from oww to wow – conquering pain


Many a time when a non-inked person looks at my tattoo-ed Koi on the back of my neck I know the questions that I would be asked and one of it is always: ‘ was it not painful?’ The truth is that it wasn’t. I was alright all through out. The tattoo artist, a Brazilian was very passionate from the start of drawing the sketch on a small piece of paper to the final stage of colouring the little koi on my skin. The question of pain has come up so many times that it has made me stop and reconstruct the day it happened six years ago and figure out my emotions. It has led to my coming up with varied answers: ‘yeah, a little bit!’, ‘it was just as if I was being scratched’. I even go onto justify some times why was it a little or no pain with the reason being: perhaps it was on my back which is a hard portion and it has less flesh etc etc. I am not claiming that there was no pain at all but it was like an any day when you get a cut, bite or a small wound. I would not go on making a deal about it. I see my men friends with a cut on their cheeks after a shave and it has never been an issue. Perhaps getting a tattoo or body piercing attracts more attention toward the pain as this is a conscious decision to get wounded. A decision considered foolish by many who are however okay with ears and nose piercing.

I am not waxing lyrical on tattoos here. It is about pain. The physical pain. One thing which we have in common with everyone in the world. The other abstracts like happiness, sorrow, jealousy can be hidden or denied but not pain. You see somebody or the other complaining about a type of pain invariably. How does one manage a pain without using the painkillers? Simple: 1) By working on the pain! 2) By getting used to the pain.

In a recent freak accident a friend of mine had his right shoulder dislocated (which he was able to put it back in the socket right away), and he spent the next four to five days in a zombie state. He took to sleeping pills besides other pain killers. His sleeping pattern and routine got awry. The doctor had to finally tell him to stop using the pills and learn to manage the pain. He was recommended a physiotherapist to work on his loose shoulder. He has got much better since.

I was impervious to the tattoo pain as compared to my recent strange pains (lets not get into the giddiness I felt after I got down from the ‘twirl-a-whirl’ ride which I accompanied my daughter last week!). My new pair of specs for one gave me a hard time for more than a month. I hadn’t thought that switching from plastic to metal would give me severe headaches. The sticks that go behind the ears crushed my temples. I felt worse as I had spent good money on my designer (yeah, I mean fragile and the high maintenance) glasses! Being prescription glasses (and even if it wasn’t!) there was no way I was going to get a replacement. The thought that it was so expensive and I couldn’t exchange them, stressed me more. I remember how the first time when I wore them on a short-haul flight it gave me a severe headache. However, as days rolled by and with more usage (I usually wear a pair of lenses when I go out and choose to have a hazy vision at home!) I felt finally ‘at home’ wearing them. The sticks fit behind my ears very smooth.


And how can I forget the dental pain! Everyone who visits a dentist knows what the pain is like especially if an extraction is involved. I must say I was very bold when a few tooth extractions took place a decade ago. However what surprised me recently was when a ‘crown’ was being placed on one of my open tooth that had gone through a severe process of root canal. I felt as if my dentist was fixing a stone. I conveyed my feelings to him who then asked me to hold that little crown in my hand. It was so light. I did feel heavy in my mouth for a few days and was cursing myself for not having taken care of my teeth but all was back to normal after some time.

I had conquered the physical pain. Got used to it or managed it or both.

A small pain (a recent cat bite), and a slightly bigger than a small pain (when I fell down as I jogged : Interpreter of Falls with a thud) tell me many different things: to not to play with that silly stray cat; to not to dream as I jog but never to hate the pain. I have learnt to embrace it.



It is just the mental fears that I think I will have to live with. I don’t think I can thinking of bungee jumping.



  1. my little koi inked in 2006
  2. my new pair of glasses with my daughter at the back photo bombing – Feb 2016
  3. tooth image courtesy:
  4. cat bite – May 2016
  5. Ginger, the cat who bit me – May 2016