KATHMANDU, Aug 20: There’s always a story behind a tattoo, and it’s fascinating to learn about it.
Rajan Limbu, 25, puts this interestingly. “I have five tattoos and I got them in a fit of anger.”
And no, he doesn’t regret it. Owner of a handicraft business, Rajan is planning to get another one soon. Only this one is as a cover-up on the one he already has. “The one I have now isn’t very clear. I’m planning to get the same in a larger size,” he says. The tattoo is a name.
Many tattoo parlous have sprung up in Nepal, so there’s no dearth of tattooists who will guide you. You can see a work of art coming alive, befitting your imagination or perhaps even surpassing it.
Mohan’s Tattoo Inn in Thamel has become synonymous with tattoos in the capital. One needs to make a reservation there. Only if you’re lucky and if one of the five tattooists is free do you get accepted as a walk-in. Customers are charged Rs 1,500 per hour regardless of the tattoo they want. Om Gurung, Manager of Mohan’s Tattoo Inn, says, “We don’t keep track but we have a minimum of 150 people coming to get inked in a month.”
With the undeniable popularity of tattoos, it’s also to be expected that there are those looking to get their tattoos removed.
Yanga Magar, 23, from Pokhara got her first tattoo at 16. She recalls, “I got it right after I finished my SLC examinations. It cost me Rs 3,000.” At present, she has three tattoos.
Yanga says, “I like my tattoos. However, since the last two years I’m in the process of having them removed, as my parents are constantly shouting at me. I went to Nepal-Korea Dongsan Medical Centre in Kathmandu to get them removed. I paid Rs 12,000 for the laser treatment.”
But as costly as the treatment was, she isn’t happy with the result. “It has left my skin very scarred and, moreover, it’s not completely gone. The treatment is also very painful. I felt like I was getting burnt directly by fire. It took me almost two years to heal completely. Right now, I’m in the process of removing two tattoos but I don’t think it’ll go away completely. So I’ve been planning to get another tattoo to cover my damaged skin.”
Laser treatment seems to be the most popular method of tattoo removal in Nepal.
Rama Rijal from Nepal Skin Hospital at New Baneshwor informs, “We have laser treatment and surgery as ways for tattoo removal. We usually do laser treatment.
Around 15 people come here in a month. A simple homemade tattoo is removed in a single session, but for professional tattoos people need to come for around six sessions. The minimum cost starts at Rs 5,000 and it depends on the ink used to make the tattoo. Surgery is a rare case.”
Laser treatment is also available at Facial House and Beauty Care at Kathmandu Mall. Proprietor Rasmila Shrestha says, “We’ve had this treatment available since the past one and half years. We get around three customers per month. Some of them come with tattoos made by machines and some tattoos seem self-made. The lines are irregular, making it a bit harder to remove. The price for the treatment really depends on the ink used. We charge anywhere between Rs 1,500 to 2,000 per session.”
Rajan remembers, “When we were younger, my friends would use lime to remove their tattoos. The lime needs to be kept for an hour.”
So bear in mind the importance your tattoo has for you. Before you get yourself inked, be sure of what you want. You’ll be saving yourself from pain, some cash and even from potential scarring. And that would just be an ugly memento of your tattoo.