Permanent

This my 2.5 year old tattoo.

Like any well-bred, cultured, family-fearing, marwadi woman, I didn’t publicize it too much. So, just imagine how I cringed when bai (my naani, maternal grandma) said, “meetu, what happened to your foot?” Within a fraction of a second, she realized what it was . And her instantaneous reaction was, “I want one too” So that cringe that you had imagined, you can replace that with awe. “A small one, a dot, on my forehead, where I used to put bindi” BUT STILL!

My bai, I always knew, is too cool for her age and time. She’s an entrepreneur at age 74, no less. Her first question to me, whenever we meet is, “how’s your work?” Not “How are you?” Not “How’s jamaai-babu (son-in-law dear)?” Not “How are the kids?” If you are not a marwadi or haven’t known one, you cannot imagine how much it means to be asked about your work before the rest of what is supposed to compose your life. But that is another subject, another time.

My bai, I love her to the core, she is easily one of my favoritest people. My bai, maybe the only person, who brings a tear every time I think of her, just because of the awesome person she is. My bai is not easily impressed, she knows no other way than to call a spade a spade. My bai who I’d hate to disappoint.

My bai wanted a tattoo!!!! and one more !

So, yesterday, finally, two years after she announced it, I took her and my mom (who also wanted a similar permanent dot) to a tattoo artist. Why two years? Amidst general lethargy, I think I wanted to be sure she wanted it. It’s for-life and on-your-face (all pun intended) after all.

And what a fun two hours they were…

The tattoo artist (Rahul) was late by about half an hour, so I took bai, mom and maasi (maternal aunt) to a snazzy coffee shop. Wobbling along with the support of her walking stick, she said, “this place smells bad”. I think it was the smell of some non-vegetarian dishes. But my mom tried, “it’s coffee”. tee-hee-hee. Bai didn’t look convinced. tee-hee-hee-not! For the sake of reference, she doesn’t eat onion and garlic because they smell awful.

I was duly scolded, “what kind of a windfall permits you to spend Rs. 400 on coffee?” But how could I tell her that the way she smacked her lips in appreciation, after every sip of her cold coffee, made every naya paisa worth it?

Later, at the tattoo parlor, the guys took ages to set the whole thing up. And bai was getting impatient. “What are these boys upto? Why so many machines? Why is this guy wearing such a big ear ring? What are these boys upto again?” Just when I was going to remark, that’s how things are in Pune, slow and slower. I remembered just in time that bai is from a teeny-tiny village in Karnataka. “That tattoo street-hawker in the village, I think she died, she doesn’t do her rounds any more. She’d have finished 4 tattoos by now.” HA HA. True that, I’m sure.

Meanwhile, Rahul couldn’t get over the fact that this old woman wanted this “dot” as a tattoo. “What aaji (granny)? Tired of wearing a bindi?” And pat came bai’s reply, “Why are you wearing that obnoxious earing?”


Bai tattoo

When the process finally began, bai made the remark of the evening, “God alone knows how many onions this guy has eaten!” ALL of us (including Rahul) had a ROFL minute or so. He was duly embarrassed, and I was once again in awe of my uninhibited bai. How she must’ve curbed herself from saying the right thing all those years as a daughter-in-law and wife. :-/

An hour and a few laughs later we came out with two dots and memories, permanent.

Mom tattoo

(oh yeah! and mom got her tattoo too. )

Leave a comment ?

12 Comments.

  1. Its aweeesommmee to read this.. Truly amazed…

    It could not have been explained or written better…

    Cheers,
    Megha

  2. this was fun :) mast mast!

  3. outstanding article!! brings back memories of my ‘bai’ too!!.. and BTW, you can’t tease me on my stereotyping fixation anymore :)

  4. @Megha aur naanis are amazing, aren’t they?

    @Rohan 😀 Just imagine those two hours. An old woman telling off the cool hunk.

    @Shuchita thanks! ok chal, ye stereotype tumhe diya!

  5. high point.. It’s for-life and on-your-face (all pun intended) after all. hahah :)

  6. @nitin THE pun-man! You liked my pun, so i’ll take that as a compliment 😉

  7. Sonali Babbar

    This is awesome dadiji… she is really broadminded….. and ready to accept any kind of changes….so it is with Tai…. U always Rock…
    Lovely article Meetu…

  8. Vickram Chandak

    very nice meetu !! dadiji is cool .. so is tai :) god bless.

  9. Really tht is amazing….. can’t imagine Bai & masi had done it…. i’m jst visualizing tht moment …… ohhhhhh u must be enjoyed a lot……na……. she is gr8 …

  10. @Sonu @Vicky bhai @Pritu thanks! yeah, they are amazing. Makes you think what they could have done with their lives if they had even a little more liberty than they did/do.

  11. Very Good post. As things progressed, i thought we will get to see snap of Bai’s (grandma’s) permanent Bindi…

  12. Well Murli, I knew someone would ask…the bindi is so small that this post might seem like an overkill 😀

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