The Bhole Bums and Other Indian Inkheads


The Bhole Bums and Other Indian Inkheads

Illustration: Sushant Ahire


t first glance, Shubham Nag doesn’t come across as your average, garden-variety startup founder. His body is a canvas bedecked with tattoos of different shapes and sizes, a monument of his own making, adorned carefully and carelessly in equal measure. Where there once was a Hulk tattoo, now exists a geometric pattern that falls infinitely inwards like your consciousness cascading into oblivion on acid. Nag has a ponytail and an array of piercings; his face breaks light into fractals just like he breaks the last syllable of his sentence on his teeth as he clinches a thought into closure. He should be an artist sequestered by his own world-view. Instead, he is the co-founder of Tattoo Cultr, a web platform and magazine, which is bits and bytes of carefully curated visual ecstasy.

But in the hallowed land where women have been getting their husband’s names on their bodies and bartans for decades, it isn’t easy to create carefully curated visual ecstasy with people demanding tattoos that have the cringe quotient of a Dhinchak Pooja single. According to Nag, people will tattoo anything as long as a majority quorum of their Facebook feed says, “super lykzz” with a heart emoji. But we went beyond the cringe and discovered the five tattoo stereotypes that walk into tattoo parlours every day.