Binish Mushtaq’s tattoos are personal property but he’s very open to questions about them. Red Indian faces, dragon tails, a fish who died in his aquarium — these are like letters to himself, penned on occasion, by friends.
“This is artwork by friends,” says the 23-year-old graphic designer with an international bank, as he points out tattoos made by different artists on his skin. “I first have to connect with them, as friends. And from then on, it’s a journey.”
For the young, a tattoo is not just a design. It’s character turned inside out for private viewing and also for public display. It’s an addiction to be enjoyed in community. “All my friends have tattoos,” he adds, as if letting on the password to pry open the gate to his club. “Sometimes, we are all out partying till late but the next morning, you’ll find
us at Mike’s (a tattoo artist at Chittaranjan Park) table, waiting to get our next tattoo.”
“After my first tattoo two years ago,” — Binish will get the 31st done right
after the interview — “I have added a motif almost every two weeks.” Say he, “Whenever I see a good picture or a painting, I have to get it tattooed on my body. It’s a different feeling and quite hard to explain. All I can say is that it helps me understand the image better when it gets made on my skin.”
The 31st tattoo will be an inscription — In Dust We Trust — from a Chemical Brothers number. This will be the first on his chest. The next step is a body suit, but with some open spaces. Why make an exception? “C’mon, that would be weird. I don’t want to be weird. I want to be funky.”