Kamaldeep Sethi used to be a corporate trainer with a flair for drawing on office walls. Then a colleague talked him into learning the art of tattoos.
Sethi, who goes by the name KD, set up a tattoo parlour in New Delhi in 2005. He now owns three shops, including one in Canada. The 32-year-old is part of a new generation of tattoo artists who left high-paying corporate jobs to follow their passion.
Though exact numbers are hard to come by, tattoo art is a flourishing business in cities like New Delhi, which is estimated to have between 60 and 100 tattoo studios and more than 300 home-based artists.
More young people are visiting such parlours as tattoos — once perceived as the domain of bikers, rock bands and drug addicts — are being increasingly accepted in mainstream Indian society.
“I think it (clientele) has more than doubled,” said KD, who sports seven tattoos including one on his right temple. “Earlier, we were taking care of maybe one or two clients in three-four days. Now we probably take care of three to five tattoos in a day.”