Thursday, 5 June 2014


Today I was going through the May 31st issue of K2, the weekend magazine by Kuensel. The issue is focused mainly on tattoos; why people have them, what others think about them, etc. And this topic hasn't been able to escape my mind for the whole day.
 Tattoos are usually associated with the youngsters, mostly who are into substance abuse, alcohol and other social problems, specially in our community and if one is seen bearing prints on their bodies they are automatically associated with drugs and alcohol. Our society seems to look down at these people with tattoos. Tattoos are considered taboo and people with tattoos are being asked to remove them. Cases of people not being employed because of their prints have also been mentioned in the articles. The Thimphu referral hospital has been surgically removing tattoos, majority of the reason for inked people doing this being not getting employment. 
And then there are others who have thought of getting their bodies tattooed but could not sum up the courage to do so. The pain one has to endure during the process, risk of infections, what others think, what their parents will say, etc. are some of the common reasons people list down for not getting tattooed. One particular reason caught my attention..... one guy is worried about what his future child will think about it. How his tattoo would affect his child's up bringing. This is the same reason that's stopping me from getting a tattoo myself.
There is also an article in the magazine that talks about the religious point of view about tattooing oneself. According to our religion hurting or piercing one's body, including one's own, is a sin. The magazine quotes a lam from Tango monastery, "When one harms one’s body, which is a gift of god, one is hindering one’s way to enlightenment."
Personally I find tattoos very interesting and sometimes even inspiring. They usually have a story to tell: of memories, emotions, relations and inspirations. They show me how dedicated one can be to a certain idea, word, phrase(s) or picture(s). They tell me things I would not have come to know. Others inspire me with their artistic aspects. I take in ideas from tattoos when I draw something. They push me to be a better artist than the amateur I am now. They give me the sense of competition that there are people who draw/paint better than me.  
For me I don't see much of a problem with tattoos. We are living in a fast progressing modern world and everyone has the right to show their individuality one way or the other. The real problem is in the way our people think. Not everyone with tattoos or piercings abuse substances. All of them are not bad influences for the younger generations. People get inked for certain reasons, they have their stories to tell. I don't think such petty reasons are enough to reject them from the society, it's not enough for their rights to employment be removed because of their inks and not because of their qualifications. If one is qualified enough, then give them the job, we already have unemployment problems. 
In the end everyone has their rights to have their own believes and ideas. It's up to every individual to do what they want to do to express themselves and their individuality and others' opinions shouldn't be a factor. Getting a tattoo is not a bad idea at all but for now our people are not ready. The people need to have a broader mind and learn to accept change. I guess people will change in time and learn to accept the ideas of individualism, change, etc. 

P.S. --> Mom, I know that you are reading this and have grown to worry that I might get myself inked. But no need to worry, I don't I'll be getting a tattoo although I'm open to the idea of it. I just don't think I can stay put with one idea. People change and so do their ideas. What if I don't like what I have tattooed on myself in the future, what if i want to get something else on the same spot as the last one or what if my children want to copy me (when I have them or if i ever have them). 


1 comment:

  1. Well... I am loss at words. It is not a big deal. I have seen tattoos in ink when I was young and in the village where older people had "OM" in hindi/nepali inked in their hands. I even tried initial of my name on my hand though it was not a permanent one. Covering most part of the body with significant and large tattoos is something which is not to my liking if you may ask me. And yes of course, you may like to get your body tattooed just now, but as you grow older, you may hate what you have done to your body. So all I can say is that always "Look before you Leap". Its your body and your wish.