College student Ashima Gupta seethed with pain as the needle pierced her skin. For a second, everything blacked out. The 20-year-old shut her eyes and chanted “Om” — the two letters, were, after all, being tattooed on her left forearm. The young tattoo artist, hard at work, had his eyes fixed at the tip of the needle that moved in and out of Ashima’s skin.
Gaurav Bakshi, 25, owner of the Sting Tattoo House in Rajouri, has been in the tattoo profession for three years. Bakshi says any permanent tattoo involves pain. And those done in haste often hurt more than for what you would have bargained.
But Gupta, the second year student of Hindu College doesn’t care. Tattoos, she feels, are style statements. “They reflect one’s ideology”. Which is why she had the ‘Om’ done. That and the movie Rock On — celebrities often have to do with an accelerated trend among the youth.
“A tattoo takes almost an hour to complete. Care has to be taken regarding hygiene — both while the tattoo is being made and after it,” explains Bakshi. “The needles, ink, razors, hand gloves and caps are all fresh. We ask our customers to see for themselves that the seal is not be broken.”
Lokesh Verma, the 26-year-old who has been trained in tattoo-making in Thailand and runs Devilz Tattooz in Vasant Vihar, has recently embarked on attempting to make the world record of tattooing 220 flags on the body of 67-year-old Guiness Rishi. “Tattoo-making is painful but not more than just an ant bite. We use only FDA-approved products and fresh needles are used for every customer. The safety measures are equivalent to those followed in the hospitals. And till now, I haven’t received any skin-related complaints,” he says.
While the art is more popular among the young generation, the elders too, aren’t lagging far behind. “My customers range from 18 year-old college-going hippies to 70-year-olds. The cost of a 2X2 inch art in black ink is Rs 3,000 while a coloured tattoo of the same size would cost one Rs 3,800,” points out Verma.
Raman Dhingra, owner of Airbrush Tattoo Shop in Connaught Place, however offers reasonable options — a one-inch tattoo costs about a thousand bucks here.
Gaurav Bakshi, whose next tattoo studio is opening shortly at Mocha, Defence Colony, says “Besides maintaining the quality of the work and the art, I also give discounts to students once they show their identity cards.”
“We make tattoos only on people who are 18 and above. Every individual has different skin. One must never go in for tattoos if prone to skin allergies. Moreover, I advise my customers to use Silver-X antibiotic cream for a few days after getting the tattoo done. Baby oil or Vaseline can also be applied,” cautions Bakshi about post-tattoo care.
Handy tip: Dab rosewater but avoid swimming for at least 15 days after the tattoo is done.