Tat-Tuesday: Samarth Thawani honors childhood hobbies

Kaiya Little , Life & Arts Reporter

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the May 3, 2022 flipbook.

At the bend of Samarth Thawani’s inner arm, a play and two skip buttons wrap across his skin like a band. 

Without the melodies of his favorite songs, Thawani said life would lose its vibrancy. When music pours into his ears through his headphones, Thawani said the sound silences the rest of the world, as well as his own mind.

“I’m an overthinker. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing,” the math and economics freshman said. “Music toned (my thoughts) down.”

When his mind races, Thawani said he turns to his childhood hobbies — listening to music and playing soccer — to quell his anxieties and ground him in his intrinsic humanity. Unlike the empty canvas those distractions provide, Thawani said he uses his tattoos to connect more deeply with these activities, memorializing anecdotes and thoughtful pieces of his life through art.

“It’s about all the throwbacks.There’s so many good memories,” Thawani said. “There’s (when I won) the first player of the match and then the first tournament I won. There are a couple of which just stuck in my head, and I don’t think they’re going to leave anytime soon.”

In high school, Thawani played center back on his school’s soccer team — a crucial defensive position he said lent inspiration for his second tattoo. Thawani said some may misinterpret the anchor design, but the tattoo acts as a reference to the sport he loves and the role it held in his life before coming to college. 

“I was the guy to hold the team down — therefore the anchor,” Thawani said. “Some people don’t get it. It just made sense in my head.”

Thawani lived in England for the first years of his life, moving around frequently before his family settled in Pune, India, for most of his teenage years. Thawani said soccer became the one constant throughout all the travel, even as he made his most recent journey to begin college in Austin, where he now plays soccer with UT RecSports.

“I would move around quite a bit as a kid, so it was kind of hard at times,” Thawani said. “(Playing) was a way to make new friends because soccer being so popular was like, ‘Oh, you want to play soccer? I’ll show up.’”

Looking at the tattoos leading down his arms, Thawani said each one captures significant aspects of his life that he hopes to keep close to his heart forever. From the music shaping his life’s soundtrack to his standout soccer memories, Thawani said his tattoos are as permanent as the stories behind them, such as the time his team — the obvious underdogs — pulled off a one in a million tournament upset.   

“We started off really bad in the league games,” Thawani said. “Somehow we managed to pull through. Something lit up in us. We won the finals, and it was a beautiful feeling. I’ll never ever forget the joy in our faces coming back to school.”