RIP Raji Shanker…Peppermill’s Miri

There are times when you come across something that just knocks the wind out of you.

I was scrolling down facebook a few minutes back when I saw this update from Shubho Sengupta

“Deeply saddened to hear the writer of this food blog passed away in the early hours today, after a long illness. She was full of light. “

And then the link to the blog Peppermill by Miri.

I was completely shattered to read this and immediately called Shubho, who turned out to be a family friend of hers. He confirmed that Miri passed away early this morning. Her service is this evening at Delhi from what I gathered.

Raji Shanker, who wrote as Miri, was one of the earliest bloggers to interact with me when I started blogging. She would always leave comments which were very warm, helpful and encouraging. I began reading her blog and got to know about her love for food, her knowledge about it…got to know about her family, her little daughter, her roots in Maharashtra…and became blog friends even though we had never met.

The first time we interacted was when I had closed Finely Chopped for a short while. She wrote in to me on facebook:

“Miri from peppermill here – what’s happened to your blog and why does it say its private? Please, pretty please, invite me! :) Thanks! “

If I restarted the blog then it was because of the warmth of folks like Raji…

Raji next got in touch when I first went to Australia. She had just been to Oz with her husband and daughter. She read about my travel plans and wrote in with a number of meticulous and customised tips on things to do at Melbourne & Sydney.

This is when I realised through a post on her blog that she was unwell. On asking, Miri told me that she had been hospitalised for a liver ailment and was recuperating at home….and that it was a struggle getting back to normal. Then she changed topics and spoke to me about her friend who happened to have met me and how happy she was to hear that. Raji  apparently was not one to dwell on her own pain.

This was in June last year.

We exchanged a few mails on her health and then as it happens one got back to one’s own life and we didn’t really talk further on her ailment.

Raji, or Miri as I knew her, continued to leave comments on my blog. Always encouraging. Always making you feel good about yourself.

A post didn’t seem complete till I read Miri’s comment on it.

At no point while reading her posts or while reading her comments on the blog did one get an inkling of her struggle.

I didn’t know Raji out of the virtual world but from whatever I know, Shubho’s description of ‘full of light’ seems so apt.

Here’s hoping that Raji’s soul rests in peace and that her family gets the strength to cope with their loss.

‘Miri’ will be sorely missed on Finely Chopped.