Permanently (Im)Printed in Prague #BlogchatterA2Z

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This post has been written for the theme “26 Places, 26 Memories” for the #AtoZChallenge.


Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is known for its exquisite medieval architecture, picturesque Gothic churches and castles, and scenic Vltava River. The Charles Bridge, lined with beautifully crafted statues, is the most pictorial representation of this city. A vibrant underground party scene, and reasonably priced shopping, add to its charms. One can make quick day trips to nearby spa town Karlovy Vary, and picturesque village Cesky Krumlov, from there.

My brother pursued his Master’s degree in Prague, so my parents and I visited him just after he graduated in June 2015. Our month-long vacation took us to Slovakia, Austria and Germany; but the longest and loveliest portion of the holiday was spent in Prague. Read on to know why it has a special place in my heart.


I’d always wanted a tattoo, but was hesitant to brand myself with something meaningless. A few months previously, on a trip with my husband visiting some iconic Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) of Punjab, India, I narrowed in on what I wanted for my first tattoo.

‘Nirbhau, Nirvair- Without Fear, Without Hatred’ from the Mool Mantra (primary prayer) of the Sikh religion, seemed the perfect choice. I love the simplicity and poignant meaning of these words.

After quizzing my friends who’ve been inked before, I concluded that tattoo artists in Europe were a safer bet than Indian ones (or at least were back then). With a little research, my brother identified a good tattoo parlour in Prague. My traditional parents seemed the last hurdle to cross.

To prevent any argument, I announced my decision instead of seeking permission. Despite being 27 years old, I was expecting to be rebuked. To my complete surprise, my mother announced she’d like to get tattooed with me!

Happy that I hadn’t been foiled, I played along, expecting her to change her mind at the last minute. As a fan of her exquisite design sense, I asked her to sketch the tattoo. We chose the saying in Gurmukhi (written Punjabi) script, and she decorated it with two beautiful sets of leaves- to denote a mother-daughter pairing. Our artist was Slovakian, who’d crossed the border to the Czech Republic for better economic opportunities.

When the fateful day arrived, I was shitting bricks, while my mother calmly got herself permanently inked! I couldn’t back out after that. Fortunately, we had chosen a skilled artist, and the fleshy part of our forearms for the tattoo. I felt nothing except for a slight stinging sensation. We were both done within an hour.

My mother and I have always been very close to each other; but getting ourselves permanently inked together in the Czech Republic, by a Slovakian, in Gurmukhi; was an unbeatable experience. It’s been four years since, and I’m still trying to convince my father, brother and husband to join our tattoo bandwagon. However, it seems the next one to join will probably be my son 😉

Come back tomorrow for the letter Q and another story!


Nirbhau Nirvair- Without Fear, Without Hate


The Anands in Prague, June 2015


Posing in front of Prague Castle and the Vtlava River, Prague, June 2015

P for Prague

Book a stay in Prague by clicking here.

*The copyright in all pictures belongs to nooranandchawla. 

**This is not a sponsored post, but it contains an affiliate link. If you book a stay using my link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

A for AmritsarB for BhopalC for CambodiaD for Delhi,  E for England, F for France, G for Gwalior, H for Hemkund Sahib, I for Italy, J for Jim Corbett National Park, K for Kamakhya Devi Temple, L for London, M for Munich, N for NaplesO for Odisha


  1. I have a plan to be inked in my arms but the ups and downs of six packs (almost) due to interruptions for various reasons is not allowing me to do so…
    Good to go through the post, enjoying the glimpses from your life’s journey.

  2. Chalo at least somebody got inked. I have been contemplating the idea for quite a while now but all that has been able to stop me so far is a strong reason and symbol of choice. Although wife is really excited about it but as is customary, unwilling to face the parental volley 😛 .

  3. Beautiful! Love your tattoos and love your mom 🙂 so cool to be tattoo buddies. And the tattoo is so meaningful I am fawning all over it. My husband has 2 tattoos. one meaningful and the other no idea why he got it. He plans to get our kids names tattooed written in their own handwriting next!

  4. I’m yet to gather courage to get inked. By the way even my post is on the same place today 😊

  5. That’s really so sweet of your mom to go ahead & get inked with you. Love the design your mom made & the choice of words you’ve chosen. You have such a cute family, God bless you guys.

  6. Woww! That is very sweet of your mother. Bravo she is! Loved the pair tattoo. Personally I don’t like tattoos but they are beautiful to watch on someone else :p 🙂

  7. Your mom is a rockstar. I wish I had half her courage to go through this kind of an experience. I have been thinking to get a tattoo for years now but somehow change my mind at the last moment thinking of the pain that I was subjecting myself to.

  8. Wow the tattos look really beautiful. Hats off to your mom who wothout any jitters got inked. But I am sure you will always remember this as the 2 of you got ikked together.

  9. This is one of your best posts. I connected a feel with “Nirbhau Nirvair”. Before marriage On Gurunanak Jayanti and On Sunday’s when langar is served, I used to go to Military resident Gurudwara which is nearby my home. I used to listen to Shabad Kirtan there and enjoyed the Prasadi. Love the tattoo.

  10. A couple of years ago I got a tiny miny letter A embossed on my arm. And ever since I have been pining to get it converted into an elaborate tattoo. My husband beat me to it by getting my name inked on his wrist. Let’s see when do I find that courage. But kudos to you and more to your mom for the great tattooing feat.

  11. You are one globetrotter! Drinking bear in Germany, having a bar fight (albeit with brother) at Munich, getting robbed in UK, waking up Jagannath at Puri and then getting a tattoo in Czech Republic by a Slovakian. What more left to do? Finally getting Nirbhau tattooed fearfully!

  12. Love the post..this place is in my bucket list since long and after reading your post, I am feeling more excited to plan our trip soon. also, loved the tatoo story and hats off to aunty for her courage..for me, it is scary and painful.

  13. Oh how lovely! I also want to get a tattoo but still not able to make up my mind as I am aftraid of the pain. May be some day soon.

  14. Awesome Noor… Loved ur post… Loved the city u chose.. Loved the meaning of ur tattoo… n ofcourse loved ur pics…. Keep sharing your adventures… You have got people who really love to read…

  15. When I started reading, I thought it’s you and your husband who got it inked, later on I discovered differernt story 🙂 I have heard the line in Ik Onkar..if I am right? Me and my husband have inked our daughter’s name 🙂

  16. I am going to be frank,. 🙂 ..I dont like tattoos…I feel the body is a temple and it should not be tainted. Anyway thats my thought. My daughter too has Nirbhau Nirvair on her nape. She is also very clever. Will tell me that she is getting inked not take permission.

  17. I always wanted to get inked, but was not very sure of what. Two years ago, on my daughter’s 4th birthday I decided to get her name inked on my wrist. Its a beautiful design sketched by an awesome artist here in Mumbai.
    Yours ia a lovely story, and what a great idea of the Tattoo direct from the Mool Mantar.

  18. Thats so sweet you and your mom got tattooed together and it is something so meaningful so beuatiful i dont like tattoos but i would like to do something similar to this in the future- something meaningful ❤

  19. I am so in love with this series of yours. Loved the title first of all and secondly congratulations on getting permanently inked. Really enjoyed reading this.

  20. Your mom is such a rockstar…im scared of getting inked in general….loved the Gurmukhi font u chose …beautiful

  21. Enjoyed reading this post and was amused how coolly your mum agreed to get inked and then got it done with elan!

  22. We were in for some time and have discovered places. Prague is one that we have missed out! Oye, and your will power to get tattooed is amazing. I might not be able to do it even if I like to see my hand or leg tattooed!

  23. Getting tattooed with your Mom is quite special indeed. Gurumukhi script is beautiful and I’m glad you found an artist In Europe who could do it so well. The leaves do add a beautiful touch. Very pretty!

  24. You know Noor there is nothing as precious as having the same tattoo as your mom, I so loved this straight from the heart read of you visiting your brother with your parents

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