Getting my first Ink

It has been a long-pending dream of mine to get a tattoo. I don’t know what came over me, but I made a decision to ‘gift’ myself a tattoo for my 25th! Something that I never thought I’d do, so….impromptu. In fact, I still check my wrist every few minutes to check if I’ve really done it.

Getting my first ink was such a great experience. It took months of planning but the actual process got over in a flash. That left me with so much disbelief, yet a sense of accomplishment.

I got mine at this cute little parlor, Dragon Eye Tattoo at Saibaba Colony, Coimbatore. Why I refer to a tattoo parlor called ‘Dragon Eye’ cute, is a story for another day. But it’s got something to do with the tattoo lady there (who goes by the name of Shree) and her most affable and humorous nature. The lack of substance abuse and burly dudes at the place, contributed a little too.

These are the highlights of the whole experience. There are some tips for those of you who are looking to get your first (or whatever number-ed) tattoo.

Getting ready.

Before settling for one design, I crossed out soooo many options. I took nearly 3 months deciding back and forth on what I wanted. Finally, I fixed my design a mere two days before the D-day! I like to wing it that way. Otherwise, I’d forever be ‘deciding’. I’d never come to a conclusion.

My number one advice is to take time to think of your design carefully. But when you’re close to the tattoo day, just go with your instinct. 

It is not easy coming up with a tattoo design, I tell you. Imagine if we were given the choice to decide what shape of eyes, nose and hair-type we want to live with the rest of our lives. (I can hear some of you go, “I know exactly what I want.” Trust me, you don’t. Us humans, we function on envy. We ride our whole lives on a jealous-scale. We don’t ‘know’ what we want. We get something, then make comparisons with others’ somethings and complain about ours.)

Choosing an ink-pattern was just as difficult as choosing a permanent facial feature. I stumbled upon crown tattoos while stalking Pinterest profiles.”Shravs”, I said to myself, “Don’t you like the idea of a crown to remind you of grace, pride, patience and character?” And the idea stuck.

I considered this Celtic crown design. Briefly. I really liked the details, the curves and the Celtic knots. It had a touch of royalty and raw tribalness. As you can see, my brilliant artistic skills helped me decide the placement.

 

At the last minute, I threw out the idea because of its complexity and settled on this British crown instead.

And after many, many scribbles and trials…

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I was finally able to pick one that I liked.

Tattooing.

The excruciating part was over. Yep, the choosing part was the most difficult. The actual act of having a needle dig into your skin, was surprisingly, not painful at all.

Pain level (for girls): Greater than waxing but lesser than upper lip hair removal.
Pain level (for guys): More painful than holding in a fart, less painful than a wedgie (hopefully)

Shree was super cool and super calm about the whole thing. She looked at my design, made some tiny changes and got the stencil ready. Once she got to work, time flew. Hardly 15 minutes in, and she was adding the final touches.

There we are showing off. Not the double chins, the tattoo.

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After-tattoo care.

Day 1

Immediately after tattooing, your skin is going to be raw. The first 24 hours are most crucial. When the tattoo artist says, “No water, no touching and no soap”, it strictly means no to all three. The first few hours of care will grandly decide how your tattoo will turn out and it’s life.

Mine was reddish around the whole area. I used up nearly half of the ointment within the first few hours.

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In a couple of hours and dozens of ointment applications later, the swelling and redness reduced. The skin was still rough. Touching or scratching with nails was still a No-No.

The skin around the ink looked like a welt. This lasted nearly 4 hours.

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Day 2

I was told there would be itching and skin peeling. It was the morning after and there were still no signs of any skin flaking. But there was a tiny bit of itching. Every time I had the inclination to scratch, I had to distract myself, preferably with a Jon Snow poster, long enough for that urge to die down.

I’m not going to lie to you. Sleeping and showering were a pain. This was the day I found out that my left hand alone could bend in 46 different orientations while I slept and that placing the hot shower tap on the right side is  HUGE mistake.

Anyway, by day 2 with my incredible nurturing and loving affection, the tattoo’s blush had gone down so much. I gave it slight touch-ups every two hours. Sometimes the excess ink would come off, sometimes there was nothing. My only aim was to keep it well-oiled for the next 48 hours.

Here’s how it looked by the end of day 2.

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Day 3 and counting

I’m just one sleepless night short of giving my tattoo a nickname (how does Princess Blush’ sound?) It’s been a couple of days now and the ointment is over. My redness and swelling have all gone down. It itches occasionally. I’m able to touch the area without experiencing any harshness. The inked area still feels rough, as if it were sandpaper. Hopefully all this coconut oil should help smooth it and replenish my skin.

Oh, and yeah, this tattoo came at 1500 (plus taxes) bucks for 2 square inches. Pretty economical, I’d say. Job well done.

This has been the easiest item off my bucket list ever!

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