I am in a small room somewhere in Little India. There are nine of us in here. The room air-conditioning is keeping us cold despite the density. I quietly thank the gods of knit and stockings for giving me the foresight to wear exactly these today. The room air- conditioning is humming steadily, but the one true sound that this 3 by 4 space emits comes from nowhere else but the mechanical buzzing of the tattoo machine in the middle of the room. Aside from the low moans coming from this guy huddled on a chair, getting his second tattoo of the night down the spinal chord, the needle’s buzzing seems to be the only thing that keeps the artist in rythmic check; that keeps the moaning guy in anxious, painful suspension.
Four of our newly-acquainted-already-bonded gang of misfits have already gone to sleep. Two of these were only too ecstatic a couple of hours ago, just waiting for their turn. One of the four had just gotten his 3- year old ink job re- touched from 6:30 until 11 last night. This is a peculiar, fun, and literally bloody vigil of sorts:
Here is an amazing Filipino (celebrity) tattoo artist, a bit of a distance away from home, making tattoos at 3:00 AM.
Here is a random group of enthusiasts, who have also travelled (into the heart of Little India), to seek this master of skin art out; to get permanently marked with symbols of their lives as they know and live it now.
What will these symbols mean to them in a few years?
They will remind them of that surreal evening which quietly turned into dawn,
when they were cooped up in an air- conditioned room with eight new acquaintances sitting around one artist, waiting for their chance to become the canvas;
when they decided to get these permanent reminders of nights just like that night;
when they were all just in their 20’s and thinking that everything was already “as good as it gets”.
Only, of course, things always get better. Like nicely- done tattoos.
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