December 5th 2012 archive

Spice, Spice Baby

Photo - Shutterstock

Photo – Shutterstock

It seems that I am fortunate enough to have a lot of new readers and friends at Masala Chica. I just wanted to be the first to welcome you here. These aren’t fancy digs, but the people around here are intelligent, open-minded, and supportive. There really aren’t any rules. This is a place to comment and express your views. I will not be upset with you unless you call me mean names, make fun of my hair or insult my children (in that order). The same goes with my Facebook page – if you have something to share that you think will be interesting to Masala Chica readers, please feel free to contribute. Remember, no comment is stupid, unless of course it’s really stupid.

I’ve been getting a lot of “Hey Masala!” or “Great post, Masala!” or even “Fuck off, Masala!” This has made me realize that people may not realize that the title of this blog is in no way related to my name.

My real name is Kiran. It’s pronounced kee-rin. There is a Japanese beer pronounced the same way except the spelling is different (Kirin). It’s a common name in India – used for both genders. It’s also an Irish name. (Kieran)

When I was younger, I hated my name. If you grew up in the United States during the 80’s, the idea of customizable things didn’t exist. I would go to the store with Papa and look at pencils, mini license plates for my bike and keychains that I so desperately wanted and search and search for my name. The closest I ever found was Karen or Kristin. None of my teachers could pronounce my name and of course, I would be the one embarrassed (duh). Ky-ran (rhymes with I-ran), that was the best I usually got.

It’s a good thing my parents didn’t name me Venkateshwari or something. That would have sucked.

By the way, no offense if that’s your name. Still, I count it as a blessing.

So back to Masala. When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a place where I wrote mainly about being Indian-American and the experiences I have had growing up in the thick of two cultures.

Masala means spice. Indians are known for their spices and their spicy food. I really likes spicy food. Flaming HOT spicy food. If it doesn’t make me cry and sweat when I eat it, then it’s just not spicy enough. From there, I tried to find Masala Girl, but it wasn’t available. Since my husband is half-Puerto Rican, I justified using Chica (Spanish for girl) in the title.

I had this cute little description. Take a ride on the spicy side. Ughh. I know. I know.

I used to get really offended when people said they didn’t like Indian food. It made me want to throw samosas at them. I have since simmered down and understand if people don’t like curry. I am no longer militant about it and hey, if you don’t like gulab jamun – that’s your prerogative.

What I have found as this blog has evolved is that some of the stories I wanted to write about my family’s experience here, no matter how unique, are probably off limits unless I want to be disowned completely. I still write about my experiences as an Indian-American, but I have found that many of the themes I write about are not exclusively “Indian-American.” Many of the cross-cultural stories I share are something that people across different ethnic backgrounds can relate to. Then of course I also write about the basic day to day stuff  like how my husband pissed me off, or how my kids are driving me crazy, even how my parents think I curse too goddamn much.

You know, stuff people relate to. Unless they are much more normal than me.

But I did want to set the record straight before you fall in love with me too much. Inevitable, I’m afraid.

I curse. A LOT. In fact, most people are shocked to see this petite Indian girl write as if I was a truck driver. I never curse AT people. I just pointlessly interject bad words a lot. If you are offended by that, I apologize, but I just can’t change that.

Not fucking soon, anyway.

I love gay people. I have written several posts about hypothetical situations about my son being gay. I don’t know if it’s because I want him to be gay because I really just want a great shopping buddy, or because I just want to let people know that my kids have my support if they go down that challenging path.

I have a bleeding heart. I will write about injustice, rail against prejudice, fume over ignorance. Loudly. Most of the time, nobody is listening, but that just makes me TALK LOUDER. If that happens, tell me to simmer down and I usually will.

I want this blog to be a place where people from all cultures, all backgrounds and all religions feel comfortable. I will try not to offend you, I promise. That’s the best I can do though. But it’s hard. I probably offended ten people just talking about my name.

I can’t make everybody happy. But I try.

If you like the blog, spread the word by sharing it with your friends, family, your nosy neighbor across the street, her aunt and the aunt’s new puppy, Honey Boo-Boo.

Namaste to all of you.