Tejasvi Prabhulkar, The Most Inked Woman In India, On Her Love for Tattoos And Getting Judged
- IWB Post
- February 7, 2019
Art simulates life and that explains why since times immemorial it has managed to retain its position in history of humans. However, art just like the human society and culture, tends to be extremely hierarchical, divided by its own hegemonic structures, where certain types of art maintain precedence over certain others.
Take, for instance, tattoos, a skill and a mode of expression which is art essentially, however, fails to touch the same mark conventionally. Despite, its ancient, tribal origins (probably because of that) tattoo making remains an art mostly looked down at and often dismissed.
Till date, tattoo artists and people with tattoos are looked at with a certain kind of mistrust, as if the color of their ink reflects the color of their soul. However, that hasn’t stopped tattoo enthusiasts throughout the world to follow their passion and continuously disrupt the mainstream narrative pertaining to art and culture by turning their bodies into canvas and inking personal art on it.
Tattoo artist and enthusiast Tejasvi Prabhulkar is one such disrupter who has taken her love for tattoos to an all new level by covering almost half of her body in 103 tattoos and becoming the most inked female in the country. Now, that’s a real feat, right?
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811 Likes, 7 Comments – Tejasvi Prabhulkar (@psy_ink) on Instagram: “She’s no barbie , She’s WONDERWOMAN…with a sailors mouth❤️ Pc : @lifeat70mm . . . ….”
In a recent chat, Tejasvi shared how her tryst with tattoos started and never ended.
She shares, “I was 17 when I got my first tattoo. Growing up, people would often mispronounce my name, some would call me Tejaswini, others would call me Tejashree. This is why I thought of getting my name inked as my very first tattoo.”
Soon enough it became an addiction for her. She shares, “I thought why not turn my passion into profession. I thus enrolled for my course as a tattoo artist which intensified my love for tattoos even more. The same inspired me to chase the record for which I covered 78 tattoos in the span of one month.”
Tejasvi believes that tattoo making is an art that transcends way beyond the literal aesthetics. For her, even the tiniest of the tattoos has to come out of some real significance, meaning, and emotional value.
Like she shares, “I get a lot of clients who show me a random design impressed by its aesthetics and ask to get it done. That’s not how it should be. A tattoo should have a meaning, which is significant to you on a personal level.”
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2,402 Likes, 24 Comments – Tejasvi Prabhulkar (@psy_ink) on Instagram: “Let whoever think whatever…just keep getting better😎 . . #tattoomodels #tattooedpeople…”
Her tattoos have also earned her quite a reputation, and if you are even remotely familiar with the workings of our society, you’d know that it’s of the wrong kind.
Ask her if there is any of her tattoos for which she gets judged and Tejasvi shares, “It’s not just one of the tattoos. It is all of them together. If I got out wearing something sleeveless or something short, people surely stare at me. There is no escaping that.”
She adds, “A woman once told me, ‘Even while getting henna done, I feel like it’s a big commitment as it would last for the coming week or so. How can you take these permanent decisions in such a young age?'”
Tejasvi finds such kind of unsolicited opinions and labeling highly sexist and un-called for. She explains, “When a man gets a tattoo done no one really pays a heed but when a woman does the same, she is asked questions like, “Who will marry you?” We are constantly judged, our characters are slandered, and our values are questioned.”
However, she has a message for such people. She says, “Don’t judge people without even talking to them. Their outer appearances say nothing about their inner core and humanity. Don’t be in a hurry to reach conclusions. My tattoos are my choices and you don’t get to judge me for them.”
In fact, she has turned all the attention and stares around and has converted them into a tattoo. Like she shares, “People stare at me whenever I go out. Earlier I used to find it bothersome, but now I don’t pay any heed to it anymore. I have a tattoo signifying the same, which says “Stay weird.””
However, it is a portrait of her parents that catches everyone’s fancy. She shares, “I got it done in a phase when my mom was not talking to me and our relationship had turned really sour. She constantly disapproved of my choices, and didn’t get my love for tattoos. Fortunately, things changed after I created that record.”
She adds, “Often I am also told things like, “You don’t belong here. Indian girls don’t look like that or Indian girls don’t think like that.” I was like, “Oh, yeah?” and got the phrase “Not from this world” inked on my body with an illustration of Mr. Beans falling from the space ship. I also have “Hope” inscribed on one of my fore fingers. It is a testimony of the fight that I fought against anxiety and depression in the past five years.”
Tejasvi talks about her tattoos with the mirth of a five year old talking about her toys. However, ask her which one of them is her favorite and the persona instantly turns into that of the much fabled mother who refuses to choose between her fingers. “They all tell a story from my life. They are all my favorite,” she says.
Photo Courtesy: Tejasvi Prabhulkar