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Arundhati Roy says in her book, God of Small Things, “A mother’s grief grieves her but her child’s grief devastates her.” Antara Paul, mother of a seven year old lives to be the face of this quote every day.

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Antara with her daughter, Padmaja

Antara’s is a story of lost love and new found strength. Her tattoo, a cover up done with great finesse by Tuhina Dutta of Tuhi’s Tattoo Studio, Kolkata, may look like a bunch of pretty flowers at first. But, when you delve for the story behind it, it’s almost impossible to not be moved by the sheer simplicity of a mother’s love for her child.

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“My husband always wanted me to get a tattoo of his name. It was the 14th of February last year when he told me to get one. I refused because I didn’t believe in getting inked; he passed away three days later.” Antara got her husband’s name, Prodyut, inked on her forearm two months later, on May 9th 2015. “The strangest part is, I was just walking on the street and decided to get the tattoo my husband wanted; only this time, he wasn’t alive to see it.”

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Halfway into the cover-up

Antara kept the tattoo for almost 10 months until she began to realise that her daughter, Padmaja, had started to write her daddy’s name on her arm too. “She missed her father. She is too young to understand what that tattoo meant for me and I had to make her move on.” The doctors advised Antara to get rid of the tattoo if she wanted her daughter to cope with her father’s demise; that’s exactly what Antara did.

Tuhina begins with the cover-up
Tuhina begins with the cover-up

The inspiration behind this tattoo was the simple thought of covering up a memory with something that represents beauty and happiness. “I had no clue what I wanted or how am I going to cover it up. I just walked into Tuhi’s studio and told her about my story; the rest was her job.”

What it looks like, now
What it looks like, now

“Today when I see my tattoo, all I can do is smile. Even Padmaja has started going to school and a large part of it is because of Tuhi. She understood my story and made something which fills happiness in mine and my daughter’s life.”

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