Cijal Rahim , from France, Metropolitan

An aircraft technician dreams to bring about a revolutionary change to the world. Cijal shares how travel has changed his life

The Ajala Project presents Cijal Rahim, a nomad changing the world.

Cijal Rahim, an Aircraft Technician who spends his free time providing aid and relief to disaster victims. Having traveled the world, Cijal has raised awareness for and helped improve the lives of underprivileged children across different nations

Travel has broadened my perspective of this world we live in. The more I travel, the more I understand life, humanity and the common thread which binds us all together. We are all certainly different — our cultures, languages, cuisines are quite unique; and is the way we think or act to the opinions we have of things around us. However within our great differences lies our utmost beauty. Each country, people and their stories bring out the different facets of human lives. In a world where we are subjected to racial and social prejudice it is time we implore on what the late British Member of Parliament, Jo Cox had said “We have far more in common than which divides us”.

Through my travel I try my best to utilize my time in volunteering for causes-social, educational, humanitarian; which needs the world’s attention. This led me to what I believe is one of our ultimate purpose in life — to serve. I believe and strongly stick to the mantra “The one who serves the best, prospers the most”. As a child who had great difficulty in learning at school, I was teased and bullied, I wanted to change the notion of the world and how children with learning difficulties were treated, because I didn’t want any child to go through what I went through. I sought inspiration in reading history and knowing more about Indian freedom fighters and often dreamt of living a life of revolution and bringing about a revolutionary change in the educational system, in our society, in the way how people are mistreated and misjudged.

One great influence in my life at the time, was the legendary Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, who once said, “Jo khoon na khola wo khoon nahi paani hain, jo desh ka kaam na aya wo bekaar jawani hain” which loosely translates in English to “the blood which does not boil is not blood but water and the youth which does not come to use of the society/community is mere waste of one’s youth”.

Being employed with an airline company gave me the amazing opportunity to visit over 27 countries and having ticked off one country at a time my heart yearned for more than just ordinary travel. Initially my solo trips were purely driven towards self reflection and finding peace from the concrete jungle we live in. Through my travel experiences, i came to realize that in life, there are three main currencies at our disposal — TIME, ENERGY AND MONEY. When we are young we have a lot of time and energy but might be short of Money. As we grow old and become adults we start having moreEnergy and enough money but less time and gradually when we grow old we have all the money and time but we now have less energy. At any point in Time we only have two currencies to use, or at least this is what we perceive. So we put off things we would love to do, dreams we want to achieve and places we want to see.

A wise man once said most people die long before they are buried. It is indeed a sin to kill your dreams and what drives you. So I made up my mind to venture out, backpack, travel to unseen lands, live on a budget, sleep at train stations, eat cheap meals from local dhabas (roadside restaurants), hitchhike and ultimately fulfill my lifelong dream to travel. The whole idea of trying to fit in, leads to compromises to our personal self and on the way we lose our originality. In order to find myself I embarked on solo travels to far off places, battling my fear, trying to imbibe the local culture, be like them, dress like them, go to a far off place where people wouldn’t know me and wouldn’t judge me because the way I look or how I spoke. All of this brought me great joy and ample time to reflect, I began to accept people for how they are and not how I want them to be and in the process I began to love. Not the fake kind of love you see in the movies, but real and true bond between humans.

Traveling made me humble, it helped me figure out that we are of sub atomic size compared to the magnanimous world we live in. It also exposed me to the harsh reality on the rapid rate at which we are burning down trees, creating havoc, spreading hatred and waging wars. I started to throw myself into causes and missions which I believed added value to me and the people around me. I began traveling and volunteering in impoverished communities in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal to improve the lives of children.

I set off to countries like France and Greece to get involved with organizations providing aid to refugees and migrants who have fled from war torn countries in search of a better future. My travel became more purposeful and deliberately humanitarian. One significant purpose of human life is to serve, serve your society. Let’s put it this way, if you are reading this you probably have a roof over your head, a few pairs of sneakers and food to eat, which makes you privileged and with privilege comes a level of responsibility. Responsibility to take care of the ones who are not as fortunate as we are. Accept them, integrate them into society and give them back a dignified life.