Published On: November 1, 2018 09:05 AM NPT By: Rahat Poudel

Why should they care? Let’s get inked

Why should they care? Let’s get inked

Call it a norm or a fashion, getting the skin inked with different arts and designs has always baffled people from quite some time. Some people draw the tempting art to call it passion while others just follow the tradition. Securing its traditional values, people then drew tattoos in the body. They had a strong belief, they could take that art into the world of spirits after they depart from the world. They sculpted names and images of the Gods they believed in. Mostly, such forms of tattooing were famous among the Newar, Magar, Gurung and Tharu communities. Also, traditionally people considered tattoo as a huge assets that could be sold at the gate of the heaven, eventually letting one through that gate. 

Apart from its traditional prospects, the act of getting inked with mesmerizing and meaningful arts and designs has equally impacted the youths. Some people call it a passion while others claim that their love for the art compelled them to needle their skin. The youth is more vocal about this form of art. Slowly but steadily, the tattoo culture is getting its grip at the students too. It has been an endearing art amongst them. 

Mahesh Limbu is a student who recently passed his +2 in Management from Sky Rider Higher Secondary English Boarding School, Chitwan. He says he has a deep love for tattoo. “I have always found people with tattoos cool and awesome. So, I wanted to have one. Calling it an interest, yearning to have one and finally getting inked is a good feeling for the tats-lover. Right now, I have two tattoos in my body and I am looking forward to having a new one pretty soon.” Limbu added. 

Jackson Pollock once said, “Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.” Like the saying, people discover the love for art sooner or later. Such discoveries might result finding and resembling oneself with the art. Abiral Shakya, Event Manager at Club Fahrenheit, says that the act of drawing in the skin defines the craving for the art carries a deep meaning.  Only he can decode the messages behind it. Shakya altogether has 13 tattoos inked in his body and every single one reminiscences him of his favorite memories. According to Shakya, the tattoos are a way of calling the moments which must be remembered forever. Explaining more, he said, “Memories come and go. Some take pictures to remember their favorite moments but I use the form of inking my skin to frame the memories forever. Pictures might be lost but the designs that are already drawn in the skin are hard to diminish. They stay with us, always!”

Shredding the gender-based discrimination in the society, some females are equally interested in drawing the art and designs in their skins. Aayushi Sapkota, CA student at Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) says her love for paintings made her tattoo in her body. She said, “From my childhood, I had a deep love for paintings and drawings. After seeing   people having the graphic arts imprinted on their bodies, I was impressed by the idea. That idea further led me to tattoo both my wrists and   my shoulder.” 

Some people prefer being needled at their homes while others roam around tattoo shops to have a perfect one. Like the tattoos itself, the tattoo business is comparatively on the rise. 

Rajan Maharjan, a tattoo artist, runs a tattoo shop named Mandala Tattoo at Freak Street in Kathamandu. He says he has been in the tattoo business for 10 years. When asked as to what   made him a tattoo artist, he replied, “The love of tattoos made me follow my passion”. 

“Before needling people’s skin with colors, I was into paintings and sketches. I had always wanted to draw on people’s skin. And my love for art finally made me do that,” Maharjan says. Despite Maharjan having been in this business for over a decade, he says he has no tattoos in his body.

Though the tattoos have tempted people towards a vast range of arts, the society mostly doesn’t accept   people who have designs on their skin. This is why many people hide their tattoos, especially from their elders to parents. 

Addressing the situation, Sapkota says that it was difficult having tattoos in the early days. “Though young people yearn and appreciate the tattoos, some people still criticize the art.” Despite having a tattoo less body, Maharjan has come through several verbal attacks for running the business. He said, “People don’t consider tattoo business as a genuine one. They often label us by the slurs like ‘Gunda’, ‘Jagaltey’ and ‘Tyape’.”

Despite the hate and criticisms, tattoo lovers unanimously voice their concerns. “It doesn’t matter what society thinks when we are following the art we enjoy.”

Music and tattoo lover concurrently

Sunny Manandhar aka Suncha Vox is a guitarist from Albatross band. He is also one of the founding members of the band and one who grew with the band’s name. As he is one of the tat loving celebrities, My City asked him some queries. Here is what he had to say:

1.    When did your tattoo love start?
 When I was a little kid, I used to see people with tattoos and I was always amused by them. So, my love for tattoos began since I was like eight.

2.    Has music ever inspired to have a design on your skin?
 Well, I wanted to make a tattoo of a guitar but I haven’t done it so far. But I did make a tattoo of my band ‘Albatross’.

3.    Do your tattoos convey meanings? 
I have many tattoos and all of them convey independent meanings. Most important one is my mother’s name on my left arm. That’s a tribute tattoo to her after her death. I had it on my left hand as the left arm connects directly to the heart. I have my wife’s birth date tattooed too. As the Batman is my favorite superhero, I have also made his logo in my skin. Some others are roots design, Buddha and a few random tattoos.

4.    What are your views on society’s criticism and their definition of people with tattoos?
I consider tattoos as a canvas in a skin. I don’t care what the society says. At the end of the day, they aren’t the ones who is feeding you or taking care of you. Also, I had to hide my first tattoo from my mom for three months. One day, she saw it and got really mad at me. But she finally accepted it. 

tattoo, Albatross,

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