Jul 2, 2011

Why the Ink?


As a responsible adult with many teenaged nieces and nephews, I know I will have to face these questions a zillion times in future - Why the need to permanently ink yourself? What is that pressing a need that you needed to express yourself so loud, permanently? What were you thinking? 

I love the design I got inked with. It means a lot to me that what it looks like. And this is entirely the reason I went ahead with the tattoo. But there is a slightly deeper reason to it.

I might mince words, smile and pass off the questions or break out the honest answer depending on who asks these questions, but this is one place where I can be honest – Yes, I got myself inked because I wanted to. Simple. If I don’t want it in future, then I will still accept full responsibility to what I did, and deal with it the way I want to.
And no, I am not a rebel. I do not hate this world. I am not questioning the ways of the world. On the contrary, I love the world and my life and everything in it.

Call it the extreme influence of the books I read (Thank you, Atlas Shrugged!) or the very modern-thinking teachers I had in school, having grown up in an orthodox Indian middle class family, I have realized one concept - The only thing a human being wants ever in life is Freedom.

Financial freedom, Social freedom, Emotional freedom. Freedom to just be. Freedom to do what one feels like. Freedom.

The following lines sum it all up for me -

"I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."- John Galt

Obviously the society we all grew up in does not greatly love this idea of freedom. Since we are social beings, and have to live with one another and not in isolation, it is only valid and logical that we abide by the norms that the society dictates. Yes. Agreed, and entirely valid.

But as women, we face many more predicaments in our lives, which will go against what we want to do or believe in, and we end up doing what the society demands of us. In most situations we are forced to do things we do not believe in, or do not want to, but do it only for the sake of people around us. And most of these happen in home front, the one place where we logically should have all the freedom.

I, particularly still consider myself to be one of the luckiest women I know, having had the kind of free childhood I have had, the freedom I got in choosing my life and the way I want to lead it, the freedom I still have in doing the things I want to do in the way I want it to be done, at home and work and all. In spite of all these, I have found myself stifled couple of times… and that is when the whole desire for freedom crops up all over again.

To be what I want to be.
To do what I want to do.
To say what I feel like.
All without being judged!

I know it is asking for more, given the society we all live in, but the least I can do to assert to myself that I am an independent individual, fully in control of her life is to take a decision on what I do with my body! :-)

Jul 1, 2011


After having built, maintained and tested huge and complex systems for almost 5 years now, the first thought that enters my mind when I see any design is – Can it be rolled back? How much of an effort it is to roll this back? Can we make the rollback easier? What is the damage to the system when we rollback?
Call it a personality trait or work-seeping-way-too-much-into-life , I have started thinking about a rollback strategy for most of the things I do in my life too.
A small change to the house layout or design, and I go ahead on thinking about it only after I am assured that it can be rolled-back.
A change to the way I dress up or get my dresses is also considered only after my mind quickly calculates how to roll it back if it were to go wrong.
Any item of furniture that I even consider buying would be thought about after I find out multiple uses of the same, and I know that the look it gives to the house can be rolled back!

Even the ear and nose piercings I have had, I got them only after analysing a good rollback strategy. And I’ve rolled back them all. :)
Falling in love, getting married, buying a house or a book or a car, decision on whether to get a pet or not – I could do none of these without having my exit strategy clear, in my head. If there is no exit out of the situation, it doesn’t exist for me.
The deal has always been that I would not suffer the most damages!
Call it selfish, control-freakish or plain pessimist, Exit/Rollback has been the deal breaker always!
Booking a movie ticket or planning a holiday also will happen after having carefully thought of on what would happen if the plan doesn’t go well. What is the financial damage and if we can afford it? Basically, rollback strategy there also!
To this extent that, when I was getting inked, the ONE thought on my mind was, can this be rolled back?
And I knew it cannot be, atleast not as easily as the rest could be.
And that is exactly why I went ahead with the option of getting permanent ink on my body.
Yes, I had to break free from this commitment-phobia. From this fear of not being able to do anything without preparing for the worst.
Yes, it has been a mantra in life – Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
It has always helped me be peaceful in life, doing my best work where I like and not bothering about what the result could be.
Understanding fully well that I will get what I deserve in my karma, and no one take what is rightfully mine.
But the practical cynic in me has take the whole ‘prepare for the worst’ to a totally different level. Over the years, I’ve begun to think of the worst first. Plan for what I will do if the worst were to happen. Prepare the exit strategy so well that I will return from it unscathed or with little damage. Then go ahead and hope for the best, and give it my everything.
No, I do not like it. I do not do it on purpose. Its just the way I have conditioned my mind to think, and it certainly is not the most fullest way to live life.
The way to live life fully would be to go ahead and do what your mind asks you to do, without caring for the consequences. Impulse! What is life without a little impulse?
Would there be any adventure or excitement in life if you plan and re-plan every single step? No, right?
So when the thought of rollback entered my mind as the artist was just about to put the needle in the first time, I did not give it a second thought. I told myself – You are convinced about the design. You know the location is the best you can come up with. You know you will love this design forever. Then why think of a rollback? Go ahead with the tattoo, and experience this moment.
And that’s exactly what I did, of course after talking in detail about the whole tattoo-removal process with the artist ;-)
Even in this case, I have a rollback strategy. Even if the design doesn’t mean the same to me anymore after 10 yrs, it will atleast be a good memory to what all it means to me now. There, some people just cannot be changed! :-|
So the one adjective that might be missing from my life’s resume might be ‘Impulsive’. That I certainly am not. So every item I check off my Bucket List, would probably not be an impulsive move!
Even the most impulsive decision I took is actually the most planned, most thought after one! Ah, the irony!