Personally I have never bought into the idea that tattoo’s tell stories or have a particular meaning behind them and I can interpret my own body art in any number of different ways depending on what particular mood I am in. What they do do however, is forever etch a particular time and place onto your skin, and therefore into your psyche, forever.
It was August 2016 and I was in Udaipur, India. It was my 2nd time in India and I had the vague idea that I wanted something material to remember my time in this very special country by. After breakfast, I set off for a stroll around the time chatting to the local shop keepers and firmly but politely declining their attempts to get me into their stores. My resistance however crumbled when I reached the Little Armani store as the temptation of getting tailor made, funky shirts for only a few dollars was just too much to resist.
Whilst measuring me up for the fit, the tailor commented that I had a lot of tattoo’s. He casually suggested that if I was interested in getting another one then his friend was a very good artist.
Now, getting a permanent marking onto your skin is a not something you should ever do on a spur of the moment whim but the magic of India does strange things to a man. Besides that I had previously considered getting a Mandala tattoo a month earlier in Nepal but decided against it after the Nepalese artists tried charging European prices.
Ten minutes later I was in the tattoo parlour reviewing Jazz’s portfolio. I was satisfied that he was a good artist and after the usual bit of Indian bartering we had a deal! I had wanted a Mandala ever since travelling in Dharmasala in North India and we looked online and picked an existing design. I have no idea what the design originally signified but I knew what it meant to me…
When it came to choosing the placement, I asked Jazz to put it on my right hand. I wanted this tattoo to be visible for all the world to see and for it to be apparent the very second you met me. Why is this? Well during the previous 4 months I had been travelling India and Nepal with no savings, making just enough to keep moving by travel blogging. Whilst the money wasn’t fantastic and there was no job security, I loved the work, the lifestyle and I wanted it to last forever.
Yet I knew that at some point the temptation to retreat to England and take a secure, better paying totally fucking soulless job would creep into my consciousness. Having a tattoo on my hand would make it that bit harder for me to ever find such a job again because England is still quite conservative and despite a plethora of equal opportunities legislation, visible tattoos and excessive piercings do stop people from getting steady jobs. The tattoo was therefore both a deliberate effort to scupper my attempts at ever returning to a normal life and also a celebratory act remembering the defiant freedom I had found by sticking it to the man, hitting the road with no money and doing things my own way.
Its now possibly my favourite all of my tattoos.