Thursday, August 16, 2012

Once were warriors

I have no idea why everyone I know thinks that I am going through a midlife crisis.

Getting a full back tattoo, buying a Royal Enfield bike and taking up archery does not amount to a crisis, it is what I would call, finally getting to do what I want.

Let me tell you about getting a tattoo. I insist.

I always wanted to get a tattoo. It was one of those things. For a guy who had a penchant for dressing goth during teenage with sharpened canines, getting a tattoo seemed, well, like a natural progression.

I can hear my wife saying that one should investigate into your would be spouse's back ground before tying the knot. I digress.

Why back?

Its actually quite simple. Back is one part of your body that does not alter that much as you age. A wolf on your belly will end up looking like Garfield after sometime. That is one reason. Second is that I get bored easily. Its something to do with people like me. We need constant stimulation and excitement. Routines, comfort zones etc are all great for a respite but beyond a certain period it becomes like a death sentence. This phase can be recognized by suicide attempts,reckless behavior, affairs, getting in touch with your ex ( that comes under reckless behavior) or in my case , getting a tattoo. Good thing about having the damn thing on your back means that you dont get to see it unless you do that exorcist thingy of turning your head all the way around or having someone take a picture of it or standing in that dressing room with mirrors all around which reflects you to infinity. This means that you will never be bored of it. Its becomes like the Gulf Malayalee Marriages. Where the love and anticipation is kept alive by the distance of 3000 kms between the spouses.

There is the added attraction that unlike some long distance relationships, the tattoo will still be there when you want to see it.

The tattoo.

I had selected this Maori tribal design for the upper back. Why tribal? Well, I will let you in on a secret. I know its kinda silly and all but I sometimes feel as if I am born in the wrong era. By my caste, I am born a warrior. I know it means nothing now but I used to day dream about sword fights and full contact combat. As a child, I was running around in the woods near my house with a bow and arrow, shooting at banana plants. Maoris also were once warriors. So a tribal tattoo appealed to me.

I carried that design around with me for close to three years , before finding someone to do it here in Dubai. Tattooing is banned here. So there's this underground tattoo artists who operate out of their houses. Being underground, they use the best of equipment and are fanatical about hygiene, since one incident can land the whole bunch into a lot of trouble. I approached them through a series of unconnected contacts. The cost was reasonable and it took 4 hours to complete it.

The end result was , if I may say so, pretty darn fantastic.

Now I had the whole lower back to cover. I had my eye on this tribal design of a wolf . I like wolf. As a familiar , I have always identified with a wolf as my wife would confirm. This obsession was not recent. It is a more than 12 years madness.

Back tattooing is painful. Trust me. I have a pretty decent pain threshold. I did not want to break the session into two, so had decided to do the full hog at one shot. The artist estimated 8 hours of work. Somewhere in the middle I was mentally kicking myself for thinking I could sit through the torture. But sit through I did. Not much of choice, once started it had to finish. The tattoo guy took 6 hours to finish it. He wants to come back for touch up.

Now the question which all of us are asked; Why?

I have no idea.

The most nearest to honest answer I can give is, because I can.

For me , my tattoos are personal. Its not even visible unless I go swimming. There is definitely an element of vanity , knowing that my body has become a little bit more interesting to the viewer. But truth be told, I am pretty oblivious to that. I just like that I have my wolf on my back.

Wolf in Maori stands for Family, Loyalty and Courage.

To me that is worth being written in blood.


Spaceman Spiff said...

Full back tattoo? Ride a Royal Enfield?

Would you be interested in an extra-marital affair, after all? Just asking... ;)

Spaceman Spiff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tys said...

@spaceman spiff : Nah...too lazy for all the effort..

Poori said...

Barfed all the way through this post. I suppose you know how I feel on the subject of body art. Was on the verge of batting your blog right out of the park and & paying supari to have you done in, when along came the last two lines. There's something to be said about using 'Maori' & 'loyalty' 'wolf' & 'family' & 'courage', all in one sentence..very very nice.

tys said...

poori, when r u getting back? I need my dose of put me downs to make my days bearable. Cant believe you dont like body art. Ah, i forget. You dont have ample canvas to let alone draw a line on it.

Think abt it, a 500 years back, u cud hve been Unni archa - if u cud lift a sword that is.

Poori said...

Unni archer?? That would be a strange gender blender no? :)

tys said...

poori : unni archa, you know? chathiyan chandu? vadankan veeragatha?..damn, woman , you are a shame to our mallu warrior ettu veetu pillamar tradition...go and slice urself on an urmi..

Jules said...

Why did you not post a photo? I read that whole long post and was expecting a photo at the end. Uff.

I love that you've tattooed something so meaningful to you. I dislike people who just go out and get them just for kicks and without thought.

P.S. The garfield comment made me lol.

P.S.S. Why does Grunty get to befriend you in FB but you haven't offered that to me? Hmph.

tys said...

jules, gimme your mail id and will send you the name to find me on fb...since i know you and grunt for the last 6 years, you are officially family....

Jules said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


That's fantastic that you are doing stuff that you like and it's meaningfull to you, even tho if nobody else likes. What about the Mrs. does she like the tatoo or not? Just wondering. Have a good one mate. :)


PS Would love to see the photo of the design.

tys said...

harry, wife hates body art with vengeance...but to her credit, she doesnt enforce her dislikes onto me...i even got her to like my goatee..

Sairam said...

you post once in a while. But it is worth the wait.

I really loved that line about the Gulf malayalee marriage. If you dreamt up that line yourself - hats off to you.

Hats off to you even otherwise.

tys said...

sairam : been very lax about this blog...hopefully it will stick around like the much ignored abused wife of a drunkard.
man, i cud write tales about the gulf malayalee marriages...its an anthropology study by itself.

thank you for your kind salute.