South Asians in the Content Creator Space ft. Jani of What’s on Your Mind Podcast

If you have been following me for a while, then you know that we have a small Desi Content Creators group in Memphis, TN.  Within that group, there are a couple of food bloggers, some travel bloggers, some fashion bloggers, etc.  We also have a fellow South Asian podcaster in our Desi Content Creators of Memphis, TN group!  The lovely podcasters’ name is Jani Rad and she runs the podcast, What’s on your Mind?  A few months ago, Jani and I got talking and wanted to record a podcast episode that you interest both our audiences.  Before I go into details about our podcast episode, I wanted to write a summary of Jani and her accomplishments. On a side note, click here for the Spotify link and click here for the Apple Podcast link.

Niranjani Radhakrishnan (or “Jani Rad”) is a Director of Analytics in hospital executive operations by day and an entrepreneur by night!  She is originally from Knoxville, TN but has called many places ‘home’ over the years, including Chapel Hill, NC, and Washington DC.  She currently lives, works, and plays in Memphis, TN.  She has a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) and a Master’s in City and Regional Planning (MCRP) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jani’s professional and academic background revolves around addressing health and social inequities through GIS mapping, data visualization, theatre arts, and storytelling.  Jani is passionate about social justice and advocacy.

Jani’s Podcast, ‘What’s On Your Mind?‘, is focused on her interviewing guests about their weekly musings and Wikipedia rabbit holes.  Topics such as toxic beauty standards, the impact of redlining or bees, etc.  Through this podcast, she hopes to elevate the voices of those who do amazing work in their communities and showcase a side of them that might be unknown to others.

Enough rambling about the amazing Jani and her accomplishments, let’s go on to read a summary of our podcast episode below!  Don’t forget to check out the podcast episode, available on most streaming services.

So, What’s on Your Mind?

Komal:  Right now, since we’re recording this around Thanksgiving time, I have Thanksgiving on my mind.  I am going to be cooking a meal for the first time, for our big family Thanksgiving.  I’m a bit nervous about that but that’s what’s on my mind lately.  What about you?

Jani:  Somewhat similar, so last year was my first time hosting Thanksgiving for my whole family.  I have a sister who’s 8 years older than me and usually, she hosts it,  But last year, I said I’m a big girl and I want to host.  However, this year I did a 180 and said, I don’t want to host anything.  I just want to go to mom & dad’s house and just be fed.

Komal: Yeah I’ve been there.  We hosted our first Thanksgiving during Covid with immediate family, just my husband, his parents & sister.  But this is the first year I’m making something for a family dinner of about 50 people so I’m kind of nervous.

Jani:  Do you know what the menu is?

Komal:  Yes!  Funny enough, I’ll be making something from another desi blogger’s recipes, The Chutney Life.  I’ll be making her Spicy Mac & Cheese.  It’s been a huge hit whenever I’ve made it for Friendsgiving.  So, hoping it goes well for the Family Thanksgiving.

Jani:  So funny you say that.  We follow another desi food blogger- a Ministry of Curry.  She has a Desi Thanksgiving menu and we’re going to do her exact thing this time.  We sent our mom the ingredient list and going to split up the dishes.

Intro to Komal

Jani:  So, I guess we talked about it a bit.  But you are an Indian blogger.

Komal:  Yes!!

Jani:  And that’s actually how we kind of met.

Komal:  Yes, exactly!

Jani:  And you live here in Memphis, we’re sitting here in Loflin Yard.  And this is a 901 on the Mind episode.  So, you’ve been here in Memphis for a while; and one thing I really like about you and we can talk about this is your ability to form connections and bring a community together. 

Komal:  Thank you, that’s so sweet!

South Asian Creators in Memphis, TN

Jani:  I’ve lived here for a couple of years and had no idea that there were so many Desi/Indian bloggers and creators in the community.

Komal:  That’s true too!  I think a lot of it started during Covid.  I think everyone was just bored and at home, and there were just trying to create content to be happy.  And that’s a lot of what I’ve seen. You know when I started a few years ago, there was only me and this other one in town, and then she moved away to Arizona.  Then it was just me for a little bit.  And then I started to see a few of us pop up and I was like, let’s get us all together!  Our Desi bloggers group, now we have this community- as Jani touched upon.  Some of us are fashion bloggers, and mommy bloggers, there are a couple of food bloggers, and Jani is our only lovely Podcaster.  It’s good though, we have a plethora of different creatives.  We have some make-up enthusiasts as well, a YouTuber, etc.  It’s nice to have us all together.  We try to do a monthly meet-up to just catch up, meet, associate, and get to know each other.  We just had a Friendsgiving this past weekend with the girls, and it was fun.

Jani:  I know, I’m so sad I had to miss sit.

Komal:  I know, it’s okay.  It’s a big group so hard to get everyone’s schedules to match up.  However, it’s nice that whoever can come, comes through and we catch up.

Jani:  I’m so amazed at how many of us there are!

Komal:  Yes!  I think there are about 15-ish of us.

Jani:  Yes, and like you said, everyone’s blog is just about anything that inspires us a creative outlet.  Most of us have full-time jobs and this is on the side.

Our Desi Content Creators Group
From Left to Right:
Komal of Komal Means Delicate, Geet of Curated_ForRainyDays, Jani of What’s on Your Mind Podcast, Shruti of ShrutiVenkatesh25, Bidisha of Mermaid Bidisha, Richa of RakishRicha, Saanvi of The Basic Brownie, Ruchika of The Style Palette Fashions, Asma of Spice Moghul, Abhirami of The RVK Lifestyle & Ruchita of Ruchita Saluja

What inspired your blog?

Jani:  So, what inspired your blog?

Komal:  For me, it was something in the lines of me always wanted to do a blog.  Then when I moved to Memphis, I thought, okay I think it’s time.  I was just bored, and I knew that if I didn’t start it, then it won’t happen.  I know most people will prep for months, but I knew if I did that, it wouldn’t happen.  For me, it was more like I just had to go right into it.  It’s become a lot bigger than I thought it would be, and it’s a lot more work than I thought it would be.  I thought it was just a website and you just post an essay here and there but it’s a lot more work than that.  It’s been fun and interesting, I got to meet people like you.  I’m creating content on other avenues such as this audio outlet that I never thought I would do.  So, it’s been fun and I’m just learning and having a creative side.  Believe it or not, I’m not much of a creative person, so this is forcing me to and allowing me to tap into a type of creative outlet for myself.

Jani:  Even before you started blogging, have you ever considered yourself a writer?

Komal:  No, I’m more of a picture person.  I’m not the greatest, my husband does my blog pictures.  But whenever I & my friends would be out, I would be the designated picture person of the group.  And that’s how it was, I wanted to share my journey in pictures.  So, moving to Memphis, I wanted to share that as well.  I have a couple of local Memphis blog posts.  I’m originally from New York so I wanted to share that- like here’s a New Yorker in a Southern town.  Originally it was just my blog, and I was posting movie reviews.

Jani:  Oh wow, that’s awesome.

Komal: Yeah, that’s how it started.  Then I was on my personal Instagram, randomly searching “Memphis Blogger” and noticed that people were on Instagram for this.  So then, I was like, let me make an Instagram for my blog.  That forced me to post blog posts and meet people and see what the local community was posting about as well.  Right when I started, there were lots of events with local influencers as well. Then Covid happened and that shut everything down.  And it’s kind of picking up again.  That’s how I got to meet a lot of the local blogging community.  Before our Desi bloggers group, it was just me and this other girl.  I’m still in touch with her, which is nice.  We also have a small yet tight-knit creative community in Memphis.  Most people support each other.

Jani presenting at a New Memphis event

Being an Indian Content Creator

Jani:  I know we touched on this bit but you’re a blogger but you’re also an Indian Woman blogger and I’m an Indian Woman creative, and I think we just that intersection there is so much niche and interesting content we can come up with because we have such a unique experience compared to other creatives out there.  So, how does that come up or show up in your work?

Komal:  So, I have not been able to do much of it.  But I do hope to in 2023 and hoping that’s my year.  I know Indo-Western has become such a huge trend.  Taking some of your Indian outfits and blending them into American Wardrobe has really blown up.  So, I do want to incorporate that, and I have been seeing a lot of that as well.  Some of my Indian content from the past, before we had our Indian/Desi Memphis creators’ group- the other local Memphis bloggers were interested in learning about the Indian holidays.  So, I have Diwali and Holi posts on my blog; I do a post about each of those holidays every year.  I didn’t realize also that there is a huge Indian American blogging community across America.  So, you see all the trends with the outfits and the transitions.  Especially with Instagram, the fashion bloggers, there are so many transition reels.  And that’s helpful.  And you also get to support a lot of Desi businesses.  I’ve been able to work with an author that did a children’s book, she wrote about her experience as an Indian American/Indo-American growing up so that was really cool.  Another creative who makes home décor stuff.

Jani:  Oh wow, that’s really cool.

Komal: Yeah, and it works for people like me and you, who grew up in the states, and you’re looking to represent your religion in a cool way- not just have a Murthi.  So, I got to bring her to my blog.  So, I try to bring other creators in other types of outlets to my blog.  That’s one reason I wanted to work with you because I thought, here’s a podcaster- especially since you do a lot of Memphis things, it puts Memphis on the map.

Jani:  Aww, thanks!

Komal:  And that’s one of my things is to try to bring other types of creatives to my blog.  And that’s a reason why I wanted to bring the local Memphis Desi’s together was trying to bring that to my blog.  Trying to bring other people together such as an author, a DIYer, etc.  it’s a big community and I try to bring that over to my blog and work with those people. 

Working with Bijal Shah who wrote For the Love of Laxmi

Discussing Indian Outfits

Jani:  I like that, and I like that you said 2023 is your year!

Komal:  Yes, I hope so and I hope to incorporate more of that Indo-Western!  It’s harder with Indian outfits as you know, it’s a lot of effort to put that together. 

Jani:  I know!  I feel so bad because we have a guest room, and that closet is basically all my Indian clothes.

Komal:  Oh, yes, me too!

Jani:  And I don’t know how and when to wear them.  It’s like we have Diwali, we have a couple of other things, but I don’t have 20 weddings to go to.

Komal:  Exactly!  And it’s like, even if I did like I had a couple of weddings in 2020 and 2021.  But there were all Covid weddings, and they were limited, and we couldn’t even go.  And I understand because of the limits.  But anyway, I think that’s how Indo-Western fashion is coming from.  A lot of people have been using Sari blouses as crop tops.  And it looks stunning with a pair of jeans and a blazer.

Jani:  I’ve even seen, this is one thing I have wanted to do- take some of the sari’s that I have and update the cut.

Komal:  Yes, I’ve seen that too.

Jani:  Something like using that same fabric and stitching that into an outfit.

Komal:  I’ve seen that!

Jani:  I’ve told my mom that I would probably wear that more.  Firstly, I don’t even know how to tie a sari.  I’ve even watched a YouTube video for 40 minutes and still looks bad.

Komal:  I’m Punjabi and we don’t even do saris!  I get pre-stitched on purpose.  But yes, I get it!  I’ve seen people take sari’s and make them into jumpsuits.  And it’s super cute, and you can also wear it to your non-Indian events.  Cause it looks like a nice fabric and it looks stunning.  And that’s why I want to do something Indo-Western.  Because there is so many times, I can here be like, here is your Thanksgiving outfit for the year but kind of doing an Indo-Western approach can be fun.  I may have something coming up soon about that.

Jani:  That’s very cool.  I’ll have to check it out; I’m inspired.

Content Creation for Readers vs Yourself

Jani:  So, in terms of- well, podcasting content is so different than blogger content- when you are thinking about content, how do you navigate that line of what you think your readers want to engage with and read versus what you want to write about?  How do you navigate that?

Komal:   It’s a hard balance- it really is.  Because sometimes when I write what I want to write, it doesn’t perform well which is unfortunate.  But I try to post about what I want to post about once every two months and then mostly what my readers want to read.  Because they’re the ones who come back to the blog to read about what they like.  So, putting content out for them is pretty much what I’m doing.  So, every now and then, I’ll sprinkle in what I like.  It won’t perform as well but at least I’ll get my fun in, and I get to do what I want to do.  And hope that it performs well.  It’s one of those things that you try to find a balance in I do try.  There was this one blog post a friend wanted me to write- I give blogging tips on the blog as well.  That was something I wasn’t interested in doing and it performed so well.

Jani:  Yah, people love a ‘how to’.

Komal:  Yes, people love a ‘how to’!  And now I try to incorporate it into something I research for myself.  Such as the other day, I googled, how to make reels perform better on Instagram.  So, then I thought, maybe I’ll do a post about this.  Since people want to see a ‘how to’, then it can be something that I researched myself.  That’s one way I try to combine the two, to make it worth it for both my audience and me.  Because it must be something I’m interested in or else it will show.  Or as you’re reading it, you must make sure it’s something you’re passionate about. 

Jani:  Yeah, or else otherwise people can tell it’s a bit dry.

Komal: Yeah, and you don’t want it to sound dry. That’s kind of like my way.

My first Indo-Western fashion post

Ideal Blog Content

Jani:  So, in an ideal world- actually not in an ideal world because we’ve already established that 2023 is going to be Komal’s year.  So, if you could design your dream ideal content for your blog, regardless of what you think the people wanted, what would be the thing that would be I want to write about this?

Komal:  I think one thing I want to do is the Indo-Western fashion, which is popular, is to write about that.  Such as taking one of the pants from my Indian outfits and incorporating that as a pair of pants for going out.  That is what I want to do.  It has been popular but it’s also something I want to do.  Maybe 2023, my goal was 2022 that hasn’t happened so hoping for 2023.

**Riley barks**

Komal:  Sorry, I have a little dog

Jani:  Everyone meet Riley.

Komal:  And here’s Riley, very obvious.  That’s what I want to do.  And maybe some make-up stuff.  But the makeup stuff is kind of hard for me because it’s a lot of close-ups.  I get self-conscious with my face being so close-up, but I do enjoy make-up content a lot.  It’s fun for me.

Jani:  I like reading and watching about it.  But to do it, I barely like to put effort into doing anything.  I appreciate the art that goes into.

Komal:  Yes, and we have a couple of make-up artists in our Memphis Indian creators’ group.

Jani:  We do, and I’m amazed their content.

Komal:  We do!  And one of them said that she just put eyeshadow on her fingers and blends it on her eyes.  And I was like, ‘What?  I would look like a raccoon!’  Some people are just so talented.  But that’s something I would like to do.  But again, I would be so self-conscious with my face being so up close in a picture.  That’s why I haven’t done it yet.  So, we’ll see, I don’t know yet.

Travel Content

Jani:  And I also know that you love traveling.  You did a piece like when you went to Disney.  Do you foresee any travel-related content coming out?

Komal:  Yes, travel is something I really enjoy too.  Again, I wish I traveled more.  You only get two weeks of PTO out of the year, so you must make the most out of it.  At the moment, the way I do my travel content is that whatever pictures I’m taking with my husband or my family, those are the ones I end up posting.  Instead of trying to do separate content because I’m just there to hang out and want it to be fun.  So that’s how I try to incorporate that right now.  In the future, I would love to be hosted by a hotel somewhere and post about that city.

Jani:  Girl you and me both!  Let’s see that!

Komal:  I know right?  Like hello!

Jani:  Like that’s the dream.

Komal:  That is the dream!  And I see some people doing it.  I’m like, I’m doing the same thing you’re doing what’s going on?  Why don’t they like me?  That’s one thing I want to do- tap into the travel world; so, we’ll see.  That’s one thing I’m trying to do with Memphis locally is try to post more about it.  It’s a growing city and there’s lots to post about.

Jani:  Central Station, if you’re listening and you want to comp me & Komal a stay; we would love to do a Podcast episode and blog post about it.

Komal:  I know!  There’s that new Hyatt hotel open downtown.

Jani:  Oh yes and Arrive Hotel.  We’re looking at you; Hu hotel.

Komal:  Guys, we’re available!  We have a South Asian community to tap into.  We like to spend money sometimes.

Jani:  We surely do.

My hubbie & I at Disney World in July 2022.

Memphis Content

Komal:  So yes, that would be fun.  I have done bits and pieces of Memphis local; not worked with anyone.  Just presenting it and putting it on the map.  It’s a fun city in terms of the culture we have here.  We got the music and the new city vibes that are happening recently.  It’s been a nice effort to see it grow.  I’m sure you have too seen it grow over the years.  I’m just trying to make Memphis look cooler than people assume it is.

Jani:  Yes, I love to bring people here and give them tours.  I think that’s one of the reason I do this type of content is that if they can’t get to Memphis hopefully, I can give you a little auditory piece of it.

Komal:  Yes!  Like we’re sitting here in Loflin.  You can bring your dog; you can bring your kid; you don’t get this type of stuff in other cities.  Like in New York, you don’t have a Loflin type of space there.

Jani:  Yes, like a train yard.

Komal:  Yes a train yard!  It’s a pretty cool thing to have in a city.  It is growing; I heard it’s the next Nashville so we’ll see.

Jani:  I know!  I’m excited.

Komal:  As the housing market shows.  Our houses have not been the same which is very sad.

Closing Remarks

Jani:  Well, I can’t believe we’re at time.  If there’s anything else, you would like to share like where people can find you or what inspires you.

Komal:  I am Komal at my Instagram is KomalMeansDelicate

**Riley barks**

Komal:  Sorry my dog is promoting me as well.  You occasionally do see my dog in my pictures.  So, he’s there.  And that’s me, I’m also on Pinterest and TikTok but don’t post as often.  So, if you want to find me there you can, it’s KomalMeansDelicate pretty much across all platforms, except Twitter.

Jani:  Awesome!

Komal:  And if you guys have any recommendations on what you want to see, I am open to it.  So, you can send me a DM or anything, I’m willing to post and always looking for ideas.  I have a to do list of ideas, which is good when you don’t have anything to write about when you sometimes have a block.

Jani:  And I’ll likely mention that you’re one of the most collaborative, supportive bloggers that I’ve met.  And you have said that there are so many people out there and what I love about you is that you don’t come at it from a competitive standpoint.  You really love to work with people and support other women and creatives.

Komal:  It’s my goal.  I mean we shouldn’t compete. We should all help each other and uplift each other.  It’s just, like the competition will still be there with a few people but I feel like why make it a competition when we can help each other out?

Jani: I love it!  Well, you’re a lovely human, and thank you for the podcast and thank you for being here.

Komal:  Aww of course!  Thanks for meeting Riley and thank you for having me.  I’m so excited, yay!

Enjoying the lovely Memphian Hotel.

Overall, I had a great time recording my second-ever Podcast episode with another fellow South Asian Creator.  I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed recording it.  Don’t forget to check out the episode, on all streaming services.

What did you think of the podcast episode and our topics of discussion?  Let me know in the comments below!

Much Love,

12 thoughts on “South Asians in the Content Creator Space ft. Jani of What’s on Your Mind Podcast

  1. This was such a wonderful conversation! It warms my heart to see any amount of South Asian women come together!

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