The Times of India | Ranjani Ayyar | TNN | : Aug 3, 2017 |
Forty-six-year-old Meerah Rajavel, hailing from Virudhunagar, is probably the only woman from Tamil Nadu who completed a marathon at the Everest Base Camp last year. But that is just one of the feats that make Meerah an inspiring figure for girls in the state. A tech aficionado in a senior position at a US-based company, Meerah, has come a long way from being a small-town girl who was not allowed to study outside, to being a globe-trotting professional, an avid marathoner and a social entrepreneur. Meerah started running in a bid to socialise with others in her early 30s. So far she has participated in more than 20 marathons, her first being the one at Long Beach, Los Angeles. The Athens Classic Marathon was one that tested her endurance. With a part of the marathon involving an uphill climb, Meerah says she began throwing up midway. “My body was telling me to stop. If I had, the ambulance would have picked me up and the medics wouldn’t have allowed me to continue. But, something within told me to finish it and I ran on,” she says.
For Meerah , running is an addiction. “Human body is a great machine. If you give it time and train it well, it will work the way you want it to. The adrenaline rush and the energy and fitness levels you acquire are by-products but running is the motivation,” she says. Besides running, Meerah juggles her time between her role as the chief information officer at Forcepoint, a cyber security company in the US and her passion for social entrepreneurship. Her love for computers began when she was in the 11th grade. Studying in a small girls’ school in Virudhunagar, Meerah’s batch would travel to the nearby boy’s college over the weekend to get five minutes in front of a computer. She even convinced a college professor to teach her computer skills. Determined to study computer science engineering, Meerah was set on Guindy Engineering College (GEC) in Chennai but her parents felt otherwise. “We didn’t want her to be far away. Both of us were working and we had to make sure we could be there if she ever needed us,” says Astamani, her mother.