Rashmi Rajendran has a distinctive motto in life: “Why not?” The ordinary girl from Payyambalam near Kannur owes everything to that self-challenge.
She is not contended with her doctorate in nuclear physics and a slew of degrees including a post graduation and M Phil in public administration and an executive MBA. The director of a Singapore-based global company, Rajendran still finds her asking herself: “Why not?”
Daughter of Rajendran Tharamel, who retired as a superintendent at the Calicut University, and Dr Shantha Rajendran, a retired gynecologist, Rajendran had always excelled in academics and arts. She was a B Sc physics student at the Providence College in Kozhikode when she was elected the chairperson of the college students’ union.
Rajendran realized she was a leader. Could she choose it as a profession? That was the first of a series of “Why nots”.
The physics student joined the Madras Christian College in Chennai to pursue a post-graduate degree in public administration. She then secured an M Phil degree in the subject.
She worked on a UNICEF project as part of her studies. That experience gained her a ticket to be a part of a UNICEF SOS project in the Philippines. She submitted a report on the problems faced by the children.
Marriage took her to Singapore. She was busy with husband Santosh Raghavan and two small children but she still wanted to explore physics further. She faced many questions. Could she balance her family with the rigors of research? “Why not?” And she had the answer.
She joined a masters degree course in the National University before registering as a researcher in nuclear science. She eventually joined the department as a professor.
“Why not something else?” She could not resist the question. She quit her job and walked into a business college to pursue an executive MBA. It was not long before she received an offer from a company named Budding Innovations. She currently serves as a director in the life science and healthcare division of the company. She is still exploring the limits. She has her eyes set on frontier areas like the digital health. Whenever in doubt, she would ask herself, “Why not?”