One morning, he walked all the way to Colaba Causeway and past through the crowded corridor frequented by hordes of Mumbai where they are heavily bargaining for discounts on fake Gucci, Levis Jeans, Rolex watches and Von Dutch. He stopped near a pan shop and asked for a classic mild cigarette. As he lit the fag, he was struck by the sight of tiny bearded man sitting on the pavement. He couldn't stop himself and walked up to the guy, "Bhaiya, how much do you charge for a tattoo?" The tiny fellow face lit and sprang on his feet, "Sit down, bhaiya. I will make a beautiful tattoo that will win you hearts and your girl friend will never leave you."
He smiled sheepishly, "Do you make Shiva Tattoo?"
The tiny man straightened his body confidently and said, "What are you talking, Saheb? So many young boys and girls come to me and I make such beautiful tattoo for them at a good and affordable price."
"How much do you charge for one tattoo?"
"Only 300 rupees, Sirjee."
He haggled with the tattoo guy, 'No! No! It's too expensive and cannot afford that much."
The tattoo guy smiled, "C'mon! Sir! If you cross the road, you will find a tattoo shop and you will not be charged lesser than 2,000. Sir! Yeh Mumbai hai. Everything comes at a price."
He still wasn't sure whether he can trust this guy and who knows, whether he properly scrub and clean the area where the tattoo will be applied. He walked away from the tiny fellow vying for customers but the guy would not let him go away from him.
The tattoo guy chased him with the idea to clinch a deal, "Sir, 250 okiee 220.."
He ignored the tattoo guy but the guy kept stalking him for almost an hour and finally grabbed his hand. 'Sir, it's morning and make a good day for both of us and tell me your price.
He stopped and said: "Listen! I am dying to have Lord Shiva tattoo but I have only 150 bucks."
The tiny man smiled at him: "Sir! I take between 250 to 300 but you've taken Lord Shiva name, for you it's only 150."
The tattoo guy led him in the by-lane as he signaled him to climb the wooden stairs. He removed his t-shirt and the tiny man cleaned his neck and in less than 30 minutes, the tattoo was done. The tattoo guy showed him a mirror and on seeing the tattoo, he jumped with joy, "Wow! Bhaiya! This is awesome and can you click the tattoo picture with my cell phone." He thanked the tattoo guy and walked way. It was a happy day for him and couldn't wait to show the tattoo to his flat mate and best friend, Rohan, and girl-friend, Neha.
The tattoo guy put the 150 notes in the pocket of the dusty blue jeans and walked the streets on Colaba hunting for college kids dying for a tattoo. All of a sudden, a blast was heard. People were running and shouting frantically, "Help! help! Let's run away. It's is a terrorist attack."
A group of people run towards the tattoo guy, "Can you come along with us. A taxi has exploded near Gateway of India and a young man is stuck inside. Please help us," they pleaded.
The tattoo guy left his bag and materials on the street and run towards Gateway, along with the guys, and saw the taxi in flames. It took them half an hour to open the door of the cab to remove the young man's body that was soaked in blood. Suddenly, he saw a tattoo on the neck of the man fighting for his life. He had seen that tattoo before! If only he could remember where....
This post is part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by Blog Adda.