To 31-year-old Rajalakshmi, juggling her different roles — dental specialist, consulting orthodontist, and assistant professor — comes rather naturally, and the Bengaluru-based dentist is now all set to represent India at Miss Wheelchair World 2017, which is to be held in Poland on October 7.
For an ambitious young girl like Rajalakshmi, her fate had a different game to play. In 2007, after her BDS results, she was invited to present a paper at a national conference in Chennai, on the way to which the driver's negligence caused an accident that left her with a spinal injury and paralysis of her lower limbs. In an interview with The News Minute, she said,
It was a whole new body I had to deal with. I was a whole new person physically.
While giving up was an easy option, she fought her battles and redirected all her energy into pursuing psychology, fashion, and eventually completed her MDS. This is when a random post on the internet introduced her to the Miss Wheelchair India pageant. In 2014, Rajalakshmi went onto to win the title, which she recollects as a "dream come true" moment.
She is also the chairperson of her organisation, SJ Foundation, which works for the causes of the disabled, says The Hindu. In a country that is still adapting to being disabled-friendly, she says,
My disability is physical and so it is visible. But there many who have disabilities that are not visible. Disability can be of many kinds, be it behavioural, physical, mental, or intellectual. But you cannot define a person based on their disabilities.
A Miss Popularity Wheelchair World 2017 online poll is ongoing and you can vote for Rajalakshmi here.