Call it craziness, a crisis or a dare to myself. I wanted a tattoo. Yes, the permanent, non-removable, needle piercing, painful kind. It took me two years after the initial thought invaded my mind to actually get it. Over the period of two years, I did a lot of research, spoke to people, drew tattoos on my body with permanent marker to see how I feel about it and looked up symbols that I could use.

The first time I really came close to getting a tattoo was when I was on a vacation with my family and friends. A friend who was a tattoo veteran with a prior tattoo wanted her second one and so she motivated me to get my first. We went around looking for a place to get our tattoo but unfortunately the place was closed for that weekend.

Having come that close to getting a tattoo, I knew I had to get one soon. So I spent time reviewing places close to my house where I could get a good one. Since I have extremely sensitive skin, I had to find a place that used natural products, would be careful with their art and be patient with me. I did find such a place which had good reviews. My friend was in too and we both decided to get one soon.

My next step was to make an appointment. To my shock, when I called them, they said I would have to go in person to make an appointment and also pay a deposit. I instantly liked them! They seemed very professional. So on my way home that evening, I stopped at their place and made the appointment for the following day.

The final step, in preparation was to actually decide on the tattoo I wanted to get. So after much thinking, I decided to go with four stars; one for my hubby, one each for my sons and the last one for all the people who have made a big impact on my life. I signed it off with three dots which is my signature to pretty much everything I do!

The day finally came and I woke up feeling excited, scared and apprehensive. I was worried about the level of pain I was going to experience. We reached the place and soon enough I found myself on the chair with my wrist laid out in front of him. It was ready to be prodded, pricked and inked. Did I tell you I took my son along for encouragement?!

After reaching there, it was a a long process of explaining the design, the artist creating a stencil and applying it to my skin. So the longer it took, the more antsy I got and there was a point when I was ready to bolt. Fear or ridicule for chickening out was the only reason I stayed. Finally, the artist was ready and I was in his parlor with my arm stretched out.

Steve, my tattoo artist pulled out all the tools required for the work. First came out a drill machine kind of tool, next came the needle. I almost passed out looking at the needle. It was about 6 inches long and pretty sharp! I looked at Steve and said, “Why can’t you put some topical anesthetic and then start poking the needle?”. He smiled at me and very seriously said, “Sashi, you have to earn the tattoo, its not for everyone.” Okay! So I wondered what I did to earn this pain. But I wanted it. I guess the want was enough to earn it.

He turned on the drill and dipped the needle in the ink. The hum of the drill, bore into my nerves and I almost panicked even before the needle touched my skin. He said I could look away if it scares me but I wanted to watch the needle do its work. And then I felt it. Almost like a needle scratching my skin, nothing more than that. I realized I had stopped breathing. I let go of all my apprehensions. It was not bad at all. Some stars hurt more than the others but I guess it was a part of the soul behind the tattoos.

Twenty minutes later, I was the proud owner of a tattoo. I felt elated, free and accomplished. Yes, its just a tattoo. But you gotta get one to know one.