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Is there a reason you chose to get a tiger tattoo?

Aavu Puli


Apurupa, 29

From Vizag/Bombay

Recited the story in their mothertongue, Telugu

This is my mother’s take on Aavu Puli (Telugu for cow and tiger) from Chandamama Kathalu (moon’s/ beddtime stories) which was a classic Indian monthly magazine for children, famous for its moralistic tales.


So as per the folktale, there’s this cow who just gives birth to her calf and is super happy to be a mum. She was a single mum, but she had a good career as a professional cow, and she has a good name in her community.


One day, she steps into the forest to bring her offspring some fresh greens and tings. A tiger catches hold of her and is like brah I’m hungry AF and I’m going to gobble you up. The cow is like maybe it’s not in your nature to be empathetic, but I’d like to go write my will, hand over my baby to her godparents and feed her milk for one last time before you devour me.


The cow has to negotiate a bit with the tiger, but she finally relents. The cow does as she says and she comes back to the tiger to offer itself as prey. The tiger, moved by the cow’s integrity, says that she won’t eat her.


I remember questioning my mother as to why the cow couldn’t just have relocated with its calf and get a job elsewhere - she was really playing a risky game. So, my Amma was like fine you give me an alternate ending.


In my story the cow comes back to its bb, packs up all its belongings and bounces to Switzerland to be with her cousins. There she meets another lovely cow, and they live happily ever after. I should’ve known then that I am queer.

"So, this is actually kind of funny, I recently started a new job – it’s been great, everyone is really nice. We recently went on a company retreat to Ranthambore, and the whole time we were hoping to see a tiger, but nobody did. Everyone was complaining about our tiger-less time in Ranthambore when I decided to mess with them and told them I’d seen one and I couldn’t believe everyone else missed it. I still haven’t told them the truth it’s a running gag now, ill send them a picture of this tattoo too once it’s done like see! I got a tattoo of that tiger I saw."

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