What is that one characteristic that differentiates a tattooed person from a non-tattooed person? This question is not meant to generalise tattooed people and the non-tattooed as just two groups, but to rather make an effort to understand why tattooed people take so much pride in their ink. I have met many tattoo artists, and many tattoo collectors, and have always put forth questions to them to understand the inner psyche behind getting more and more ink.
And then, I met Gurbani Judge, aka Bani J.
Bani’s answer was as straight forward as it gets. “I have not met any tattooed person who is judgmental as fuck.” Period. That statement not only says a lot about the person that she is, but also makes a major point in the semantics of tattoos as a subculture.
“Tattooed people are always so judged by the non tattooed peeps, especially in India, that they don’t really have any fucks left to give.”
One of the true ink collectors of India, Bani has been getting tattoos since she was 14 years old. Unlike most of us, who have grown up seeing tattoos on rock stars, wrestlers and largely on TV, Bani’s tattoo inspiration comes from her mother, Tanya Judge. Her mother got tattooed for the first time at the age of 35.
Most of her ink has come from her trips abroad, but the reactions back home were not always welcoming. Working in the entertainment industry, Bani has always had to face the wrath of casting directors who would question her artistic / acting abilities because of her ink. Now, that is discrimination. But she also points out that not all is grey. “At MTV, they never had any issues with my ink. They would be like ‘Iss ko jo karna hai karne do.'”
Apart from being an ink collector and a prolific actor, Bani is also a fitness freak. She religiously works out everyday, and is a ripped beauty, to say the least. For her, getting tattooed or toning the body is not about making a statement. “I see my body as a blank canvas. I like the idea that I can shape it the way I want to.” Bani is the epitome of the fact that our bodies are our own temples, and we are our own Gods.