I’ve got 33 tattoos. There’s a Buddha’s face, Che’s too, Mowgli and Baloo dancing, a brooding Sadhu's face, Calvin peeing, Tuarean bull—among others. I got my first one in 2011, soon after i became a journalist. Quotation marks (opening and closing) on the back of each palm. I thought it meant something as i was busy running around getting quotes from the film industrywallahs. By the end of 2014, my torso was almost covered and so was my back. There is one on the side of my neck too, as if it’s trying to reach my face. For someone who finds syringe nauseating to the point that i can never see it enter my skin, i guess i’ve crossed some limits. I was on a spree perhaps. My amma was always critical of my (then) newfound attachment to my skin. She never liked the idea(s) as she noted how swollen tattoo ‘wounds’ can get; not to forget the fever that followed the pain. Also, she was the one who helped me put on my t-shirt as my movements became awkward! For the record, i haven’t gone under the needle since November of 2014 and there is no plan either. However, in hindsight, i think there is no point in permanence. People keep asking me “Why so many tattoos?” and the only reasonable reply i manage to chalk out is “I don’t know.” Fortunately, i don’t have any regrets about any of them. All of them came out well and are busy greying along. (Blame the Indian weather because the heat and humidity doesn't let the ink stay black!) If i pay attention, they actually mean something. The only problem is they’ve become a part of me now. And like all things close to you, you stop giving too much importance.