My latest book is The One Who Swam With The Fishes.
"A mesmerizing account of the well-known story of Matsyagandha ... and her transformation from fisherman’s daughter to Satyavati, Santanu’s royal consort and the Mother/Progenitor of the Kuru clan." - Hindustan Times
"Themes of fate, morality and power overlay a subtle and essential feminism to make this lyrical book a must-read. If this is Madhavan’s first book in the Girls from the Mahabharata series, there is much to look forward to in the months to come." - Open Magazine
"A gleeful dollop of Blytonian magic ... Reddy Madhavan is also able to tackle some fairly sensitive subjects such as identity, the love of and karmic ties with parents, adoption, the first sexual encounter, loneliness, and my favourite, feminist rage." - Scroll
Sign up for my newsletter: The Internet Personified
21 February 2006
"Beauty is skin deep. A tattoo goes all the way to the bone" (author unknown)
These are two pictures of my hip. Well, not just my hip, my hip with my new *ahem* tattoo. The pictures aren't fantastic, but it's an odd angle to shoot from, you have to agree, and it's really a lot more sexy in real life. I have never been so obsessed with my own skin before, every moment, I glance down to see if the dragon is still, sexily there. I've been doing Angelina Jolie poses in front of the mirror also, sticking out one hip and pouting, bee-stingily. I've also been sticking out my hip to everyone I know, yanking the band of my really old (and therefore, soft, so they don't chafe against my skin), really falling off my ass jeans and sort of waggling my pelvis, old-Hindi-movie-starlet ishtyle in their faces, so they really have no choice but to admire. And really, what's not to admire? Look at how sexy it is!
Here's a bit of Zen wisdom from me to you. The anticipation of the pain is always greater than the pain itself. I thought it was going to hurt like all fuck. I scream at needles, I avoid shots like the plague, I even flunked sewing because I was too chicken that I was going to prick myself. Okay, I made the last one up, but you get the picture. So when they put me in that huge dentist-style chair, with a lever that made you go up, up closer to the needle and the horrible gnrrrrrrrr-gnrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr noise, and they focussed the lamp on my skin, where there was a blue stencil pasted on, I freaked. Yan, the Thai-from-Chandigarh tattoo artist, approached my skin blasely, whistling along to In Da Club, in Punjabi that was playing on his laptop, Small looked amused, I closed my eyes tightly and gripped the back of the chair and... felt the needle going in piercing fourteen layers of skin and coming out and it wasn't so bad after all. He began to outline it, I opened my eyes and Small said, "Well?" and I said, amazed, "It doesn't hurt that much!"
Describe the pain, I hear you ask, O Reader Who Wants Tattoo Of Own But Is Too Scared. The pain threshold is similar to getting waxed. But in a sensitive spot, mind you, like your inner thighs or your underarms. The sensation is like, um, getting stung, by like a bee or something, but a mild sting, not terrible. Here's what it doesn't hurt as much as: a) a rabies shot and b) getting burnt by a cigarette. When Yan was done outlining, I could barely feel it, except right up top and then at the tip of the right wing, which is almost on my stomach, a spot that is so laden with nerves, that even scratching it hard can send off little alarm triggers of pain.
The outlining of a tattoo is the most painful part, filling in the colour really doesn't hurt that much, but today it feels like a nasty sunburn. I'm not going to lie to you, it stings like a bitch. And you have to keep washing it, which hurts even more. This morning in the shower, I accidently faced my body full into the blast of those water jets and I nearly passed out with the pain. But so worth it, after the shower, when I pranced around in front of my mirror.
Okay, I'll begin at the beginning. So, I've wanted a tattoo forever. Really. Only I was too scared. Then I finally got over my fear, I think last year and Dee and I decided to get tattoos together. But I still hadn't picked out what I wanted. For a while I wanted a butterfly (nah, too cliche), a pentacle (not enough resonance in my life), a monkey (no, too cutesy) and then I finally picked a dragonfly. Nice, I've always liked dragons, fire-breathing flying creatures and all, and I like to think of them as defenders of the damsels in distress, rather than devourers. Watchdogs, if you will. Creatures that kept evil at bay, were too powerful to be domesticised and who were fucking independant. No one tells a dragon what to do. A dragonfly would be the perfect insect, not as pretty-pretty as a butterfly, but still beautiful, and dude, a dragon fly? Anyhoo, so I was half-carried, half-dragged to Funky Monkey in Gurgaon by Small (coz I lost my nerve halfway through driving there) and while we waited, I flipped through their design books, but I couldn't find a single dragonfly I liked. They were all too huge, too bulky and then I saw this dragon, with wings no less (a lot of the dragons there were Chinese-style, loopy, long tailed and wingless) and I loved it and wanted it to be mine. But it was too small to go in my designated number one area, the nape of my neck. No problem I said, and chose designated area number two, on my hip, so that it just about shows above low waist jeans and can be hidden if I wear formal clothes.
So there it is, the story behind my little totem. "A girl dragon, so clearly," someone said to me today, "Too pretty to be fierce." Of course she's a girl dragon, she's on my body isn't she? And even if she's not fierce, she brings out the fierceness in me, and the fire in my soul. I think that's a pretty good deal, don't you?
EDIT & UPDATE: Since a lot of people have asked me how much it costs (can't believe I forgot to mention that in my original post!) here's some more tattoo in Delhi information:
* There are two main tattoo parlours in Delhi--Funky Monkey, where I went, is in the City Centre Mall in Gurgaon, on the top floor. The other one is run by a chap called Mike, I believe it's called Mike's only. I've compared tattoos done by both places, in fact, Small who has three tattoos has two done by Funky Monkey and one by Mike, but I find the Funky Monkey ones looked a lot better, more well-defined, a lot clearer. And I didn't much like Mike's tattoos on other people I know as well. That being said, it might be different for you, if you have a Mike tattoo and I'm no gospel or anything, this is just why I chose the Monkey people. Mike's Tattoo parlour is in CR Park, but I'm not sure where.
* Prices vary between the two parlours as well. At FM, they charge 2,000 per square inch, 2.5 if you ask for colours. Mine is two square inches, but since Small had a rapport with the owner and all, it cost me 3 k not 4. Mike's is cheaper, I think, 800 to a grand per square inch.
* Before you get a tattoo, at least, before I got mine, they made me sign an agreement, essentially promising not to sue if anything bad happened to me, like skin cancer, or like if I didn't like the design, or if I developed an allergy. I also had to promise solemnly that I was above 18, had no diseases and um, I wasn't pregnant. (I don't quite get the logic behind the last one. The trauma makes you miscarry?)
* Chamique said that her friends only put on a lot of vaseline and didn't wash it. Care for a tattoo also varies, clearly. I was told not to cover it up, to wash as often as possible without soap, pat dry with paper towels, not cloth and put vaseline on it a lot (hey, at least one things similar!) Someone else asked me why I wasn't wearing a "breathable bandage" on it, because that's what they had done. The important thing to remember is NOT to pick at the scabs, which is very hard for me, coz I'm a scab picker by nature and to keep it free of pus and/or infection, because that's not sexy.
* And not extra tattoo information but I see DesiPundit has a reference to me as soft porn. Really? My hip? Soft porn? Vulturo, whatever have you been watching? ;)