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.

Comments

Preeti said…
Kalyan, this is so very sad. I have goose bumps as I type this comment. From what I make from your post, a lovely soul as Raji..a mum, and a wife she must have been a brave soldier to fight her ailment. I have not shared this anyone yet, but for sometime yesterday, it struck to me that life is unpredictable and spent my whole day with my son baking. RIP Raji...though I never interacted with you, I will always remember you...I am going through your lovely space Peppermill now.
Priya Sreeram said…
Rest in peace Raji- wherever you are; Kalyan i am just numbed reading this...I don't know her personally but have gone thru her space couple of times ! May God give enough strength to her family during this tough times !
Monika said…
it seems so void without her isnt it :(

May her soul rest in peace
Arch said…
Raji's been a very dear friend for many many years...I still can't believe she is no more...She was always so positive, in spite of the illness..An amazing friend and my go-to person for so many things, she will be missed terribly...
BongMom said…
Kalyan

I cannot believe this. I knew she was sick and had a surgery but this I cannot believe. She was such a lovely, lovely person. We would often exchange e-mails on parenting and stuff. I am at a loss now.
Panfusine said…
Truly sorry to hear about Raji.. Never knew her personally or thru her blog, but its still heartbreaking when we lose a fellow blogger. My thoughts & Prayers..
Sudha said…
I am not a regular on food blogging circuit. But it def feels like there is a vaccum. We meet so many people in the blogland that we forget that we would not have actually met them. The bond we share is def something...it feels sad to read this post and i can see how attached you were to her. May her soul RIP
Sudha said…
This is so profoundly saddening to know,Kalyan.I did not know Miri,nor was I associated with her blog - but yes,I did see her name in your comments list every time I stopped by and as it often happens in blogland,I grew associated with that name.After reading your post,I went to her blog and realized that Miri will no longer write another post in that space - I wonder if she knew that post would be her last.If she did,it would have been really painful for her.I pray her little one and her family have the strength to weather this devastating storm - my thoughts go out to them.RIP dear Miri, wherever you are.
evolvingtastes said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
evolvingtastes said…
I too only knew Miri through her blog. Weeping more and more now as I read all the posts that bloggers are dedicating to her.
I didn't know her well as you but sometimes i went to her blog.
Such a sad news . May her soul rest in peace.
DEESHA said…
Thats so sad to hear. May her soul rest in peace
The knife said…
I was reading each of your comments as they floated in through the day knowing somewhere that one regular 'commenter' will be missing...yes there is a sense of 'denial' as Bong Mom wrote on her fb page...and most of us did not really know Raji so can't but shudder at the thought of what her family is going through...
Sassy Fork said…
what a lovely person!! she will be missed!!
Priyas Feast said…
May her soul rest in peace..
Anchal said…
Your blog list on the profile page is the source for all my blog reads. Miri's blog is the first one I hit whenever I've done with reading your posts, followed by a few other favourites. I don't subscribe to the feeds as I like the surprise element of opening the blogs each morning and finding some exciting food posts.

Its deeply disturbing that there will never be a new one when I open Miri's page again.

My grief is miniscule in front of what her family and friends are going through, and I cannot even start to imagine it. But her existence mattered to me each day. I am very very sad.
Anonymous said…
I have been visiting every Sunday for a long time hoping to see her new recipes. I had been going to her site wondering why no updates. This is terribly sad. Loved reading her small anecdotes before going to the recipe.

RIP.

-Kajan
Anonymous said…
OMG...this is so numbing, heart-breaking!! Peppermill was so enjoyable and full of warmth...I never really interacted with the lady but absolutely loved to read her posts. To think there was an article as recent as a few days ago...i was just waiting for the next one...

May God give strength to her family.

-TD
Jaya said…
She is one of the early birds in Indian food blogging world..and though we never interacted much personally through mails but occasionally she would drop by at my place and I would visit hers..my heart goes out to the family..may God give them strength at this such devastating time..RIP Miri..you always be remembered..
Dew said…
This is so hard...to believe. I would read through some of her comments and knew her. May her soul rest in peace.
Apu said…
Sad news. Prayers and peace to family and friends.
laix said…
Yes a beautiful woman a bright star in all that she undertook, always with zest and the love of life. She will be so terribly missed by so many fans but specially her loving family...
harman singh said…
very sorry to hear that Kalyan,,
R.I.P miri..
its very short life.. at the end ,, nothing else matters but only those whom you love n those those who are always by your side!
she will always be missed ..by all of us.
Pinku said…
RIP Miri

life indeed is so very unpredictable. guess this yet again teaches us that we shouldn't take even a moment lightly and try and make the best of the time we have here on earth.
Anonymous said…
Hi!

This is for all those who knew Raji. We have created an email id on behalf of Shiv to collect memories of Raji. We thought all her friends could contribute something for her in the form of letters, poems, photos or anything to remember her by.

Also Shiv would use this to make a memorabilia for Kavya to have once she is a little older. This would help her understand what a wonderful person Raji (her mother) was… and how she made so many friends worldwide effortlessly and cared about each one of them in a special way.

Look forward to your contributions. The gmail id is: rememberingraji@gmail.com

Much love
Reinee (friend of Raji’s)