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Tattoo addiction: Is it real? 

Call it an addiction, an urge or an obsession, artists in Hyderabad say it is real, but it’s not a vice. The reasons range from decorating the body to chronicling life’s events. Read on to know more

Published: 22nd April 2021 12:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd April 2021 08:06 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD :  Abbas Razvi got inked for the first time when he was 18 he got his spine tattooed and there was no looking back ever since. The 33-year-old sound engineer now has a little over 20 tattoos, big and small, all over his body. Honestly speaking, he’s lost count.

His body is a canvas which boasts of art works by artists from across the world New Zealand, Germany and the renowned Paul Booth from the US. “I got my first tattoo when I was in New Zealand. In the initial phases, I was addicted to getting more but there was a long break after I returned to India. I was a bit finicky about the hygiene and quality of equipment here.

A mandala tattoo by Subhojit Chakroborty

But after a few years, I finally found a good studio in Hyderabad. I think I’ve lost count of how many I have now,” says Abbas, who has already decided what his next tattoo is going to be. It’s an illustration based on a song by his band Godless, which has been designed by an Indonesian artist.

Is getting tattooed addictive? Is it the adrenalin rush you feel while the needle injects ink into the layers of your dermis that makes you desire for more? Or is it the plain simple urge to chronicle your life’s events and milestones? 

Tattoo artists in Hyderabad say it’s a mixed bag of reasons and feelings. For Subhojit Chakroborty, who has his studio, Koru Ink, at Ramgopalpet, it is definitely addictive but very subjective. “A tattoo helps you express who you are and people connect with the art in various ways spiritually, artistically, some relate to the pain, while some are just collectors who love to get inked by different artists from all over the world,” he says. 

But there is more to this, he says: “Pain is our greatest teacher and once you conquer it, you rise up and see things from a higher perspective. That pain is a temporary part of the process which makes you learn to trust yourself and your body. There’s a lot more to this addiction, which is happening at deeper levels.”

According to artist Amin Sultan Hajiani, the reason is simple: people compliment you on your tattoo, which makes you want to beautify your body some more. “You go to your artist with an idea and he executes it well. You love the design, it makes you feel great and now you can’t stop thinking of going back to him for more,”he says.

Pinku Bijoy Ghosh of Inkkraft Tattoos in Banjara Hills has a different take on this. “Our lives keep evolving, we go through so many incidents and we want to remember some important ones. Some of us capture these moments in the form of a tattoo. It’s a beautiful experience which begins right from the time you share an idea with your artist till the time your tattoo heals. The amount of brainstorming that happens between the artist and the client is possible only when there is trust and a certain comfort level. Once you build this bond with your artist, you keep going back to him/her for more designs because you know they’ll do a great job,” he says.

Sridevi Addepalli, a mother of two who lives in Lingampally, is someone who captures her life’s moments and milestones by getting inked. She got her first tattoo 15 years ago in Bali a rose with thorns on her nape. “I wanted my first tattoo to reflect my personality I am beautiful and delicate but can also be fierce. My second tattoo was dedicated to my pets. I got five paws on my ankle, one each for all the dogs I’ve had in the last 39 years,” she says as she plans her next design to mark her motherhood.

So here’s a disclaimer, no one can get inked just once, and tattoos don’t give you cancer! Go to a hygienic studio and brainstorm your idea with your artist because that piece of art is going with you to your grave.

Let’s debunk some myths   about tattoos

Tattoos give you cancer and HIV
It does not give you cancer, says tattoo artist Amin. The scientific community has not established a link between tattoos and cancer yet. As far as HIV goes, just go to a studio which is licensed and hygienic. Make sure your artist uses disposable needles, gloves, fresh ink and the environment is steralised. 

You bleed a lot  
This was true back in the day. But now, with sophisticated needles and guns, you hardly bleed. But if your artist pierces the needle too deep into your skin, you might end up bleeding and the tattoo will look a mess. Choose your artist wisely, do your research about him/her.

You can erase a tattoo with laser 
Yes you can, but its not easy. Firstly, it hurts a lot! Secondly, there will be some amount of irreparable damage to the skin. Finally, you’d have to shell out big money for it. In short, you may be able to erase the tattoo but the world will know that you had one, thanks to the scarring.

— Himabindu Reddy himabindugopinath@newindianexpress.com @himureddy



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