On February 14, 2012, Rajani posted these recipes to her site.
Miri of Peppermill, as Raji Shanker, passed away yesterday after a protracted illness. In addition to being an excellent food blogger, she was a kindhearted friend, and a truly wonderful person. Nina pens down her thoughts…
She said, “Oh my god, I look very much like my mother…but I like it!”
Yesterday was the 13th of February…
I was unsure of myself as I went for an early jog.
trees in blossom and awe-inspiring light – but my heart didn’t rise because my best friend, Raji, was no longer here.
As a 5-year-old, Raji’s mother died from the same disease that had claimed her mother’s life. Her battle with a disorder known as “mega duodenum” may be read here. As someone who knew Raji, its something I was aware of but didn’t take seriously since if you know Raji, you couldn’t imagine that she would succumb to a simple disease.
In other words, she make me feel like a total slut.
What a dynamo: writer, culinary blogger, financial analyst, mother, wife, friend, dancer, and all-around life manager.
Only a few brief allusions were made to her medical condition by her. She had everything under control.
Then, in January of last year, she became ill once more… To be honest, I couldn’t say I was shocked – after all, it was Raji, wasn’t it? It’s hard to believe that Raji is still alive. She came across as confident and upbeat in our conversations, and during Masterchef Australia, we sms’d us every night after laughing at news anchors’ frothing mouths. For some time after the end of Season 1, I wondered if she would still be mine 9-10 pm sweetheart or if she would break up with me. She burst out laughing! She had the largest smile and the brightest eyes. She laughed like that.
For the past year, I’d been thinking about going back to see her; we hadn’t seen each other since 2010. On the conversation with her this January when I was on a business trip to Delhi: “What do you want for dinner?” Her miso soup and khao suey were on my to-do list. Besides that, she baked a Pav Bhaji “like the one in Sagar!” “Aha! I found the answer!”
The last three months, Raji had only eaten a few heaping spoonfuls a day, just enough to sustain him.
So, to those who don’t know her, my requests may come across as callous. But she was the kind of person who was always feeding and entertaining everyone around her. Afterwards, she made a lime pickle and put the bottles out in the sun to dry. She was baking a trifle pudding the night before I left Delhi… Carrot-halwa, vanilla pudding, and caramelised almonds are layered in shot glasses. The following night, she hosted a dinner party for her British coworkers.
We talked about the future and she claimed she’d made her terms with the fact that she was going to die shortly. Due to an early morning departure, I did not say my goodbyes… and I don’t think I will ever say them again..
Trifle layers were being made by Raji and Nina at the same time, with Raji reminding me to package the pastry and feta you’d bought for me and admonishing me to write: “You’re useless!.”
Today, I understand why the trees are still in blossom, the sun is still gentle, and the earth is still stunning…
And you’re still a part of it, my life will always be wonderful.
I’m in love with you.