Post his term in prison for assaulting a paparazzo, British actor-comedian Russell Brand uploaded pictures of his Sanskrit tattoo on Twitter. The tattoo, which reads Anuugacchati Pravaha (meaning ‘go with the flow’), is identical to the one sported by girlfriend and pop diva Katy Perry. The placement, too, is the same: both have them on the inside of the right arm. The duo joins a long list of international celebrities who’re flaunting tattoos in the ancient Indian language.
Footballer Theo Walcott has one that translates into ‘Beautiful, Blessed, Strong, Intelligent’, while singer Rihanna and football star David Beckham famously sport misspelled Sanskrit tattoos!
But closer home, the language as a style statement isn’t enamouring many. “The most popular language is English, followed by Japanese Kanji and Arabic. Rarely does someone ask for a Sanskrit or Hindi tattoo,” says Siddarth Singh, manager of tattoo joint Funky Monkey. Fashion photographer Rishi Taneja, a self-professed tattoo aficionado, says, “I’ve never thought about getting a tattoo in Sanskrit... it never crossed my mind.”
“Back in school, I hated sitting in Sanskrit class. Maybe that’s why it’s not popular as a tattoo language — bad memories of midnight cram sessions conjure up,” says Pratistha Dhobal, a lifestyle journalist.