For 6 years I’ve been thinking about it. Fascinated with tribal, scripted and patterned decorative band-like tattoos on arms and forearms, I’ve got myself temporary ones whilst on holiday but haven’t had the guts to get a real one.
At work I am often amused to see big huge biker type, heavily tattooed men, claiming to be needle-phobic. One of them last week had his life story written all over him – kid’s and grand-kid’s names and dates of birth, many birds and butterflies, some pretty girls, hearts and crosses and even the football team he supports!
This morning I woke up with a resolve. Today is the day I get a tattoo on my left arm. The tiny city centre of Lagos has 3 or 4 tattoo parlours. I got a recommendation from the yoga instructor and went along to see John. He opens his shop from 3-7pm only. So cool! Initially I thought I would like a row of elephants going around the arm. That would be in line with Saagar’s elephant tattoos. When I really thought about it, I realised that all I wanted was ‘Saagar’. Although his soul is formless and nameless, he exists as Saagar, my beautiful son, in his and my earthly life. I love him and always will. So that’s what it was going to be.
Luckily I was the only customer in the shop and had John’s full attention. Luckily he asked me no questions about the set of letters. Very professional! We went through a range of fonts and patterns, sizes and shapes, colours and widths, styles and embellishments. It was a tough choice as I wanted something which brought together Hindi and English scripts, given he was a self-confessed ‘coconut’ (brown on the outside, white on the inside). Something really simple.
It was painful. Especially the first 10 minutes. In all it was three quarters of an hour of trying not to scrunch up my face with pain, of maintaining a slow, regular and rhythmic breathing pattern, allowing myself to be distracted by unfamiliar music playing in the shop and tapping my right foot to the beats while keeping my upper body absolutely still. Once or twice I was completely overwhelmed by the pain but managed to keep it together, just like when I was in labour.
It is simple and sweet.
He is always with me and always will be. Love you my darling!