Over the years, the piercing trend in Chennai has shifted from its rebellious mode to being ventilation for self-expression, being repulsive and receptive at the same time.
They lit like stars in a constellation. As she speaks, a neat array of studs bordering her ears glisten, stealing our attention from what’s being said. She acknowledges the deviation by tucking the loose strands of hair behind her ears. A clearer view worsens the situation, as you sit in front of her – a cross-eyed gaper.
With three piercings on the cartilage and two on the skin of her ears , Anita Prem, a college student, is a connotation to the fine balance between the punk counter-culture and ethnicity. “I use rings and studs of black metal when in western wear and use the same in gold when in traditional,” she chuckles.
Unlike Anita’s case, wherein her parents were ice cool about her venture, it’s usually said to be a cold game between freshly pierced youth and fulminating parents.
“Fashion has no common sense,” fumes a parent of a teenager who got her navel piercing done recently. “I can’t believe she (her daughter) got a ring on her belly button, given her wails for a small blood test,” she said.
To avoid such peaks of blood pressure among her peeps, Ramya, an architect who has been sporting a ring on her navel for six years now, admits to having carried the secret in her bosom for months together when she had got it done in 2005. It weaves quite an interesting story of how she got caught by her brother, who was later coaxed to becoming her confidante, until the omniscient mom found the new ‘gypsy’ in the family.
So, when Tarun Kumar, owner of INK-the tattoo studio, Egmore says that today ‘parents are more concerned about the safety precautions’ than accepting the idea of a barbell or a hoop as a part of their children’s body, not many can subscribe to it. But of course, there are exceptions.
Yo Yo, B Boy instructor and dance crew head, says that his fellows were pretty excited about his corset piercing – a fad that is likely to invite the ‘ouch’s and ‘eugh’s of many. Imagine piercing multiple metal loops into the skin and threading zig-zagged ribbon through them. If that doesn’t make you wince in pain, here is another – a series of pins etched around the neck to form a perpetual necklace?
While Yo Yo admits to being of much visual interest on the streets, he says he is unperturbed by the ‘weird glances of babies and oldies’. SP Young Jesus, an actor and model, concurs with his point. But, who cares about his verbal acknowledgement, his Marilyn Munroe piercing – named after the starlet’s mole on the left side of her mouth – and Tragus piercing – piercing on the part that projects immediately in front of the ear canal – make a profound statement themselves.
The ears seem to be the playground for piercing artistes. Industrial piercing, which Naveen, owner of Irezumi studio, Nungambakkam, says is the trend now, has a straight metal piece piercing through two holes on the ear cartilage, giving it a caged look. If that doesn’t appeal to you enough, how about just expanding the ear hole in itself?
“Tunnels or spaces is the term for it,” smiles Tarun. “It is done by gradually stretching the skin using dapers,” he says, picking a cone shaped piece of jewelley made of fibre. However, he points out that unlike other piercings, the skin has to be stitched back once the flesh tunnels are removed. Will Adam Lambert’s glamtastic look lure the youngsters?
“Oh please,” cries Aafiya, who had cartilage piercing done after seeing her favourite star Orianthi Panagaris. “No more influence of stars. Though it was a prick for that moment, it took six months to heal for me,” she says. While there are many who give reflex flinches at the slight touch or a brush of hair on the pierced area, even after a year of getting it done, they seem to have no regrets and are happy to gulp down the pain.
The lead guitarist of Wolf’s Lair, Pharez Edward wards, who had a piercing below his lips earlier, however, says that it’s not the pain which turn’s him off, it’s the whole idea of it being conventional now, but immediately adds about his plan to get a permanent unique rod in his ears ‘that would define his personality’.
What remains unconventional is nipple and genital piercing. Though, Tarun claims to have done 400 genital piercing in the last 6 years, most of them, he says, have been for foreigners. Piercing on the tongue, tip of penis or clerotis, are apparently done for sexual gratification, he adds.
Naveen, however, without doubt says that when it comes to piercing, “Chennai is just a baby”. Well, probably a baby eagerly waiting for its first piercing to be done in pomp and splendour.
This article was previously published in The New Indian Express on the eve of The World Piercing Day, June 28.Check out – http://epaper.newindianexpress.com/c/1364905