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Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

We will miss you so much, Meghna. Your impact here is unforgettable.

Written by The Mercury Team

A founding editor has a lasting, irreversible impact on the projects they usher into the world. They define the vision, voice, and scope of a living, breathing project — one that is written in close dialogue with the ever-evolving world. There is never a moment of rest for their eyes or ears. They have to take constant, close observations of budding conversations, debates, and innovations. And from their observations decide which voices to elevate and which questions to explore. Their decisions then inform what readers not only expect from the magazine itself but also, perhaps, believe about the world. It's not a job for the weak.

Usually, the editor writes outwardly to the world — perhaps in the editor's notes which preface issues. Here, we write to you. Meghna Rao, we will certainly miss you. But your legacy will forever live on at Meridian. Here are notes from 34 Mercury employees about their favorite memories from working with you & what sort of impact you leave behind.


What is your favorite memory of working with Meghna?

Rachel: The obvious ones are launching Meridian and Meridian print, but the first project I worked with Meghna on was the Venture Debt launch -- let's not forget Meghna had a first act here doing all-things-words before Meridian was born

Georgia: Meghna always has the best takes, I love what she would add to our slack channels and team meetings.

Shreeda Segan: Too many to tell. I was always fond of our intense zoom cowork sessions where we truly jammed.

Amaara Dhanji: The time I came to New York and we ordered lunch together, brainstormed for Meridian and just talked about food we love and our upbringing.

Sean: Brainstorming Meridian launch events

Kelsey Marksteiner: Not working, but when I visited the NY office earlier this year, we took a walk together, sat in Madison Square park together, and had a lovely chat! <3 She's so nice to talk to.

Jackie: Working with Meghna to start the DiasporAsia ERG.

Immad Akhund: How happy Meghna was when she cracked high profile guests like Ben Horowitz and Carolynn Levy

Serena: Honestly anytime we get to chat and hang out is a great time.

Ryan: Breaking up with Graphite

Athena Feng: The first time I met Meghna was in Portland. She welcomed me into the capacious “Zen Room,” where she had aptly staked her claim for the day, and which we made the site of our very first Writers Room. I remember being perched on a zafu pillow, attentive to her steadfast resolve, moved by her legacy. At the time, the Pivot issue was just coming together in her mind. It was the first of many incidents where we fangirled over Rajiv Surendra and fantasized about bringing him to Mercury. I learned that she wanted to write a book about her family’s role in bringing Indian cuisine to the U.S. The first thing obviously came together beautifully, we attempted to make the second one happen, and I have no doubt the third one will be written into existence someday.

Elizabeth Barton: When Meghna and I jammed on article titles together — we had a good time :)

Alison Gonzalez: I got to meet Meghna's family at the Pivot launch event in NYC. Just seeing how proud they were of her and how proud she was of the magazine was such a highlight for me. The magazine was such a work of art. It was a reminder that 1) we should put our hearts into our work, otherwise why are we even doing it and 2) that the outcomes don't really matter, the building is far more meaningful and important.

Fiona: I didn't get to work with Meghna much, but I loved reading her pieces in Meridian!

Juliana: Making the umami card :)

Angela: I treasure every tete-a-tete I've had with Meghna — she's so thoughtful, inspiring, and kind. Playing a supporting role in her Meridian ads is a Mercury highlight for me!

Tamara: anything where we’re brainstorming together and helping editing meridian print this year — i remember seeing the magazine for the first time and just being so truly blown away by what meghna had created (obviously with a lot of help from our talented team, but with meghna leading the charge)

Jessica Garcilazo: Bringing Meridian Print to life!

Heather: From the first day I started, she was just so helpful. She proactively put time on my calendar and wanted to meet on the regular. She genuinely cared about helping me onboard smoothly and I was just surprised by how kind and thoughtful she was.

Kaitlin Banafsheha: Besides the obvious (Meridian) my favorite memories are purely just the afternoon coffee dates we would have in the NY office. The best part of the day, catching up and talking about our cultural roots and how that ties into us being a creative.

Jason Zhang: My favorite memory of working with Meghna is when we would brainstorm Meridian ideas and I would throw some really quite bad ideas out there and Meghna would very politely nod her head and say “hm, that’s interesting.”

Mariah Morton: When she moderated the discussion with Elif Batuman! She was so well spoken, passionate, and engaging. I really enjoyed seeing her relate with her and help her share her story.

David Cain: favorite funny moment: who-wore-it-better pfp with Max & Meghna. favorite awe-inspiring moment: Mercury 2021(?) presentations

Nicole Felter: Getting to meet her in office when I first moved back from Argentina for the Pop-Ups. We hit off so well and truly, I am so glad that I was able to bond with her! In our short time knowing each other and interacting, she really made me feel less lonely at Mercury.

Dani: Launching Meridian together.

Kelly aka :Andromeda:: There are far too many treasured memories to count. I think seeing Meghna shine at the Meridian NYC Pivot Party was truly a special experience - I'm SO proud of her. Started at the bottom (read: now we here <3

Aliza: I loved meeting you for the first time in the NYC office! You were so warm and welcoming.

Micaiah: Not one specific thing but working with Meghna is always great because she’s real—you can level with each other, talk as people not as corporate functionaries. I’ve always enjoyed chatting with her and exchanging thoughts

Winnie Ip: I love Meghna's passion for Meridian and everything related to writing.

Celeste: Decorating the New York office launch party the day of the Meridian launch!

Mallory: watching her amazing work come to life at the meridian party, and everyone asking to meet our incredible editor in chief ♥

What are the three words you'd use to describe Meghna's impact to others?

Georgia: Grounding, Bright, Lasting

Shreeda Segan: disruptive, unmistakable, lasting

Amaara Dhanji: Inspiring, Thoughtful, Resourceful

Nic Corpora: Craft, storytelling, perspective

Sean: Expansive, conceptual, compelling

Kelsey Marksteiner: Quality, Elevated, SICK

Jackie: Thoughtful, connective, curious

Immad Akhund: Positivity, Thoughtfulness, Creativity

Ryan: Innovative, thoughtful, unique

Athena Feng: distinction, depth, soul

Elizabeth Barton: Artistic, conscientious, daring

Alison Gonzalez: Artful, important, lasting

Fiona: Artistic, intentional, Master Sensei

Juliana: Meghna was the force behind the thoughtfulness, artfulness, and quality of Meridian stories.

Angela: Seismic. Historic. Foundational.

Sarah Vercauteren: unique, deep, calming

Tamara: legendary, inspiring, everlasting

Heather: Quality, craftsmanship, storytelling

Tony: Thoughtful, strategic, creative

Kaitlin Banafsheha: authentic, legendary, unmatched

Jason Zhang: Creativity, spice, sculpture

David Cain: Timeless, poise, insightful

Nicole Felter: Thought-provoking, defying expectations, expansive

Dani: Influential, thoughtful, exceptional.

Kelly aka :Andromeda:: Thought-provoking, differentiator, visionary

Winnie Ip: Intentional, Curious, and a true Trailblazer.

Celeste: Thoughtful, curious, driven

Mallory: bold, lasting, catalytic

What are your predictions for what Meghna will be doing in 10 years?

Rachel: new york or nowhere (but not manhattan, brooklyn or queens); still impossibly trendy and intimidatingly well-read.

Shreeda Segan: I think she will have a flat in Bangalore, will travel back and forth between the states and abroad, be a pubished novelist, finally be at true ease with the place work has in her life, and have taken on a new unexpected hobby or business enterprise — selling and making chai, becoming a geologist, or whatever it is she discovers. I think conventional "work" will be less of a prominent feature in her life and she might even be doing a broader documentary project with big media allies.

Amaara Dhanji: I think in 10 years Meghna will be a successful author that has published a number of books about her experiences as well as about topics of life that interest her. I think she'll still be in New York but go back and forth between the city and a countryside. I could totally see her starting her own publishing or writing business, or even her own bookstore that she lives on top of.

Nic Corpora: Writing award-winning essays for The New Yorker

Sean: Probably running an amazing media outlet that I wish I could be a part of.

Kelsey Marksteiner: Meghna will be an acclaimed writer; basking in the sunlight of her floor-to-ceiling windows in her NYC apartment. It's not your typical high-rise; it's got vintage charm and elegance. She'll slowly sip her morning beverage, imagining all the world she could write about...

Jackie: She'll be living in a brownstone in NYC, doing journalistic things. She'll have published amazing works of fiction that touch people and make them introspect about topics like tech & the human experience.

Immad Akhund: Writing her sixth book

Serena: Living in Queens in a cozy apartment, drinking some tea as she writes her 5th book. Splitting her time between India and NY, rackin up them miles.

Ryan: Writing a book on the origin of Delware Ccorps

Athena Feng: At worst, an author, at best, a best-selling author

Elizabeth Barton: I think Meghna will be making a living off her fiction writing!

Alison Gonzalez: My prediction: Meghna will be a best-selling NYT author living in Beacon, NY in an updated farm house with a barn used as a writers circle during the weekdays.

Fiona: I can definitely see her as a New York Times Bestseller, and I'll tell all my friends that I used to work with her for brownie points!!

Juliana: I imagine Meghna writing her next bestselling novel in the attic of her house.

Angela: Like the inside of her highly anticipated book jacket might describe, Meghna lives on fire island with her beau and beloved puppy, sipping tea and writing the next great American novel. She still has that wiser-than-her-years glint forever a-sparkle in her eye.

Sarah Vercauteren: Oooooo what a fun prompt! I think Meghna will be writing somewhere, on a coast, sipping a yummy bevvy and enjoying the sun. She'll still be incredibly wise and introspective, but with an ever-evolving perspective on the world- including it's challenges, shortcomings and bright opportunities.

Tamara: perhaps i’m being swayed by the fact that meghna spent some time in mexico during my early days at mercury, but i just remember the scenery agreeing with her so much — i could see her tucked away in a peaceful, sun-dappled garden in mexico city, writing away as she works on her second book (destined to be a new york times bestseller like her first, naturally). she will behave the same relaxed, composed demeanor she has now, but even more so because she’ll have really settled into her purpose, and will have come to embrace the unknowns that once felt intimidating.

Jessica Garcilazo: She'll be on New York Times best sellers list. She'll have a home in all five boroughs (because why not) and a couple properties around the world. She will remain humble. What will change is that she will fully see how much betting on herself pays off :)

Heather: I'm not going to respond to this because I don't want her to think she's failed if she doesn't live up to our expectations for her. Wherever she is in 10 years will be exactly where she is meant to be and I'll be rooting for her <3

Tony: NY Times Best Seller

Kaitlin Banafsheha: I think Meghna is going to be a best selling writer living in either New York City or a really cool, up and coming + trendy town in India with her partner. I don't think much will change about Meghna, but I know she's going to have reached so many of all if not most of her goals as a writer.

Jason Zhang: Meghna will be living on the banks of a river in a beautiful cottage, drinking cold chai, feeling the texture of river sand, thinking deeply about what to write next.

Mariah Morton: She will have published a few bad ass books!

Nicole Felter: Oh - I think Meghna will be a well-established author or editor somewhere. She will still be as stylish as she currently is and living her best life. She'll spend her Friday's at the speakeasys sipping on match martinis and contemplating the incredible life she's built for herself.

Dani: Meghna will be a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and the founder of a highly successful editorial agency. She will be sitting at her wooden desk in her beautiful vacation home on the oceanside. She will be writing fiction in front of a large, open window with long linen curtains that billow in the wind. Meghna will occasionally take a break from writing to take in the view of the ocean and surrounding nature, and will be recharged with inspiration to keep writing her next novel.

Kelly aka :Andromeda:: In 10 years I see Meghna splitting her time between NY and Bangalore, where she owns an incredibly sick writers loft that is the perfect mix of organized chaos and curated eclectic gems from her travels and past adventures. She will still be a lover of chai, a queen of curiosity, an independent thinker, and a fierce advocate and mentor for others - forever mischievous at heart and eternally loyal to her friends and family. She will be a published novelist or short story author, unofficial food critic, and will have cycled every square foot of the city that never sleeps and beyond. I can see her inventing the next best bagel sandwich combo from her own kitchen, and when it happens I hope she hits me up with the recipe.

Aliza: Famous published author with a bestseller!

Micaiah: Living in south Brooklyn (maybe a nice spot in Bk heights or fort Greene 👀). Embarking on a book tour for her third collection of essays, which were previewed in the New Yorker and n+1

Winnie Ip: Meghna will probably be writing novels left and right sipping on her matcha latte on an island and ordering MALA project on Goldbelly, because simply, she can.

Celeste: I bet Meghna will be on a book tour to promote the release of her FOURTH book!

What is your favorite fun fact about Meghna? (One that others may not know.)

Rachel: she adopted sushi ii! (is sushi ii still alive/is meghna keeping her?!)

Shreeda Segan: She has had intrusive thoughts about becoming a geologist.

Jackie: She went to Stuyvesant, called herself a "slacker" in high school, and thought college was a breeze compared to high school.

Ryan: Surfed a Mexico City earthquake

Athena Feng: Ok definitely not my favorite fun fact, but she was pre-med!

Elizabeth Barton: That Meghna is a life-long New Yorker.

Alison Gonzalez: She's from Queens and went to StonyBrook! My dad is also from Queens and went to StonyBrook <3

Tamara: not surprise fun fact but one of my fave things about meghna is her time working as a journalist in india, i really loved hearing more about that experience

Jessica Garcilazo: People know this but that she is a NYC's a vibe. I've really appreciated bonding over our NYC upbringings.

Kaitlin Banafsheha: Meghna loves tahini.

Jason Zhang: Kind of a bad influence on her brother

Nicole Felter: It surprised me to know that her parents are blue collar and this is precisely something we bonded over!

Dani: Her taste in music is impeccable.

Kelly aka :Andromeda:: She was truly a rebel in high school. Despite this, I have no doubt her parents are wildly proud of the incredible, driven, and thoughtful person she is today (as well as back then). Ask her about her emo phase.

Micaiah: Not a fun fact but Meghna always just got it. She’s a real one!

Winnie Ip: She LOVES this restaurant in New York called MALA Project. We went when some of the Marketing folks were in town and we did not hold back on ordering everything from the menu.

If Meghna were a kitchen appliance, which one would she be?

Shreeda Segan: An heirloom family recipe card box & holder.

Amaara Dhanji: An immersion blender, she's multi-talented, can put multiple words together into a beautiful sentence, and integral to small teams (kitchens).

Nic Corpora: She's the chef, not the appliance.

Kelsey Marksteiner: A classic, well-made, beautiful wooden cutting board with intricate patterns that's been lovingly cared for over the years.

Jackie: Maybe a book of recipes...because she's always documenting the stories of others, just as recipes do.

Ryan: Oxo kitchen tools - total revolution of the norms, became ultra popular

Athena Feng: Stainless steel precision tweezers

Elizabeth Barton: I think Meghna would be a whisk. She's always whisking cool stuff up if you know what I mean ;)

Alison Gonzalez: An ice machine that makes cool pebbled ice balls because she is so cool!

Angela: Spiralizer. Not everybody has one, but they do they can do stunning, unexpected things.

Sarah Vercauteren: Hmmmm maybe a garlic press. She brings ease to a tough task, making delight more fluid and easier to incorporate frequently. Everyone appreciates a garlic press :)

Tamara: blender because she takes so many pieces of information — individual ingredients — and pieces it all together to whip up stories that are so compelling and bright, like a story smoothie.

Heather: Slow cooker - her kind of work takes time to build its flavor and develop, but the end result is so rich and satisfying

Kaitlin Banafsheha: Meghna would be a sauce/food blender machine because she's a foodie and knows her condiments. I feel like she always knows the key ingredients of what makes a dish what it is, so she could probably make some epic condiments/sauces/spreads of her own. That's why she's the food blender.

Jason Zhang: Stand mixer — remarkable power in a small package, with the ability to craft new things whole out of flimsy raw materials

Nicole Felter: A kitchenaid mixer - beautiful, helpful, and a necessity.

Kelly aka :Andromeda:: A gas stove/oven: reliable even in a power outage, a staple/core contributor to any team of appliances, not afraid to put in the effort, knows when to be reserved vs when to dial up the heat. She is a real team player - complementing the other appliances, empowering and helping them shine in their own way, all while really executing her own vision. She elevates the kitchen aesthetic and weaves stories through complex and deep flavor profiles. She is seasoned and is all the wiser for it - the kind of appliance every chef wants on their roster. Hinoki - coming to a high-end home appliance retailer near you soon.

Winnie Ip: She'd be a juicer.

Mallory: a toaster - she can warm any soul

If you could steal one thing from her, what would it be?

Rachel: her vocabulary

Georgia: I wouldn't want to steal anything from her! However, I'd love to have a way with words like Meghna.

Shreeda Segan: Her diplomatic tact.

Amaara Dhanji: Her way with words

Nic Corpora: Writing skills

Jackie: Her calmness

Immad Akhund: Punctuation skills

Serena: her ruggedly handsome looks

Ryan: Her ability to filter signal from noise

Athena Feng: her hair?

Elizabeth Barton: Her ability to network!

Alison Gonzalez: Sense of style and voice

Fiona: Stealing sounds wrong! But if we can share gifts, I'd like to have the artistry she possess.

Juliana: The earrings she wore for the closing dinner of the first Design Week in NYC :)

Angela: Her brain. Gimme.

Sarah Vercauteren: her style and poise!

Tamara: her brain (but i will settle for a free copy of her first book)

Jessica Garcilazo: Her writing abilities...straight up poetry!

Heather: How effortlessly cool and chic she is - I feel like she is always gliding

Tony: It's interesting that she's chosen to spend so much of her life writing, because Meghna voice has the perfect tone and timbre for story telling. When she speaks, everyone in the room leans in a little bit to listen more closely.

Kaitlin Banafsheha: Her free spiritedness

Jason Zhang: The intensity of her stare

Mariah Morton: Her poise :) she always speaks so confidently and thoughtfully. and authentically

David Cain: her taste

Nicole Felter: Her style and tranquility.

Dani: Her writing skills.

Kelly aka :Andromeda:: I hope to steal many more hours of quality time with Meghna - over cups of tea, shared plates, laughter, park hangs, celebrations, and beyond. Thankful to have a friend like her for life.

Aliza: Hey great sense of style

Micaiah: Calm collected aura

Winnie Ip: Sushi II

Mallory: her gorgeous curls

Any other parting remarks?

Rachel: looking forward to seeing her name on the NYTimes bestsellers list!

Shreeda Segan: I love you so much & am so grateful to have found a lifelong friend in you. I am 100% serious about staying in your someday Bangalore flat.

Amaara Dhanji: It was truly such a pleasure to be your coworker and friend. I wish we had more time together but I am so excited to see you fulfill your dreams. Thank you for being a trailblazer and inspiration.

Sean: I'm sad we didn't get to work together longer but I'm grateful I had the opportunity!

Kelsey Marksteiner: I'M GOING TO MISS HER SO MUCH

Jackie: Meghna, I distinctly remember meeting you (I think we had a donut?) and thinking “wow, Meghna is so COOL.” You’ve definitely exceeded that expectation! I’m so excited for you to pursue your “personal legend” (psst, reminder to reread The Alchemist). Thank you for being such a great thought partner on DiasporAsia and helping make the group. Along with Meridian, I hope that our ERG group will be one part of your long lasting Mercury legacy. You're awesome, Meghna!

Immad Akhund: We will miss you

Ryan: Legend

Athena Feng: Love you Meghna!!

Elizabeth Barton: Been blessed to know and work with you Meghna :)

Alison Gonzalez: Meghna - you will be sincerely missed! I had so much fun working with you.

Fiona: The brand team fam won't be the same without you! But I'm excited to see all the great things you'll accomplish!

Juliana: I'll miss you dearly, Meghna! But I can't wait to see what you do next!

Angela: Cannot wait to see what you apply your talents to next! Good luck in your next chapter <3

Tamara: can’t see the screen anymore because i’m crying — truly don’t know what we will do without meghna. i can only hope that we can make her proud and do her legacy justice. and i can’t wait to see all the amazing things she does next!

Jessica Garcilazo: Meghna, it's been an absolute pleasure to work with you. I look forward to seeing all the amazing things you do!

Heather: Whether she writes a dozen books or decides to never publish, I'm looking forward to following her success and cheering her on!

Kaitlin Banafsheha: I hope you know Meghna, I really feel like there's a reason we crossed paths in life and you will always be more than a work friend to me. You are truly a special person <3

Jason Zhang: Meghna, it is rare in life to have created so much out of so little, to have taken the leaps you’ve taken, to allow the world a peek into your inner life and manifest it into something real that others can see and feel. It is rare to have created an actual thing out of will and talent. I am proud of you and can’t wait to be a fan of whatever you do next.

Mariah Morton: She'll be missed!!!

David Cain: I don't think my words can do it justice, but Meghna is the kind of person who can make you open your eyes and see the world in a different way. She is thoughtful and unflappable. She strives to create. She's open to take chances. She's a pragmatist. She has depth, and by her existence suggests that you should cultivate some yourself. Meghna, I'm glad our paths crossed, and I'm strangely glad to say goodbye - for now. Glad because you're discontent to be stagnant, and there's a lot of the world left to discover. And I hope it is only goodbye, for now.

Nicole Felter: Meghna, I wish you the absolute best, but will miss you so much. You are such an inspiration - you can do anything you want in life. From one kindred spirit to another <3

Dani: You're a legend, Meghna. I'm grateful we crossed paths at Mercury and excited to see all you accomplish in the future!

Kelly aka :Andromeda:: Let it rip, Meghna (shameless reference from the Bear, which you NEED to watch if you haven't already). I'm incredibly proud of you, thankful to have worked with you since our earliest days at Mercury, and excited to see what inspiring and purposeful work you do next. xox

Micaiah: I’ll miss her :(

Winnie Ip: Will miss you greatly! There will a gap here that will be extremely hard to fill. Excited to see what's next for you!

Celeste: Best wishes for your next chapter, you have a team of supporters continuing to cheer you on at Mercury!