Tattoos and Humans: Anya and the Wolf

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Guest post by Neetha Kurup

It’s an absolute pleasure to host a blog written by someone who takes joy in exploring what it means to be alive! Neetha Kurup is a writer hailing from Dubai whose body of work revolves around a love for books, movies, and the human experience.

Get a glimpse into Neetha’s unique view of the world with her piece on Anya*, the winner of Jhaiho’s Instagram Tattoo Giveaway in January, 2019.

Be sure to check out Neetha’s other work at her blog Opening Chapters.


Anya and the Wolf

What does a wolf howling at the moon and a woman working in a tech company in Bangalore have in common? To know the answer, read the story of how Anya got her dream tattoo that represents her being with the help of the good folks at Jhaiho and Ancient Tattoo Studio, HSR.


Meet Anya

Anya first lost a friend at the age of fifteen – a girl who battled for her life for eight months. It wasn’t easy for Anya, who could not be with her friend when she passed away. Five years later, however, Anya lost another friend.

For a while, Anya found moving on a difficult process. How could she live her life when two of her closest friends who were supposed to live theirs with would not be with her to share the moments? How could she continue making memories when it was so easy to lose something so close to your heart inexplicably?

That’s the thing about being alive, though – one carries on even when one does not know how to. So she graduated from high school and then with an engineering degree. Along the way, she met other people, made good friends with a few of them, lost touch with others – but she carried on. How could she not? She could not waste her days lying in bed mourning the ones she lost when she was granted all this time they were not. Time that she could use to experience what her friends couldn’t. She wanted to live her life for them, but most importantly, she wanted to live her life for herself.

Anya’s first tattoo was that of a butterfly, symbolizing her decision to emerge from her cocoon and fly away. She got a second tattoo of a Celtic symbol representing self-love and courage. When Jhaiho decided to host their first giveaway, she entered, knowing she was ready for her next tattoo – an idea that was beginning to form in her mind.


Enter Jhaiho

Anya immediately loved the idea of Jhaiho – a single platform to connect to tattoo artists around Bangalore. When she won the Jhaiho tattoo giveaway, she was thrilled, but she still had not decided on her tattoo yet. A representative from Jhaiho got in touch with her to speak about the process – they would fix an appointment with her convenience in mind for the free consultation and the final inking.

An image of a tattoo stencil of a wolf howling at the moon
The howling wolf

Anya fixed the appointment for the next week and decided to scourge the internet for designs for her tattoo. What she saw, however, did not rise to her expectations. Anya, who loves animals, but especially dogs decided that her tattoo would centre around the wolf – a being that holds a revered status in many cultures. To Anya, however, the wolf also represented freedom.


The Wolf

The wolf plays a popular role in fantasy fiction and otherwise. European fairytales often feature the wolf as a ruthless hunter (think Red Riding Hood). Wolves are popular even today – think werewolves and at least one young adult movie or series will pop to your mind.


A wall marking depicting Wepwawet, an Egyptian war deity, whose name means 'opener of the ways', and whose appearance is that of a human body with a wolf head
Wepwawet, ‘opener of the ways’

However, in Native American and Ancient Egyptian cultures, the wolf is said to play an important role in one’s life. In Egyptian mythology, the wolf Wepwawet was seen as the war deity. It is said Wepwawet would act as a scout and clear the way for the armies. Fascinatingly, the wolf plays a similar role of a pathfinder in Native American cultures. Wolves figure in the mythology in almost all Native American clans with some believing the wolf to be the creator of the earth. The Mongolians consider themselves to be descended from wolves. Japanese farmers once worshipped wolves at shrines and left food offerings near their dens.

In Native American mythology, the wolf is seen as a wise animal that regards love as a fundamental thread of life. The wolf is an intelligent, social, loyal and resourceful creature. After all, their close cousins are regarded as the human’s best friend. The wolf is also a great hunter indicating its intuitiveness.

The wolf also represented taking control of one’s life. Some native people believed that if one lacks purpose in life, the clarity and the determination of the wolf would help overcome fear and confusion.


The Final Design

Anya loved what the wolf represented in many cultures and even, within herself. She wanted to personalize the design further, connecting the wolf to herself. The silhouette of a wolf howling at the moon is a popular design, especially among tattoo enthusiasts and so she decided to go from there.

She drew herself within the wolf, looking forward, taking control of her life and experiencing all that life has to offer her.

A black and white sketch of Anya's personal design for her tattoo, featuring a howling wolf around the silhouette of a girl
Anya’s initial sketch


On The Day

Anya fixed her appointment at 5:30 PM to meet with the tattoo artist at Ancient Tattoo in HSR Layout through the Jhaiho representative. At Ancient Tattoo, she was greeted immediately and was asked to send them her design so they could finalize the size and location before the tattooing process.

A black and white stencil of a tattoo with a wolf howling at the moon featuring the silhouette of a girl within the wolf
The digitized version of Anya’s sketch
The side of Anya's torso with the stencil from her sketch printed onto her skin, ready to be inked


Prior to the starting, the artist, Prashanth, asked Anya to confirm that her needle to be used for her tattoo was brand new and still within the sealed packet. He then proceeded to set up his table in preparation for the session.

An image of Anya holding out a sealed packet with her tattoo needle inside. The packet has government-regulated labelling.
Anya holds out her sealed tattoo needle
Prashanth, an artist at Ancient tattoo studio, prepares his tattoo machine before the inking begins
Prashanth prepares his tattoo machine
Prashanth, a tattoo artist at Ancient tattoo studio, prepares his materials before the inking session
Prashanth’s preps his materials for the session


Anya appreciated that Prashanth would ensure she was comfortable throughout and would even take breaks when she needed it. Anya noted that when she got her previous tattoos, she would bleed profusely. However, Prashanth’s inking process saw minimal blood loss. She also loved that Prashanth fixed some imperfections in her design that she had wanted to fix herself but was unable to in a satisfactory way.

A work-in-progress!









The final tattoo!









At the end of the process, Jhaiho provided Anya with after-care tips for ten days. Her journey with Jhaiho does not end here though – in fact, she’ll be seeing more of the Jhaiho team for the next five weeks while her tattoo heals. Jhaiho follows up each appointment with weekly messages to help the customer take good care of their new tattoo for the best results.


Want to know more about tattoo care? Check out The Jhaiho Tattoo Care Guide!


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Prashanth is a tattoo artist at Ancient Tattoo Studio, HSR, Bangalore who specializes in a wide range of styles, including bringing together various elements in a design that tells a customer’s story.  Check out his latest work or book an appointment with him here.


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*Name and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the customer.


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