Girls prefer feminine spots like nape, lower back, lower abdomen and chest to wear their tattoos

“It reflects my personality,” said Debanjan Banerjee, a young doctor who was getting inked at a studio on M.G. Road recently. The tattoo – Caduceus, the insignia used by the medical profession — had the Spanish words Aude Sapere meaning ‘Dare to be wise’.

Kritika (name changed), who has tattoos of sun on her nape, a flying eagle and five stars on her arms, said, “Eagle represents sharpness and focus, and the sun, the most powerful light.”

As more people, the youth in particular, take to the fad, a visit to city’s leading three studios revealed that arm bands, portraits of persons they like and Maori tattoo that are curvature in shape or have spirals in different patterns are preferred in Mangalore. Some, however, choose the images reflecting the beliefs and personal memories.

Rakesh, a tattoo artist of R.G. Ink in Bejai, said of arm bands: “Many youths from in and around Mangalore like to do arm band in different letters, signs and symbols.”

Mr. Rakesh said younger clients tend to wear a tattoo for sex-appeal but that is not a general trend. Tattoo artists said fewer girls in Mangalore got inked. Mr. Rakesh said that girls preferred feminine spots like nape, lower back, lower abdomen and chest to wear their tattoos.

Most boys, who wear sleeveless outfits, want it on the upper arms. Vikas A., who got a tattoo in the studio of Ramesh recently, said, “I like shading and realistic tattoos.” He has portraits of dragon and tiger on the upper arms.

Pradeep Roy of Tribal Tattoo on M.G. Road said that some youths wanted to emulate film stars such as Sanjay Dutt who has Lord Shiva’s on his arm. Gaurav R. Kotin, who recently got an image of Lord Shiva tattooed from the Bejai outlet, said “I like tribal and religious portraying in tattoos.” Gautam Bangera, too, likes Tribal tattoos.

Vijeth Roa, sale manager of an automobile dealer, said “People in Mangalore” like tiger. “I have a tattoo of tiger on my right arm and dragon on the left,” he said. One square inch of tattoo costs Rs. 400 in most studios, and in colour, it will cost Rs. 500.

Love can be temp, but tattoos are not

Tattoo artist Conrad Misouith, who has his studio in Padil, said tattooing the name of your fiancé can prove costly. In one instance, a girl who did it and forced her boyfriend to follow suit broke up a month later. Now the girl wanted to remove the tattoo. Mr. Conrad said, “I was in panic and had never done it.” He had to make a larger tattoo – of a rose – to cover up the boyfriend’s name though she did not have the money to pay him. Since then, Mr. Conrad does not entertain the requests for etching boyfriend or girlfriend’s name.

Removing one square inch tattoo by plastic surgery costs Rs. 1.5 lakh and all cannot afford it. Artist Rakesh said, “Laser technique is another option but it merely burns the skin and dark spot will remain unchanged.” His experience is that 90 per cent of the clients who tattoo boyfriend and girlfriend’s name come back for alternations.