HAPPY BIRTHDAY RACHEL! My lovely fellow SRKian. Hopefully reading this post and the responses will contribute to your lovely lovely birthday.
A friend of mine recently got a tattoo that I think is really clever, the outline of the boundaries of the town where she grew up. It’s very small and subtle and will always be meaningful (even if the town changes, those are still the boundaries as of when she was growing up, and it still reflects her childhood). I am not a tattoo person and would never get one, but this started me on a thought experiment of “what is so permanent in my life that I would put it on my body?” Along with other ideas (Albie Dog, Shakespeare quote, Chicago landmarks, etc.), obviously I thought of SRK. And then I kind of stopped because I got distracted by what it means to put a celebrity based tattoo on your body.
In general, we all know it is a tricky idea to put a tattoo referencing someone else on your body. Romantic partners’ name, usually a horrible idea. Best friend, even parent, you never know what you might find out. Kids, usually safe. I have another friend who got the birthdates of her nieces and nephew tattooed on her arm, which is both meaningful and useful! Always there for reference. But then there is the idea of a tattoo that is connected to someone who is not real to you, either because they are fictional or because they are a celebrity.
Remember the Atticus Finch issue? When the sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird was published (which is a whole other issue and I am of the camp that believes it should not have been published and was against the wishes of Harper Lee for a reason), it turned out that Atticus, Perfect Father and Moral Light of the original book, grew up into a twisted ugly old man. I’ve got complicated feelings about this, on the one hand I find it totally believable that someone who was clear and brave and forward thinking in their youth eventually left that behind and became blech as they aged. On the other hand, I think there was a reason Harper Lee didn’t want to tell this part of the story, she made a decision to leave Atticus at his peak and pay tribute to the good things instead of bringing in the bad. And for me, knowing that Fictional Atticus turned into a jerk in old age does not tarnish the goodness of his youth. And for me, naming my child Atticus, or getting a tattoo, or anything else, would still be okay because it was a tribute to the (fictional) good aspects of him and I can leave the bad behind. However, I also totally understand and sympathize with people who felt suddenly horrible about their decisions, who felt they were now forever branded with a Bad Thing thanks to this fictional character they thought of as their own suddenly being turned bad, after they had already made permanent decisions to honor him.
Atticus is fictional, but there’s all kinds of ways this sort of tribute can go sideways with a real person, even more ways. Josh Whedon is currently mired in scandal, what about the many many MANY people who have lines that he has written as personal mantras, forever tattooed on their body? Michael Jackson, there’s another one, so many important moments in life tied to his work, but can you feel comfortable with him on your body?
Bringing tattoos into it is sort of art-versus-artist in the real world. Do you not care what comes out about a person because the element you are getting tattooed on yourself will forever and ever be important to you, personally? Alternatively, do you put that much faith in the person that you will commit your skin to saying “they will always be good”?
That’s where I landed with the SRK tattoo question. If I were to get an SRK tattoo, it would just be the letters “SRK” somewhere small that I could see them and no one else, like in between my fingers. I thought about something film related (his hat from DDLJ, a gazebo, the OM tattoo), or something more visual (eyebrows, hair, pose), or a quote (“picture abhi baki hai mere dost”) but really it is the essence of the person himself I would want to have, not his characters or his face or even a quote, just the initials.
And that brings me back to the “what does it mean to get that tattoo, forever?” question. It’s saying “this person will always be important to me forever”, and that’s an easy “yes”. Like my friend who got her hometown boundaries, even if I move on in life, the SRK period it is remembering will still be formative for me. But it is also saying “I will never regret affiliating myself with this person”. It is a sign of faith that this person will never do anything to let me down, will never surprise me, will never betray me.
There’s two people I might make this sort of commitment to, Abraham Lincoln and Shahrukh Khan. Lincoln, there aren’t many skeletons left to come out. I feel confident enough in my knowledge of every moment of his life that, overall, I can honor him. Shahrukh, that’s not true. He’s not dead yet, he could do anything. It’s a big BIG leap of faith, a scary leap of faith, to say “for ever and ever until I am buried, I think this person will not let me down”.
And yet, I think I want to do it. Not actually get the tattoo, yuck, but I think I can safely say “yes, I will make a commitment of faith that SRK will never let me down”. I want to have that much faith in someone, and I want that person to be SRK, with all his love and humanism and bravery and intelligence and everything else that makes him up.
So, discussion question multiple choice, where do you fall:
- Yes, it’s not even a leap of faith, I don’t care what SRK does tomorrow I still want an SRK tattoo
- It’s a leap of faith because I do care what he does tomorrow, but I also believe it will only be good things
- I can’t do it. It’s too risky.
And second question, What imaginary tattoo would you get, if you were to get one?
I already said, I would just get tiny SRK somewhere I can see but isn’t readily visible to others (inside a finger, on a wrist, etc.)
Hap birf, Rachel!
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Don’t know about a tattoo but I bought myself a bracelet and it reminds me of SRK (and his bracelets) everyday. It is a homage and I could find something very cheap in my India shopping + Parcel forwarding. 😀
I am not a tattoo person at all so I can’t imagine what I would get. However, to me, getting one would be both a commemoration of what he means to me plus deep trust in who he is.
PS – this is the bracelet I bought and I’ve been wearing it 24×7 so the black has faded and it’s become more just silver – https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B08ZYQLP4H
Wanted to share it for someone to validate me, i.e. yes I can totally see how this creates the same feeling as SRK’s bracelets. 😂
Happy birthday Rachel!
I’m glad to see other fellow Tauruses here!
It’s totally like his bracelets! And makes sense. I do something similar, I have a prayer bell thing I got in India that I have on my front door DDLJ style. No one else may know what it is in reference to, but I like it.
Glad to know you are in the camp of “not only am I comfortable showing my devotion, I have total faith he will never betray it”. Makes me feel more confident!
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Thank you. I feel so connected to you all, all of us united in the love we feel for SRK. So powerful!!!
Show us a picture of your prayer bell? When did you visit India? Would you go again?
Shoot, I can’t find it now but I’ve had a couple posts showing photos of my various SRK things. I went to India twice, once visiting my sister while she was on an internship, and once to stay with family friends. First time, we did lots of way way too dangerous things without fear (traveling by rickshaw alone, going out at night, getting lost in Bombay), second time it was very hosted and protected and planned. Both times I was in the Bombay area and didn’t really go anywhere else. I did see Mannat though! And DDLJ at Maratha Mandir! So the most important things.
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So lovely!!!! I want to visit Bombay, see Mannat and DDLJ at Maratha Mandir too. Given that i no longer have family to visit, SRK and mumbai seems to be my feeling of “home” in India
Thank you for the wishes! Yes, I’m with you about never needing to worry about trusting who he is, at least to me. And of course the bracelet is totally a link to him! Well done.
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I guess getting a celebrity tattoo is about the same level of commitment AND of risk as getting one for your spouse. I’d need to be more of a tattoo person to do either.
But there’s one design I’ve thought about since I started my master’s program. Our textbook opened with the hieroglyphics for “brain” :
And those seem just obscure and nerdy enough that I might put them on my left upper arm, where they’d only be visible at the height of summer. If I wasn’t afraid of needles, that is.
And happy birthday of course, Rachel.
Thank you Eva! Hope you are well! 💕
Yes! I’ve always thought it was stupid to get a partner’s name tattooed. But then, you are expecting this relation to last forever, right? So why not a tattoo?
Love the hieroglyphics version of brain.
I will never get a tatoo – it isn’t so much that I feel my body is at all sacred, as it is I want to know I can always change. My body will ultimately turn to dust. In that sense so would any picture I put on it, but it is more that I want the freedom to change my mind about things. Kinda scary when when I think about getting older and turning into a grouchy Atticus. It is easier to think of the world in black and white terms, and I understand people’s desire to stop thinking so much about everything and to simply react to a set world as they have decided it is. And I pray I never get there. Let me never become so decided in anything that I turn into a grouchy old lady that blames everything on everyone else. So, no tatoos.
But if I was FORCED to get an SRK tatoo, I might get his eyebrow etched over my ankle.
Oh, and 14 year old read To Kill A Mockingbird this year for honors English and HATED it. Really hated it. Part of it is honestly a different upbringing in a different time, he doesn’t want to read about people being racist. He knows it happened and happens but doesn’t want to be around it. Kids use the N word at his school, we got problems, and oddly I’m not sure To Kill A Mockingbird helps with his current school problems. I myself am neutral on the book, but my close friend in college, the former long term girlfriend of my spouse, LOVED the book. Her father was a lawyer, and he was also kinda an a$$&)%!. I’m not totally sure what that all means, but I’m pretty sure it means something.
Huh. You know, I wouldn’t necessarily suggest TKAM to 14 year olds. We had it as a Family Read Aloud when I was really little, and I liked it just as a fun kids story and missed all the deeper messages. I read it again as an adult and really appreciated it. But 14 feels just exactly the wrong age, too old to miss the messages, but too young to fully grasp them.
You could do one eyebrow on one ankle and the other on the other and then when you put your feet together, it would look like his face.
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Eyebrow over the ankle is brilliant.
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oh – they make tattoo pens, 11 year old got them for his birthday. You can create your own temporary SRK tattoo!
Thank you Margaret for the birthday post and the scintillating question, and thanks everyone for your bday wishes!
I also would never get a tattoo…it’s not my thing to permanently alter my body like that, although I have many friends with gorgeous looking tattoos, I always think it will look yucky when they’re old.
I have complete faith that SRK will never let me down in a significant way. I recognize that that might be magical thinking and is much easier than believing that a human I know in person will never let me down. I just really believe in his essential goodness. He makes my world a happier and more beautiful place. He’s a comforting presence in the world. I’m not imaging that he’s this perfect being , but from this distance, it’s nice to think of someone as kind, caring, warm, etc and NOT have it ruined by the real thing? KWIM?
If I did have to get a tattoo of/for him I know exactly what I would get bc I had these made up as temp tattoos…and I just ran out but still love the idea!
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Happy birthday, Rachel!
If someone was handing out free srk tattoos I’d leap in line. Quotes, yes. And some kind of representation of Suri eating the biryani. And whatever else I could think of on the spot.
And if I had a tattoo referencing something that had soured (would not happen with srk) I would just get it done over with another srk one, no big deal 😊
Slight disclaimer though; I already have other tattoos.
I’m not sure how you would represent eating the biryani without a full picture? Unless just a plate of Biryani with a bite taken out of it?
My friend has a full color photo of her former dog on her arm as a permanent tattoo. I’m sure you could get a full tat of SRK eating Biryani.