: Wikipedia.
The Taoist Trinity a.k.a Three Pure Ones, from the classic Tao Te Ching (one of my favorite reads of all time and something I tend to follow more often not without being aware of it), are the symbol of Everything, Nothing and Balance.
The Trident has been Poseidon’s tool to create changes, to cleanse with water. Water has been always special to me, the grace, the flow, the turmoil underneath a bed sheet of stillness, there’s so much more to water. It’s where all life began. It’s where I, we, come from, started from. Thus there’s water in the form of a hat around the head of the Skull.
The Trishul is the tool of Lord Shiva. In the hands of Lord Shiva, the Trishul represents the Universe’s manifestation in all it’s aspects. It also represent’s the nothingness the Universe was born out of. The very essences of Being. It also represents Lord Shiva himself - a symbol in my culture for patience, vision, the moon and it’s intoxicating breath that leaves you being more aware then ever, the seven chakras, the filter of accepting only what you want to. Now I am no good where it comes to deity worship. But I do love my stories and what Lord Shiva’s & his Trishul symbolise.
Neptune’s symbol is also the Trident. It represents the clarity born out of isolation. The complex nature of change. It represents Dreams, Esotericism, Imagination, Emotion, Shadow and Invention amongst other things, but these are the ones I want to remember and be reminded of.
The Trishul, Neptune’s symbol and in some cases the Trident, represents a multitude of symbolic meanings grouped in threes, since a Trishul/Trident is 3 pronged. The below are the threes that this cross bone represents, the threes I want to remember and be reminded of, every time I look at this tattoo on me.
The Trident’s/Trishul’s threes, for me, represent:
- Birth, Life & Death.
- Mind, Body & Soul.
- Past, Present & Future.
- Moon, Sun & Fire.
- Dust, Ash & the Illusion of the in between.
- Truth, Beauty in everything & the sub-strata of Nothingness.
- Nothingness itself, Awareness & the Subconscious.
- Creation, Maintenance & Destruction.
- Will, Action & Knowledge.
- Shepherd, Sheep & Chains.
- Purity, Attachment & Darkness.
- The physical Universe, the Universe within & the spiritual Universe.
- Virtue, Success & Pleasure.
- Self, Others & Love.
- Self Debt, Debt of Dreams & Debt of the Universe.
- The Nature of the Universe, the Creators around us & their various Creations.
- Young age, Middle age & Old age.
- In-breath, Out-breath & Held-breath.
A long list I know and thus the Symbol. I may not remember everything in the list now, but I will remember some, then most and then all.
Thus I raise my pirate flag for my dream(s), my future to come - no matter how long or brief it may be. To remind me that there are still things worth doing and that I am still alive. To remind me there’s so much within and without. That there’s so much between awake and asleep.