Home » Achievements » From tech cos to Everest, Meerah Rajavel’s marathon continues

From tech cos to Everest, Meerah Rajavel’s marathon continues

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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.

 When her admit card to GEC was received by post, her father kept it away from Meerah. After she cleared the entrance to Thiagarajar College of Engineering at Madurai which was less than an hour away from home, her father showed her the earlier admit card. “I was livid at first. But I knew it was in my best interest,” says Meerah.  Post her engineering, Meerah worked with various companies including Lotus Infotech and Infosys in India and Cisco in the US. “The years in Cisco were formative for my career. In a span of 10 years, I handled roles across sales, finance, engineering and shared services,” she says. She is also deeply invested in social entrepreneurship. After her mother retired as a school teacher, Meerah set up a fund along with her in Virudhunagar to sponsor the education of underprivileged girls and build a free library. “It is a free of cost and centrally located facility that is accessible to all the girls’ schools. All girls commuting back home have to pass by the library. We have more than 3,000 books that I have sourced from various stores and sales in the US,” she says.  For young girls in small towns who aspire to make it big, Meerah says,” Dream big. Everything is possible when you put your heart and mind to it.”- Courtesy

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