I have just been to a tattoo parlour in Mumbai. Not just any old tattoo parlour- ‘Al’s tattoo and cappuccino parlour’. I got a tattoo done. Of a bald eagle on my right shoulder blade with the words ‘don’t worry about a thing’ underneath.
Are you kidding? Of course I didn’t get a tattoo.
An American girl staying with Pooja is getting one though and I thought I would go along with her to check she knew what hepatitis was. Also I have decided that I am going to say ‘yes’ to everything. Except to the question ‘so you want a tattoo too?’
On the way there we walked (really I have found that you don’t walk in Mumbai– you leap, dodge, jump, hop and skitter) past a church which had a big sign outside saying ‘who of you by worrying is going to add a single hour to his life?’ and I liked that even though it was bible speak. However, thinking on it, I’m not sure it’s that sage advice. Worrying about getting a tattoo in Mumbai might not add an hour to your life, but getting a tattoo could very well subtract a few.
We checked where they got the needles from. They told us they come sealed in plastic and are all clean and new. But I’ve seen the bit in Slumdog where they fill up the water bottles from the tap and superglue them shut . Just saying. Then we asked about the measurement for a circle – that’s right a circle – and the tattoo man said ‘so 4 inches by 3 inches’. Now, I’m no mathematician but that would make an oval I think. If I were her I’d be concerned.
I’m approaching 13 hours in Mumbai and I’m not yet sick and I’ve visited a tattoo parlour. So far it’s getting lots of ticks in the yes box. Here are my two favourite things so far: auto rickshaws are like kamikaze bumper cars on an enormous track going head to head with buses and pedestrians and cars but they cost about 20p a ride – a pretty damn exhilarating one at that. Imagine jumping in a black cab to soho and being charged 20p. And here’s the next best thing – Rich and Pooj have a lady who comes in every day, every single day to clean up all their mess and cook them dinner- and all my mess too. I mean. That’s staff. They have a housekeeper. They never have to cook or clean ever again. I want one. I realise that makes me sound like Veruca Salt but I want one.
What else, it’s the middle of the city but the sounds of animals are all around – birds, dogs, mosquitoes (the Avon didn’t seem to repel them). You know that film ‘I am Legend’ where NY turns all Serengeti in three years and Will Smith saves the world for the what? Fifth time? I reckon if everyone in Mumbai overnight became a flesh eating zombie then this city would take about three days to become a jungle.
And finally, it’s HOT. I love it. I was meant to live somewhere hot. Last week I was sitting in 7 layers (2 thermal) inside next to a fire, with a blanket wrapped round me. Now I am sleeping in knickers and a vest under a fan. Let the mosquitos bite me. They can have me. Every inch of me. I would gladly accept a life of itching over a life of hypothermia.
Can I live here? Well, too early to tell. But if I don’t become roadkill in the next few days I’ll let you know.