The traditional symbol of commitment has changed as couples now opt to get their ring fingers inked with tattoos.

In times of recession, where job cuts are the norm and finances are on shaky ground, couples now seem to be exchanging wedding vows minus the rings, trading it for equally symbolic (and permanent) tattoos on their ring fingers. While the trend is big abroad, it is slowly making its mark in India too.

Arun Alva, an artist at a popular Bandra-based tattoo parlour, says, "The concept of ring tattoos is slowly catching on here. Most couples have read about it online and come to us requesting to be branded for life with their lovers' initials. We generally get about five or six couples enquiring about it every month, and some actually get it done." If this is something you want to do or have already done, Arun advises couples to retouch their ring tattoos after a while. He says, "Since we tend to use our fingers a lot, we advise couples to retouch their tattoos after a while as the colour starts fading."

Artist Pravin Gaikwad, who works with celebrity tattoo artist Hakim Aalim adds, "Couples do come to us with requests for ring tattoos, opt for their initials to be inked on their fourth finger or go in for ambigrams where both the names can be read from different angles."
Other popular ring tattoo designs are symbols that hold special meaning for the couple, wedding dates and artwork.

Pros, cons
Since it's permanent, you don't have to worry about forgetting where you kept your expensive ring or about losing it down the plughole while washing dishes. You can also save money as a ring tattoo comes at a fraction of the cost of a gold or platinum wedding band.

On the flip side, there's the element of pain you have to go through to get a permanent symbol of commitment to your lover. And if the relationship does not work out, you may have to remove the tattoo, which can be an even more painful experience!

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