My body, my right. Unfortunately, not for all. Couple of years down the line, someone will ask me what my wish is? And I will only give made up answers as I am scared to wish any wish. Then I thought, who the hell am i? This body, which I am going to leave behind. This soul, which I never understood. Or this consciousness? I came to conclusion that, I am this consciousness, since 1990 march 1st to two thousand something- to its some month – to its someday – and to its some point of time. I am temporary. Wow, and this tattoo is the only permanent scar in my temporary body. Ain’t it like having a rich jobless son of poor working dad?
Ownership has been the reason and possession has been the reason for all the wars in the world, and love, baked with compassion is the answer of peace. We own nothing, we just claim them with all of our might, be it legal or coercion. I too was in war with my body, a constant struggle within. I wanted my skin speak my story, which I have performed first and now am trying to script it down in graphics as a tattoo. Wow, though in retrospect, I was the main character of my movie. So unknowingly written, directed by circumstance and acted to serve the present everything of that story, myself.
People are talking about saving the world and making this earth a better place to live, literally in every corner. Ironically, to me, a few suicide news is just a routine. Amidst this paradox, I too sometimes get traumatized by the unfixable cracks of own; in retrospect. I was thinking if eternity really existed and if anyone truly embraced its concept, else why this eternity has always been the same vague concept, irrespective of generation.
I was dusting off my bike that morning. A sudden kick on mud-guard yielded few chops of mud. I looked at them, crushed them in my palm and thought how many miles did I go in this bike to collect all of them? Will I ever go back to those places, ever again? Will deity let me breathe till I live my life on repeat? Of course not. That was an eye opener to me. That gave me the glimpse of how moment by moment my life has been slipping away, slowly and creepy-crawling death is approaching towards me. Wow, it’s like tug-of-war between life and death, same length of rope, some spend by living and some spend in confusion of whether to just exist and get satisfied; or live? I decided to live and then came the idea of tattoo; not an idea really, but the real guts. I sat down and started designing this tattoo. I went to the tattoo artist and asked what he could draw. He offered me his designs and I threw him a counter offer with the condition that if he could get painted underneath my skin whatever I drew, I would respect his words absolutely in terms of payment. He agreed. Even that experience contributed to the learning curvature of my life “you don’t make your customers compromise, they won’t make you compromise either”.
They say getting tattooed deprives you off of most of the opportunities this life has to offer. This motivated me to get inked in first place. This is my clear message to this whole entire world that if the talent is unique, it need not be the prisoner of your platform. The very talent has enough energy and wrath to make a platform for itself, so unique and so grand that a normal brain can’t comprehend, even when explained in most lucid way, using the sexiest rhetoric, and in the most fanciful vocabulary. Yes, I don’t need your opportunities. I have snatched every bit of my life, right from inside of the Lion’s den and I have learned all about this life from the mane of very lion. That Lion is none other than the daemon inside me. So ugly, so crazy, so motivated, so full of life, so full of energies and so loving. Yes, my daemon loves. So I wanted this tiny love connection between “keeping” and “keeping what?” And the tattoo proclaimed keep faith, and while you do so, never stop loving people. I got inked during the period when US presidential election’s fervor had had this whole entire human race engulfed and surprisingly for all, but not for me, triumph of Trump. That gave me a clear message that “If I am strong enough, I am enough; all alone”. Trump can be good or bad, only history will tell this as I am very convinced that Osama Bin Laden was a character to serve the demand of time. Times enacts a hero and also the villain. And I think there is nothing good or bad in this whole entire universe, it’s just the matter of timing and the surrounding. If you don’t believe me, think how you were born in this born, how your zygote existed in the first place, forget the previous lives you have lived through, just this. Can you do the same to your hottest teacher in public? I hope you got the idea of good and bad. So, I decided to keep on keeping faith in whatever I do, people will only rate me and hate me, but I ain’t stopping loving them. I also wanted to get tattooed as we all once said as a kid that one day I will earn enough and get a tattoo. Since I can buy food and books for myself, I can afford a room to live and a blanket to cover myself, I think I am rich. Millions are deprived off even this. I am so fortunate that almighty gave me all these and I should not be greedy. God, I don’t need more money. I need inner peace and only freedom ensures inner peace. Freedom of all sort.
The Idea of Owl came from the legends of its innocence and its foolishness, according to people. No matter how many times you hurt an Owl, it will still be an Owl. You may call it the height of stupidity to not take lessons from what actually happened to you previously. But I think this tolerance gave Owl its identity. Identity of its innocence, identity of its harmlessness and identity of its wisdom. It allows this world to do whatever they want and still carries on the stuffs it likes to do. And Owl still loves the peace, calm and absolute serenity. It rather suffers the gloomy dark than the violence of the daytime, the rat-race of human race, and the struggle for food and power. Avoiding diurnal struggle keeps Owl way apart than its counter parts of the same aviary phylum or breed, call it whatever your biology teacher painted your brain with in his nomenclature lecture. Having said that, I in no way mean to say I will be running away from my problems. I just want you to know that work is not your choice, its mandatory shit you must push out using all of your energies just to feed yourself. Have you ever imagined the cause of this violence and war all over? I know the answer. I learned this while reading some works of CHANAKYA, there is no wealth as great as food and no greed as shameful as lust. Means, we are fighting for calorie inlet and testosterone outlet. Shame on us all human beings, we are yet to understand this and we are dying to be all more powerful. You just need few thousand calories and a small piece of land to live happily. You are free to decide the color of your roof and still you are upset that you have only one color to paint it with. These thought gave me the impression of diversity in life. Beauty is diverse. Respect the differences, agree even to disagree then only you will become infinitely happy. So these little infinity and smiley get their room in my tattoo. You need to believe in yourself, not only believe but keep faith in your abilities, with love and compassion for infinite happiness. Or else, you will end up being one rich-poor man, man, not male or female. Just man, meaning human being. Your garage will be full with wheels, closet with expensive clothes, refrigerators with most delicious and un-earned food but your heart will be heartless, empty, and void. Oh yeh, just man. These divisions were man made, and none of them were crafted by lord. I think lord made two genders to maintain this much needed diversity and we, the idiot human beings, used it as the measure of superiority. I saw these looking through the big-rod-cell-enriched-eyes of an owl. I learned it thinking like an owl; in the dark, in the silence and in the state of absolutely nothingness. And this nothingness is completeness as it makes me realize that every moment has the power to kill me, but still it lets me live and enjoy. This time has taught me the lesson of forgiveness and its power and its role for my holistic wellbeing and happiness. Like an owl, I want to see this world but not with myopic eyes. See its eyes, they are there to observe, not to judge. I want to see the world as “it is”, not as “it should be”. I want to travel to places and see things for myself with my eyes wide open, like that Owl does. It does so during nights and I am a different kind of an Owl, who enjoys daylight with con cells and a bit of night life with rod cells. I don’t want to be absolutely an Owl, so limited. Thus, this Owl not only reminds me who to be, also it tells me, every time, who not to be like.
There were times in my life when I had to motivate myself to not die. I followed whatever they said, I even lost myself pleasing them all and the day I decided to discover myself, I lost them all. And that all, unfortunately, included the dearest ones. And guess what, I love them all and I don’t regret for loving them despite their flaws. I have been through the volley of gossips, but I survived them all. They were verbal apocalypse to me and my ignorance was my only savior, as they said I was dumb. Just like this Owl, I did my things; despite this world. This Owl shines bright for its determination and intuition and its wisdom. Against all odds. Even an idiot san sync lips and belie us, but it takes a real artist to perform for real. Everyone performs stunt when they are availed with world of luxuries but it takes a real daredevil, like this owl, to venture out in the dark, to believe in own ability and make impossible happen, to isolate and kick that little “im” from the word “impossible”. This dissection of word gave me another glimpse of life. If I replace this “im” feeling with “We are” then even the spelling of “impossibility” turns “We are Possible”. Yes we are because victory is within. If you remember what Sir. Edmund Hilary once said, “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
To do so, an owl is not enough, I need to redesign the owl. It’s very DNA needed to be reengineered. So, I decided to put that wheel for its body, signifying the dynamism. Earth will roar like the thunder and sky will crack with the pain and instability is the thing which remains stable. Stability is rather brutal to me. I got this inspiration from earthquake. Those structures, which were only right and rigid got converted into the to-be-cleared concrete pile. Being right is not as important as serving the cause I am assigned with, but not at the cost of my dignity and integrity and identity, just as those houses maintained their everything despite being struck with a massive quake. It gave me another lesson, being strong is not being stupidly rigid. I wanted that when to remind myself to keep moving and doing my things. And while doing so, I should not forget my true passion and those musical notations tell me to stick to my passion despite this moving when and changing time. As times, they are, always changing and soon this today, where I am writing this, living, doing whatever, which gives me my life will claim it back. May be life has always been a journey of series of joy and sorrows, suffering and laughter, regret and feeling of glad, failure and sense of accomplishment.
I was touched by the commencement speech of Steve jobs at Stanford University, few years back. I promised to myself, no matter where I am in life, I will be myself. I will always replace the heaviness of being a successful with the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. That way I can learn from wind and rain, if necessary, from the lion’s mane as well. And learning curvature is like a wheel, you can only install it but can’t say for sure where started and where it is gonna end. Keep moving and while you move, keep loving people, not things, and while you do so, keep faith in yourself, not on anyone else. Be original. That OM in the tattoo signifies my cultural attachment. No matter what you think of me, I am very much culturally grounded person. I am so grounded that I have analyzed every bit of it which I might face in this life time. That little crescent, which makes Hinduism complete has also significance in Islam. I want to say the world that we are the one, so connected with so many common beliefs and still we somehow misinterpret them to claim as our own creed’s heritage and create war out of the connection which was supposed to incite love among everyone and everything. I was touched by Sir. A.P.J Abdul Kalam and Swami Vivekananda. Sir Kalam was a Muslim and he is loved by almost all of the hindus and Swami was a Hindu and loved by almost all the muslims. Isn’t it amazing that we don’t love or hate people? We just love their deeds and thoughts. I wanted this OM to remind myself that your name ANUP will vanish as a noun, try to convert it to an adjective, maintaining my originality. In this lifetime alone.
I was scared of needles, to be more precise, injections. I even ran out of license trail as they demanded me to have my blood group confirmed. And now, I want to challenge impossible. For this, I need to fight my every fears. My skin was painfully picked for whole four hours to get myself inked and now I am above injection fear. Wow, a tattoo elevated my life above all the fears.
I have so many things to talk about this tattoo. But still, for this gloomy society, tattoo is a taboo. Think one trillion times before you ask me “why?”, for having a tattoo, coz a man who thought for 1.5 years to decide, spent more than a week to design, endured hell lot of pain for four hours and spent a sleepless night to interpret it with more word count than required for two SOPs of best universities, can go to any frontier to defend its glory and dignity. Live before you die, don’t wait things to happen. Make them happen, yes you can. Just step out of your comfort zone, endure a bit of pain and you will make it to the other side of the river where you always had thought grass were greener. Then you will realize, money ain’t the answer, fame ain’t the answer and neither the freaking approval of this world for your every deed is the answer. Your inner peace is the answer. And you still have this choice, whether to live or just exist and vanish? You don’t live in a world, you live in the world. We all have a world of our own and we call it the world. It includes your everything and think twice, since you live in the world and only share this planet with other countless and so complex creatures including 7 plus billion people, why should you worry about what they think? They don’t even are remotely related to you. It’s like fearing the zombie apocalypse and not executing your move. Life is super simple, it’s people who are complicated.
Think, and think again. Thinking sets human apart from other breed. Every living creature gets birth, eats and vanishes and in the process, leaves behind another one, almost like him/her/itself in the name of offspring. Using intellect James us human beings. So, go live before you die. The saga of labeling and hating will continue. You carry on with your life. And let the saga continue.
An Anup Dhakal Chapain‘s Story