As indelible as a tattoo

Ink art

Women bear the pain of the piercing needle and let the indelible ink leave an unforgettable imprint on their skin.

Tattooing, which is a fad in the urban areas, has been an indispensable part of our rural folk traditions since time immemorial. Women in the rural areas display great enthusiasm about tattoos, as it does not part even in one’s death. Hence, women get names of their beloved ones tattooed on their hand. Tattoos are not restricted to the womenfolk alone.
Though names form the most common theme of tattoos, one can also glean a wide variety of tattoos these days such as animals, birds and patterns.

Pictures of family deities form another favourite topic of tattoos. Moreover, women get a small dot tattooed on their forehead, as it is believed to ensure life-long marriagehood, according to the folk belief. Tattoo artists are generally nomadic in nature and travel to Srinivaspur taluk from the neighbouring State of Andhra Pradesh.

Kohl and juices extracted from certain kind of leaves is used to get the colour of tattoo. After a desired pattern is drawn on the client’s hand, needles are used to pierce the pattern thus ensuring that the tattoo lasts long.

Socio-economic state
Tattoo artists are generally women and belong to one of the most backward communities in the society.

Earlier, the women hardly bargained and were pleased with whatever the client offered them. However, now with the changing circumstances and realisation of the value of their art, the artists charge based on the creativity involved.

Pain for enduring pattern
Songs sung by tattoo artists help in handling the piercing pain of the needles. “However, now the artists charge an additional fee for singing songs, which is quite pitiable,” rues Melooramma, a resident of Kashettypalli village in the taluk.

People need to be cautious while getting a tattoo done, as most of the times the same needle is used without sterilisation. Thus, the chances of one contracting Hepatitis- B is very high, said Dr Venkatachala.

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