SRINAGAR: Inside a well-laid-out studio with colourful décor, Mubashir Bashir Beigh, 25, is busy applying a tattoo on a customer. Using special pens and indelible ink, he tries to carve out a beautiful face on the customer’s arm. A peppy Punjabi number plays on a woofer as he tries his hand on his arm. Hours after the gruelling task, he applies special foam to finish the work. A big ‘Ahhh’ echoes the room as the customer exclaims with joy seeing the tattooed arm.
Welcome to Mubii’s Tattoo Studio, Kashmir’s only tattoo, and piercing parlour. From requests for carving images of stars to popular sportspersons and even an impression of lion or tiger, Mubashir said he is seeing a steady stream of customers who want to draw attention to themselves at social gatherings or events.
“Tattooing is picking up in Kashmir. I used to get one to two clients when I started a few years back. Now I get 15 to 20 customers a day. And not only from Kashmir, but I also get clients from outside. Some tourists are also coming for getting tattoos done,” Mubashir told The Kashmir Monitor.
A self-made artist, Mubashir was so much interested in tattooing that he left for Mumbai when he was 18. After learning the nitty-gritty of the art, he worked in different cities including Mumbai, Delhi, and Punjab to hone his skills. Five years back, he came to Srinagar and started the studio, which was the first of its kind in the valley. Since then there is no looking back.
“I have three assistants as well. Some of my staff had come from outside, but they left. Now new staff is coming. Plus I train locals in this art,” he said.
From boys to girls and from youngsters to middle-aged, he has a huge client base. “We do not only apply tattoos, but we are also doing piercing. Let me tell you, it is becoming popular in Kashmir as well. Piercing is not restricted to boys only,” he said.
Body piercing is an art. The trend started in the west and reached India a few years back. Now, body piercing is a fashion statement. Under this technique, a person pierces any part of his body and uses special rings or jewels to embellish it.
“There are different styles of piercing. And both boys and girls do it in Kashmir. Lip piercing, tongue, trug, eyebrow conch, and belly piercing are in vogue. Dermo piercing is trending this time. Under this technique, a diamond is fixed in the skin. It can be anywhere in the skin,” he said.
Couple tattoos and portraits are the preferred choices of young boys and girls. “Couple tattoo means creating an image of boy and girl either on their arms or any body parts. Women prefer watercolour tattoos. It could be a flower, bird, or any image,” he said. For Mubashir, tattooing is both art and business. “Tattooing is dirt cheap in Kashmir. When I was working outside a few years back, we used to charge Rs 1500 per square inch. Here, I charge Rs 500 now. I am happy that this artform is picking up in Kashmir. We start at 10.30 am and close at 8 pm because of the rush,” he said.