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A Cherry Blossom and a yin-yang Mandala couple's tattoo

Life is full when it comes to a circle. My marriage with Abhijit is based on the principle of “agree to disagree”. I mean, it is all fun and games till we are down to certain topics where we just don’t see eye to eye. Art being on a fore front, sometimes. He says “A” and I say “Z”. Our brains are always running on parallel tracks. However, we get along well because we never intersect. The gap that bridges our two parallels, would be described as “best friendship”, if we were to label it.

We were trying to explore this Project 377 back in 2017. Like the name very obviously suggests, it was all about the #LGBTQ (there was no IA that year) community. We have a young client who is a very smart and paramount part of this community. Pooja, who got me a little insight into the community to be able reach into their dendrites. She gave me a lot of leads of this very underground group of people. So we started off the project in Bangalore during our first yearly stint in Koramangala at the elusive Cuckoo Hostel. The story of this one deserves another blog I suppose, so we’ll keep that one for later. Amongst a lot of other interesting profiles of the queer community, we met Kasey and Serena. One, this beautiful Caucasian woman with golden hair and a soothing demeanour. Other one, a golden hued Indian-American, Punjabi woman who’s passion included ballet dancing. From all that we gathered about them, they both loved nature and the wild in particular. Travelled quite a bit and every chance they could get. A very passionate lesbian couple who described their partners as poetic in their own right. It was very evident how both of them just flowed into each other.

They asked me and Abhijit to ink both of them. A forever couple doing a #couplestattoo on this dreamy couple. Felt just right! It had never been done before though, A collaboration between me and Abhijit. But a request like that, we could just not turn down. So we made up our minds to make this work.

I figured we could work if I take a subtle back seat, since Abhijit is born to lead and sometimes it is my turn to let go of the #pride (pun unintended). He came up with an idea, to start something on Kasey’s upper arm and let it flow down to her cubital fossa and on to Serena’s lower arm and onto the forearm to stop at the wrist. He wanted to do a Cherry Blossom. The girls wanted mandalas from me. So here I decided to do a light and a dark half mandala, on each and tie it up in a yin-yang format. Not very similar but still bound by one common effect, fitting into each other like meant to be. They were to be married later that year back home. But this day, this tattoo felt like a marriage too. Maybe on a more subliminal level.

Once the stencil was done on the day of the tattoo, we stepped out to the nearby udipi with K and S in toe, for our dose of Filter coffee. I mean we were in Bangalore, we each had 7-8 cups of those daily! To my trained coffee palate, it was the mecca of filter coffee. Upon returning, Abhijit began to tattoo S’s Cherry blossom and I began with K’s Upper arm mandala. We each almost got done with the first installment at more or less the same time. We ate and then swapped the hot seats. It was Serena’s turn with me. On a more technical observation. Indian skin happens to be softer than Caucasian skin. However tattoos look a lot better on White skin (I mean c’mon, we need to accept the fair skin obsession tattoo artists have, only with respect to tattoos). Moving on.

A lil bit of pain which we all enjoy and we were done with their tattoos.

Have you ever walked behind someone who swings their hands too much while walking? You have to walk around them or alter a pace with them so both of you swing in tandem to be able to comfortably walk with each other. A partnership. It takes years of practice and a lot of disruption.

Sometimes we love our clients and more often than we’d like, we don’t. We deal in vibes. At the end of the day, if we sit down and share a meal with them, the day has come to a full potential. It had become a full circle that day.

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