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“If I were to describe my tattoo in just four words, it’d be these ones. It’s an immaculate piece of work. It’s everything I wanted it to be. Nothing more, nothing less.

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I have always loved tattoos, not when they became a trend, but when I realised their power of being your self expression for the rest of your lifetime. Now, there’s the badass beauty of tattoos. I have been surrounded by tattoos on people close to me, and understood at a rather young age that to truly connect with┬áthe beauty of this art form, you have to first accept, then nurture and cherish the fact that they will last with you the whole distance. And they last with you only when they are done right.

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What I have been gifted this time by my tattoo artist and spirit buddy, Raju Pandeya (of Funky Monkey Tattoo Studio in Delhi) is a lotus flower. A serene lotus brought to life with sharp lining, delicate dot work, and kick-ass shading.

I always knew this tattoo would be very special to me, and that is why I needed to choose the right artist, and one of the best tattoo studios. An artist who knew the value of strong fucking lines, of solid depths, and a punching composition.

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Though I am no stranger to tattoos, with four others, nothing prepared me for the six gruelling hours needed to complete it. You might be surprised to know that I am half-Indian, only just visiting India for the first time, at almost 20 years old. I knew I needed something to represent a part of my culture. And at this point in life, it’s go big or go home.

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When I brought my initial design to Raju, I honestly didn’t know how he was going to react to my idea. I’m always excited to see what the artist can do to make my piece unique. That excitement was magnified ’cause I was in India, getting an Indian symbol, by an Indian artist.

Can it get any better? I know not.

What he brought me was unlike anything I had ever seen, and I could not have been happier. Six hours later and paper had become skin, pencil had transformed to ink, and my dream became reality.

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Every time I look at it, I am reminded of my first trip “home”. The first time I had considered myself and felt like a real Indian. And there it is, etched forever in life, in the skin of my bicep.”

I am Leah Elliot Saini, and this is #MyTattooStory. What’s yours?

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