“I have stories to tell.”
Sipping her tea during a quick break, Swetha seems unassuming to anyone passing by. It wouldn’t occur to a mere passerby that this vivacious woman has tales of intrigue sprawled across her body, each carrying with it its own adventure, its own lesson.
“I like putting myself in uncomfortable situations”, she says. “It cuts through a routine that I get into, a circle that becomes monotonous. I get bored, and I’ll need a change. Whether it’s my hair or tattoos.”
What fuels the need to get inked? For most, including Swetha, it all starts with a love for beauty, and a distinct need to find expression through art.
“I love art – on hair, on body. It is an expression of myself, and I’m breaking that monotony through this expression.”
You Jump, I Jump Jack
Swetha’s love affair with ink began a long time ago. She recounts, “My first tattoo was to get over the fear of getting one. I knew I wanted to get something that was beautiful and simple yet meaningful, and my girlfriend said “let’s just do it!”, and so we did.”
The journey towards getting the first tattoo can be a wild ride. Before finding a tattoo artist that shares your vision, it takes a spark of inspiration to find the right design.
For Swetha, that spark was a butterfly.
“I like femininity, I also like rebelliousness, and a butterfly is sort of a balance between masculine and feminine energies.”
Getting inked, they say, is addictive. The first one usually hits you like a wave, and you just know you’re ready. The ones that come after, though, are all the bits and pieces of who we are, manifesting onto our bodies as we find each part of ourselves, with each piece adding a new chapter to the tale of who we are becoming.
“After the first tattoo, I’d once again gotten into a circle of things, into attachments – to one person and situations around that – and I was at Blossoms and picked up the Bhagavad Gita and the words meant so much to me – I said I wanted to get a tattoo, and just went and got it done. It was on my spine and it was very painful, but it was a familiar kind of pain.”
Waxing and Waning
We grow with each new turn in our lives, finding inspiration in every person we meet, every moment we experience. And over time, we learn to look inward, and find inspiration in the person that looks back at us.
“I’m generally an intuitive person, but with yoga and such practices I feel these energies and absorb a lot of them. If I’m around happy people, I’m happy, but if I’m around people that are really sad I’ll absorb all of it.”
“That’s why I relate to the moon energy a lot – I have my ups and downs.”
“I’ve observed that when I practice yoga on moon days, it felt like I hadn’t practiced at all. In traditional yoga schools they tell you not to practice during the full and new moons – you just sit and meditate. That clicked for me, the moon became something I related to.”
“And I love the moon – it’s beautiful!”
Something Old, Something New
A passion that starts out as expression soon becomes an exploration into all the parts that make us whole. Ink, as it stands, is more than just a snapshot of a moment in our lives. It grows with us, gently detailing the nooks and crannies of our souls that we are yet to nourish.
With ink, we write our own stories everyday.
“I wanted a mandala but I wanted to create one of my own. I like exploring the Indian tribal community and getting inspiration out of it.
I came upon the Rabari community, and they have certain tattoo designs that are very specific that that tribal community. They typically use these dots and play around with it on their hands and necks, men and women both, I found that extremely fascinating.”
“I picked up the circles and sat with Chirag and said “this is what I want to do”, and we got it done.”
There’s something unique about the experience of creating something new. And something euphoric about having an artist paint your body, of being the canvas for a piece of art you helped create.
“I was at a music festival and the word ‘wildflower’ got stuck in my head. I wanted something with flowers but I was getting tired of seeing a picture and creating a design out of it. I sat with Chirag and both of us kind of worked through it. I sent him flowers I relate to, he asked me a couple of questions, and he created something for my sleeve.”
Back to Basics
Growth is rarely linear. More often than not, it’s circular.
We go forward, we go backwards, we go a little sideways, and with each step – we find something we never expected to.
“I love going back to basics, which is why I love tribal designs, but I also like exploring. I love colours but if the artist is not confident about it, I won’t get it. I would not go back to the same artists because I like exploring different artists.”
“Yet with Chirag, I did go back because I liked the whole conversation I had with him. It felt very comfortable. There’s a rapport you build with a person. He seemed like he liked to do this kind of work and not just copy something. I love to sit down with someone and create something. There was still exchange of ideas and a lot of influence and input from me, but there was comfort there.”
Forward and Beyond
“I didn’t do it for my other tattoos but I’m actually taking time to go through someone’s work for my next one.”
“I’m thinking of travelling – maybe to Himachal – to get another tattoo. I want a mandala, but I want a hand poked tattoo. I would love to tell the artist “this is what’s on my mind” and have them create it but that means they need to know me as a person, and that conversation is very important.”
“This sleeve and half of my back is going to be full eventually. Each tattoo comes with a phase of my life.
And I have stories to tell.”
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We would like to thank Swetha for sharing her amazing story with us, and we can’t wait to see where your journey takes you next!
Have your own stories to tell? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment and get inked today!
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