Rahul Khanna: Tattoo talk


Tempted to get a full sleeve tattoo but can’t get parents onboard? Here are things you really need to consider

Get inked responsibly

I have always wanted to get a full sleeve tattoo but my folks are against it. Can I pull it off without them noticing? Or should I ditch the idea?

—Ken P, Delhi

I’m with your folks on this one, buddy! Which responsible parent would encourage their offspring to permanently alter their body in such a way? It’s a huge decision, and they’re thinking ahead to your future professional prospects, changing tastes and even romantic matches. That said, although I don’t personally see the appeal of tattoos, I’m all for self expression. Ultimately, it’s your body, your choice. But please consider it carefully.

Most importantly, I’m not sure how you think you’re going to be able to conceal this from those closest to you. Sure, you could tell them you’ve developed a rare arm allergy to air or have taken a monastic oath to only wear long sleeves but it’s unrealistic to think they’ll never notice. Rather than facing the prospect of a dramatic coming out of the tattoo closet, involve them in the process from the get-go. Invest lots of time researching the images you will be etching onto your limbs and share them with your family for feedback. Try temporary tattoos to test the waters. Then move on to a few small real ones (they’ll be easier to remove than a full sleeve, should you have a change of heart) and build on them as you get more comfortable and sure of the aesthetic you want to achieve. Nothing extreme like strippers with snakes, names of recent love interests or skulls and crossbones! Imagery from your personal history—a childhood pet, a portrait of grandparents, a family crest, lyrics of favourite songs or poems are all good options and will always be relevant to you. Eventually, via engagement and communication, your folks might convince you—or else, you might them—in which case the best advice I can offer is try to negotiate a family discount at your local tattoo parlour!

Rahul Khanna is a “boutique actor”, whose sartorial statements and good looks often send hearts aflutter. He goes by @mrkhanna on Instagram

From HT Brunch, February 27, 2022

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