Raji Shanker, blogs at Peppermill Recipes. I call her Miri.Even after I knew her real name, I called her Miri. Today she is no more with us. I cannot believe it.All I have done today is thought about her. And then I decided I needed a closure. For Peace. Rest in peace, my dear friend. This post is for you and the Goshtu recipe that you mailed me will be for dinner tomorrow.
This was from a feature in Femina done on her in 2008. I think she had moved back to her financial career by now but as we all know she loved writing and excelled at it.
I had connected with Miri through the world of food alone which then transcended to motherhood, career, work-life balance and even dance classes for the kids. Her Blog tag line said "Mothers, Food, Love and Career" -- four guilt groups.So true.
I never met her in real life and yet I knew she was a vivacious, upbeat person always positive and full of life. Hers was one of the few blogs where I could leave a comment that went way beyond food and always looked out for her view on my posts. She rarely ever talked about her health on her blog and it was always a comforting place warmed by the colorful food.Even when she talked about her surgery (in her e-mail) she pointed out how the time off from work gave her more time to spend with her little girl and how her friends pitched in to make the summer special. I never once thought that her health issues would take her away.
She touched my life in many ways and maybe I never acknowledged the way her e-mails actually cleared my thoughts.Today I owe it to you Miri.
The e-mails with her discussing balancing blogging with real life had made me go back to my blog with more confidence beginning of last year. She had said in that long mail of hers "Blogging is something which stimulates me and keeps me happy. And when I'm happy then family is happy too I guess.". That she loved cooking and sharing it with people was clear from her blog. That she took the time to inspire the same joy in others is special.
On a mail in which I was hyperventilating about summer vacations and the kids she had said "our children are fine and actually manage to keep themselves entertained while enjoying themselves - so don't beat yourself up about it too much - they are doing fine! :) " You see the saneness. This could only come from a Mother who would spend time cooking and baking with her little girl, doing craft activities and reading books. It loosened me up.
On discussions about the work-life balance she had said "in this day and age I thought it was ridiculous that I had to "choose" between home and work - whatever happened to the work life balance philosophy spouted by all these MNCs? And how dare they ask me questions they wouldn't dare ask a man I used to think". I was secretly happy to know that right there was a fierce Mom who loved her profession and yet did not want any compromises on the home front.
On the Goshtu recipe that she sent, she clearly specified "You need to fry the eggplants first (after the tempering) and cover and cook to make sure they are 3/4th cooked before adding the tamarind....since the tamarind doesn't allow it to cook...". My eggplant with tamarind did have this problem always. I never did get a chance to try it out after she told me how. My Goshtu if it gets better will be only for her.
I will miss you so much Miri. You be happy and take care where you are.
Manisha has shared a beautiful picture and words about her time with Raji.
Kalyan shares his warm memories of Raji
EatWriteThink, Beautiful memories from a close friend of Miri
Arch shares her own memories of her close friend Raji