Today is my thirtieth birthday. As you read this column, I am lounging on a beach somewhere in Goa trying to decide whether I should be hiding that single white hair or flaunting it as a badge of
maturity (not of the emotional kind of course. As my husband says, sometimes our son shows more emotional maturity than I do).
Two weeks ago, I suddenly realised that I wasn’t prepared in any way for this so called landmark birthday. My list of cool, awesome things to have done
before turning 30 was woefully lacking. I had a vague list in my head that included winning the Booker, but since there was little chance of winning a literary prize in a fortnight I decided there was only one thing left to do.
Get a tattoo.
I know. How cliched. How middle class desi chick (though perhaps the term woman is more appropriate from this day forth) trying to be cool. Well it was all I had people. It was either that or shave my head. So I called a dear friend who is something of a tattoo junkie herself and before I knew it I had an appointment at a parlour in the suburbs.
I spent a great deal of time thinking about what to get. Something floral? Abstract? A Chinese symbol perhaps, which years from now as I traipse along downtown Shanghai, a helpful local will point at and say, “that means underneath my dress I’m really a man”. I finally chose something that I thought was both meaningful and kick ass. Image in hand, I set off to the suburbs and my date with a sharp and hopefully new needle.
The 60 minute wait in the parlour flew by as my friend and I watched in rapt fascination as a middle aged man added multi-coloured extensions to his hair. At least I was dealing with my pre mid-life crisis in a more mature manner.
Upstairs in what looked more like a store room than a comfortable place to allow someone to poke me repeatedly with a needle, I met Marius, a German tattoo artist of indeterminable age and limited vocabulary.
I was tempted to do my best Allo!Allo! impression. But I thought better of it. The man did have a needle in his hand after all.
As the needle whirred in to action I tensed in anticipation and waited for the immense pain. The Kill-Bill-esque gushing of blood and my own screams. But all I felt was a mild pricking. And nothing more. Pain? What pain? (Of course, I’m now quite convinced that I have a superior threshold for pain. Maybe having a child does make you stronger. Or, as my husband said, maybe I just have really thick skin.)
Marius worked diligently breaking his self imposed vow of silence once, to admonish “If you shake when you get ze tattoo you will have shaky tattoo”.
At the end of forty minutes I was the proud owner of a trishul tattoo and felt amazingly pumped up. My high lasted until I got home and my son saw my tattoo.
“Amma has a cartoon.” he chirped pointing at it. Umm, that’s not exactly how I would
describe it kiddo. “Amma. It’s a fork.” What’s that they say? Out of the mouth of babes?
Oh well. Happy birthday to me!
(in this weekend’s zeitgeist!)