Simply Slammed

I know that things may seem quiet around these parts. And while the blog may seem quieter than usual, things have been anything but quiet around me. Being committed to my full time job and family leaves little time during my waking hours for much except at night and into the wee hours of the morning.

My head, my thoughts, my words, my inspirations are running at a million miles an hour as I’m working on launching a business which I explained a while ago is a dream of mine, called Simply Om. This has confused some who look at it at the surface level.

“Um, so Kiran. You’ve been dreaming your whole life about opening an Etsy shop?”

Technically, no. Although I think Etsy does rock.

Simply Om is another road in my journey. I knew I needed to do it when I started this blog a few years ago. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and there were times I thought, well maybe it’s not my journey to take. Especially when I realized how “not easy” it really would be. But dreams are rarely “easy.” I guess I just wanted to explain a little bit about where this dream comes from.

I also know that to many of you who read Masala Chica, I’m just a girl who likes Les Miserables perhaps a little too passionately or an Indian-American who has a few funny/irreverent stories to tell about straddling two cultures. But those things, along with other glimpses you have had into me through my writing, probably make Simply Om not so much of a stretch, but an extension of what you know of me.

I feel like I have enjoyed sharing a lot of myself with you on this blog. In turn, your responses, letters, comments and stores have been a big inspiration for this adventure.

Given how wonderful you all are and all that, I may as well let you in on (bore you) a little bit more than I have.

A big part of Simply Om is not just about jewelry, clothes, India, yoga or fashion. It’s about creating awareness, which I want to explain. Note: If you don’t understand, just nod and say, “OM” and smile. That will make me feel better. You might even be able to relate to what I am about to describe.

I love Indian culture! My dad has a Ravi Shankar album I listen to when I get high. When I was a little kid growing up in America, there was little to no knowledge of Eastern philosophy and culture in mainstream American culture. Short of what people knew because they had an uncle who had done some backpacking in Nepal or had been to Woodstock, there was very little about Indian culture that the Americans I knew understood. And like a game of telephone, what was known could quickly be re-interpreted or changed around.

Just as an example, did you know that the swastika is originally an Indian symbol? The word, “swastika” comes from Sanskrit and literally means,  “to be good.” When you break down the word, it is formed of tiny, beautiful messages:

“SV” means “good” or “auspicious.”

“asti” means “to be.”

The swastika is used in almost every Hindu ceremony and has nothing to do with celebrating the atrocities of the Holocaust. The Nazi party literally took the symbol, reversed it, and put it back up on its flag. I remember on our wedding day, during the Hindu ceremony, John’s dad saw the swastika on the priest’s books and didn’t know what that was about. He tapped John on the shoulder in the middle of the ceremony.


“Yeah, dad?”

“Is Kiran’s family Anti-Semitic?”


“I’m just saying, Son. Not sure what you’re walking into on this one, ” and he pointed to the swastika.

My poor father-in-law, wondering if his son had married into an Indian Skinhead family.

Ah. Memories.

I sometimes wonder if Hitler knew what he was doing, taking a symbol that meant so much to so many people, most of them hovering on the “wrong” side of tan, and sullying its meaning by making it synonymous with hatred, death, genocide, intolerance and white supremacy.

Knowing what a monster Hitler was, it was probably his way of getting in an extra jab at lots of brown people around the world. He seemed big on destroying the spirit of many, many beautiful things and people.

I look at that lesson, however and think about how easily things of beauty and light can be changed into something completely misunderstood if people aren’t taught about it.

People say “namaste” a lot but don’t know what it means. I kind of want to help change that. Growing up, I would often say, “Namaste,” to relatives without really thinking about what I was saying. It’s similar to how I ask and and answer the question, “How are you?” Rarely taking the time to thoughtfully answer or give the party on the other side of my question a chance to really, really answer. I think I use the word, “Namaste” almost carelessly.

After all, it’s just a word.

And it is.

But it isn’t.

It’s so much more.

As I got have gotten older and started to learn more about its meaning and the different interpretations of it, I have found it to be such an unappreciated word.

“The divine in me sees the divine in you.”

“In you I see the divine.”

“The spirit in me recognizes the spirit in you.”

At the end of a yoga class I will be the first to say, “Namaste” to my instructor. I try to think about the divine spark in me or her, in you and the man in the corner who takes this yoga class as he is handling a life that makes him feel anything but divine these days.

But I am usually thinking about if I have time to grab a latte. What will be for dinner. I am still slightly annoyed at the lady who almost ran me off the road just before the class.

I am not saying that those things aren’t important (ok. maybe I am, me with my huge first world problems).

I just think that believing in that spark can be really grounding and inspiring. There is something beyond the blood, the cells, the organs and the matter within all of us. It’s a soul, it’s an energy, it’s a spirit that needs nourishment.

Namaste. Say it.

It’s big, guys.

People are still scared of what they don’t know.

And it makes them say really weird things.

In San Diego and some other school districts in the country, there is a huge controversy about children doing yoga in the schools. The programs have been instituted to help children relax, learn how to breathe and learn how to stretch. However, the storm that has resulted from this is somewhat shocking to me. Many people look at the program to encourage yoga for children as an attempt to brainwash or indoctrinate Eastern religion.

I am scratching my head a little bit.

They’re teaching children how to meditate and how to look within for peace and for comfort,” one of the parents against this told The New York Times. “They’re using this as a tool for many things beyond just stretching.

I was so taken aback by this statement that I said something about it on Twitter and Facebook. Those responses surprised me too.

I don’t do that stuff. I find my peace through God, not within myself. Kids should find peace in the Church, not in their minds. Oh, and I do Pilates to stretch instead.

Um. Okay.

We live in a world where we are looking at more guns as the solution to many of our problems. We have a mental health crisis in this country and children dealing with unprecedented anxiety levels further heightened by our kids being constantly connected through social media.  Suicide is one of the top 4 causes of death for American youth aged 5 – 14. It’s in the top three for youth aged 15 – 24. Bullying, cutting, eating disorders, drug and substance abuse are things most American children are very aware of, if not personally touched by, by their early teens.

Is helping our kids find internal peace really so scary?

Is learning to breathe and maybe love and accept yourself (a little more than you already might) a bad thing?

If you think those things are “taboo,” or “against God” in some way, can you please explain why?

I used to think this was a rhetorical question, but now I am realizing that it’s not at all.


Yes, Simply Om will start out as a jewelry company. A jewelry company inspired by yoga and tenets of ancient Sanskrit texts that need to have a place in this very chaotic world that has forgotten how to breathe sometimes. Yes, I also know that this is a bit of a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

What can I say? “Hello, pot. Would you like some Fair & Lovely?

I will learn how to breathe again. But every step I take to get this company off the ground gets me closer to a steady state of breathing.

I can really breathe now.

Follow up posts I hope to share with you this week….

1) Why you don’t have to look good doing The Downward Dog to be divine.

2) A behind the scenes look at the first Simply Om photo shoot which involved freezing our butts off, tripping over lots of deer poop and having a not very om’ed out lady in a golf cart yelling at us.

Yeah, that was simply crazy, but fun. Complicatedly fun, even.

3) The ultimate vision for how Simply Om will work with and empower women in India.

Maybe? Maybe even around the world.

Dream big or stay home and reheat a frozen samosa. That’s kind of my philosophy on this, anyway.

Thank you, friends. Thanks for the letters, the support, the well wishes, the many questions and the constant encouragement that I can do this thing.

Can’t wait for you to be a part of it too.



22 Comments on Simply Slammed

  1. Lisa
    March 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm (2 years ago)

    Love me some “namaste.” At the END of yoga class, I usually can’t help but have a huge smile on my face when I say it because I am in that space to feel it and can see that spirit and feel it collectively around me. May the divine light in me honor the divine light in you. It IS big. Make sure you lean in and ride the wave and breathe during your launch…Congratulations…I am happy for you :)
    Lisa recently posted…Zen and The Mama BearMy Profile

    • masalachica
      March 3, 2013 at 6:29 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you, Lisa. Leaning in and feeling the wind in my hair. It’s a good feeling. Thank you, love. :-).

  2. Elaine
    March 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm (2 years ago)

    I am absolutely excited for you and I can tell your vision for Simply Om is so much more that pretty jewelry…
    Namaste, babe!

    • masalachica
      March 3, 2013 at 6:31 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you, dear friend!

  3. Anna See
    March 3, 2013 at 5:13 pm (2 years ago)

    Dream Big, Kiran! So excited for you, for us! Namaste.
    Anna See recently posted…Proud LettersMy Profile

    • masalachica
      March 3, 2013 at 6:31 pm (2 years ago)

      I will, Anna. But if you ever want to come over and eat some samosas with me, I totally think we should at this point. ((HUGS)).

  4. Nelson
    March 3, 2013 at 5:18 pm (2 years ago)

    Kiran, what you are doing is fantastic. If I was closer, you’d get one of my very famous all encompassing hugs. You have your head screwed on straight and you are realizing a dream rather than chasing or following one.

    I have trouble with people such as one of your responds regarding finding peace through God rather than looking for inner peace or their inner spirit.. Did they ever think that maybe that inner spirit is the Creator speaking to them. If they believe the bible and that they are created in his image, then by default doesn’t that mean that part of him is always with them as his/their spirit. (As an aside, I have trouble with the concept of the Creator/God being male. This entity can be whatever we want it to be. Blasphemy I know.)

    I know you don’t know me beyond the “blogosphere” but for what it’s worth, I’m proud of you and what you are accomplishing.


    Nelson recently posted…The Power of Human TouchMy Profile

    • masalachica
      March 3, 2013 at 6:44 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks for the virtual hug, Nelson. I can tell it’s a good bear hug too! I think you are spot on. I don’t understand why believing in yourself and wanting find peace within you can’t forge an even more meaningful relationship with God, if someone is religious.

      Thank you, friend!

  5. Manisha
    March 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm (2 years ago)

    You have an amazing amount of energy! I can’t wait to see the jewelry and I really like the name of your business. Years ago I would encounter the occasional person who understood yoga to be some ancient religious act. Weird, of course. These days I hope there are less of them as yoga seems to be everywhere.
    Manisha recently posted…60 – hello MarchMy Profile

    • masalachica
      March 3, 2013 at 6:46 pm (2 years ago)


      Honestly, I’m on fire and i just need to keep it alive now. I thought the same thing about yoga but you should read up about some of the backlash against the yoga in schools. Some of the things being said against it make it feel like many people do still believe it is some weird, religious act. Crazy!

  6. Alison
    March 3, 2013 at 8:25 pm (2 years ago)

    A couple of years ago, some members of the Malaysian government deemed yoga as teachings of the devil, and that it was not halal for Muslims to do yoga. They wanted to ban yoga in Malaysia. As a Muslim convert, I was aghast at their ignorance. As an enthusiastic yoga practitioner, I was worried they’d really go through with it.

    I’ll wait while you pick your jaw up off the floor.

    Fortunately, that did not happen, but many here still think yoga is “not Muslim”. Come on. It’s not a religious practice. It’s mental, emotional, physical, and yes, spiritual. But not a religious statement. Or non-statement.

    I’m so happy for you that you’re pursuing your dreams and vision. You will totally rock this.
    Alison recently posted…Yes, I’m Mom Blogging And Proud Of ItMy Profile

  7. MomWithaDot
    March 4, 2013 at 9:46 am (2 years ago)

    Sending you ton loadsa good wishes for the success of SimplyOM !! The West’s often skewed interpretations of Hindu symbols and practices is a pain point to many an educated Hindu immigrant. Reading this felt like I was reading my own thoughts, ‘cept they were coming out more eloquently. Be it the protest against Yoga in that Californian school district or eliminating singing Raghupati Raghav in a Massachusetts school district, they are nothing but Xenophobic attempts to keep schools as ‘Xian’ as possible. The day there are no not-so-subtle Christmas decorations, carol singing, Gift Shops and Santa references in school, is when I’ll believe that public schools are truly removed from religion. Until then, people like You & I need a LOT of Good Luck! Hang in there – You are doing a wonderful job! <3 <3
    MomWithaDot recently posted…Bloggers QuizMy Profile

  8. Lady Jennie
    March 4, 2013 at 1:43 pm (2 years ago)

    I have so much to say about your post! First of all, I really thought the reverse swastika was Buddhist and not Hindu. I saw it everywhere when I lived in Asia. Also, I didn’t know at first glance how influenced you were by your Indian roots. Of course it’s impossible not to be, and your blog IS called masala chica, but I kind of took you for an almost all-american gal. Not that it matters in the least.

    I grew up with a huge Indian influence. We had a student stay with us for a summer and she taught us so much about cooking. In fact, we ate Indian more often than typical American. After my first date with my husband, i made him a batch of samosas. And I worked for an Indian company for a couple of years before I went on maternity leave and left office life permanently. It was crazy but we spent a lot of time laughing and teasing as we were doing the needful. ;-) (Oh, and I went to India on business for a different job years earlier).

    Finally, I’m a Christian (even devout) and I do yoga. That’s all. I’m happy to be your friend.
    Lady Jennie recently posted…Life in the Trenches – Chapter 9My Profile

    • Kiran
      March 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm (2 years ago)

      I need to reply to your response and the rest here with something longer but am on a flight to Disney and don’t know when that moment will be. Just had to say that my husband and I have been hysterical laughing about doing the needful. If only more people did the needful this world would be a much better place! Xo

  9. Mary
    March 4, 2013 at 8:46 pm (2 years ago)

    Namaste, darlin’! It would be impossible not to find/notice/appreciate the divine spirit in you. You are inspiration. Congratulations on your new venture. I look forward to following every step!
    Mary recently posted…Rote RouteMy Profile

  10. Alma
    March 4, 2013 at 11:51 pm (2 years ago)

    Congrats on your new adventure! I am so interested in your creations and the lessons in them. I cant wait to see them. As you know I just opened my own shop and am a huge supporter of small businesses and handmade.
    Congrats again Kiran!
    You have a true divine sprit my friend :)
    Alma recently posted…New items and a Knitting Book GiveawayMy Profile

  11. ilene
    March 5, 2013 at 6:05 am (2 years ago)

    I love this post so much that I could write a blog post about it. Seriously. First of all, I cherish the meaning of namaste. It is such a lovely greeting. Second, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to “dumb down” yoga classes that I’ve taught at certain venues, ie, schools – because people get confused with the traditions of yoga with being something religious. Am I going to far to say that these are precisely the people who could “use” some yoga – to expand their minds a little? I don’t know if I’d say that on MY blog – but I’ll say it here. xo
    ilene recently posted…The Fierce Diva Guide to RomanceMy Profile

  12. Angela
    March 6, 2013 at 4:52 pm (2 years ago)

    Kiran, I am so happy I found your blog, this post is so amazing and full of so much insight into life and how we view it and the change we can make by our own outlook and the contributions we can make, for instance with simply one word “namaste”. You have given me so much to think about, did not know the history about the swastika, so frightening when people twist good things into negative objects or ideas.

    It is truly sad and scary when ignorance causes people to see introspection or seeking inner peace as a subversive plot to brainwash, so frustrating and maddening…makes me want to scream and tear my hair out. I need to go and do some yoga, hate thinking about stupid people…waste of time.

    Please keep on with the steady breathing..I really look forward to Simply Om. I just want to let you know you are making a difference and you are truly inspiring, your words exude peaceful and harmonious energy. Thank you. Namaste.

  13. ani
    March 8, 2013 at 10:09 am (2 years ago)

    Namaste, Kiran. :-)

    Great post. again, you are me, i am you.

  14. Renée Schuls-Jacobson
    March 10, 2013 at 8:56 am (2 years ago)

    Sweetie! SO proud of you! For all of it. I know you are working on this, so I figured that is why you have been quiet. I learned about the swastika thing when I was in a Holocaust class in college: I’m pretty sure that Hitler took that symbol for EXACTLY the reasons you say. He really got us all, didn’t he, the bastard. I love to learn about different cultures and I think that Indian culture is so very beautiful. There is so much I don’t know, but that doesn’t scare me. It makes me want to know more. I think maybe I am in the minority for that. I don’t want you to be “the almost all-American gal” (whatever the hell that is), I want you to be you. Crikes.

    Can’t wait to look into your eyes and tell you how inspiring you are. Under two weeks, baby.
    Renée Schuls-Jacobson recently posted…Tingo Tuesday: Do You Tuck In? Or Are You A Cotisuelto?My Profile

  15. Snehal Naik
    March 14, 2013 at 1:58 am (2 years ago)

    You are awesome Kiran! Every time I wanna walk away from life and scream at people who don’t appreciate me the way I am, I read your posts and take a deep breath….You help me bounce back and talk it out with those people and tell them to back off!

    You are a rockstar!

  16. David Ryan
    November 15, 2013 at 3:22 am (2 years ago)

    Your jewelry collection looks divine…
    David Ryan recently posted…SportMy Profile


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