In the hip suburb of Bandra if you happen to fling a pebble through the air, chances are that the rock would land on somebody who’s been inked or pierced by AJ or AL, two of the four brothers who run the city’s sexiest, most popular Tattoo and Piercing joint. Between the four of them they flaunt over a 100 piercings and couple dozen tatt’s. We’re talking metal through areolas, eyebrows, tongues, among other steel insertions enough in number to throw airport security booths into chaos.
These dust kickin’ art stars are the guys your mom warned you about. Just when you thought it doesn’t get any rugged(er) than this; We bring to you the epitome of bad-ass: their mother, Mrs Alva. There’s nothing that doesn’t get run by her.
“Piercing is an art. It feels nice to know that my sons are artists. I do pierce but my sons are at the helm of it all and they do it exceptionally. They’ve surpassed me”
Me: “What was your initial reaction when your sons started tattooing and piercing when the time demanded careers to be engineering, medicine, army etc?”
Her: “I never felt the need to answer anybody in society. As long as my sons were happy and excited about what they were doing, that’s all I needed to make my decision. And as they began this never charted career path in India, they learned from trial and error. It was an exciting time, a time that we treasure. Those days were so much more tumultuous in terms of setting up. More fluttery than now when things are settled and streamlined.
Me: Do you fill in if the boys are out?
Her: “We are a perfect team. All 4 of my sons tattoo and pierce and incase they can’t for some reason, I do too. It’s a beautiful expression of art. I remember you got your nipple & ear cartilage pierced by AJ, and then your hip tattood by Al. So you know how our family is a comfort zone for people to experiment with ink and steel.”
Me: “Yeah. AJ and AL are friends so I trust my body with them. I’ve spoken to many people who’ve gotten stuff done at your studio and they only had good things to say. I think their USP is their skill and people loving vibe.”
With a massive red and black gradient half sleeve tatt on her right arm of cradled babies on roses (which signify her undying love for her grandchildren), Mrs Alva sports an intimidating look which has “Mess with me and you’ll wish you were born a woman” plastered all over her face. She keeps a steady pulse on the store and does high pressure piercings with unparalleled precision. With a heart of gold and a spirit of a lion, Ms Alva is 100% substance. Or should I say 101%?
Tip of the day: When she asks you a question tell nothing but the truth because her super instinctive powers make Nostradamus feel like an amateur clairvoyant. She definitely has a chamber for pretty liars too.
Words: Roshmin Mehandru
Photography: Karan Khosla