Ranjeev Singh Rai (affectionately known as ‘Jim’ by friends and family) was a senior partner at a leading law firm, before becoming a management consultant to a prominent Indian conglomerate, advising on its business interests in Europe. Although Jim had achieved what many would define as the pinnacle of success, he was not fulfilled, and felt that he spent too much of his time ‘living a life of maintenance’. This moment of reflection served as the catalyst for Jim to focus, apply and communicate on what he defines as the ‘more important things in life’. The product of this thought is a simple, yet profound and inspirational companion that encapsulates the knowledge and values that he feels many of us are leaving behind. Ironically, Jim’s thought-provoking book is entitled …and then you’re dead!
Born in 1966, the younger half of twins by 11 minutes, Jim grew up in a family of five brothers in Southall, West London. His early years were fraught with uncertainties about the future, following the untimely death of his mother when he was aged just five. Following his somewhat ‘colourful’ teenage years, Jim spent his time working in the family business moving from one day to the next without much focus, until a random but fervent comment from a teacher, sparked in Jim, a strong desire to put the past firmly behind him and transform his life for the better. Choosing to focus on education as a turning point, Jim decided to carve a promising future for himself with the solid support of his partner and pursue a career as a lawyer. Working hard to achieve his goal, he graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in 1990 with a degree in Law. After training with Glenisters Solicitors in 1991, Jim successfully qualified as a solicitor in 1994.
Jim worked for several respected legal firms such as Lewis Silkin and Winckworth Sherwood (previously known as Winckworth and Pemberton). Always striving to reach the top of his field, he became an influential figure, leading several high profile cases, which other lawyers had declined to take on. Motivated by the need to take on new challenges and a strong desire to help the underdog, Jim devoted much of his time to promote social justice, a trait that had been passed down from his father, who himself was a staunch advocate of human rights.
Having immersed himself in a successful legal career for over two decades, Jim felt compelled to accept new challenges, rather than maintaining the pragmatic and prosaic lifestyle he had been accustomed to. That’s when he decided to stop, reassess and change direction. Although his life’s work was a matter of pride, he left his senior legal post in 2012 and turned his attention to promoting the knowledge and skills that he considered fundamental to life. …and then you’re dead! Is the product of such action.
He has recently completed his debut motivational book, …and then you’re dead! The thought-provoking title challenges the reader to think about the life they are leading, inspiring and helping to empower them, to make positive changes to their lifestyle. This is not a regular self-help book. In fact, if there was a category called ‘your lifetime companion’ and ‘alarm call to life’ then that is where it fits in. It does not preach, it does not tell you that you are “the best thing since sliced bread” – it is a book that ignores the sugar coating and simply says it how it is, albeit in a practical yet charming way! Its aim is to get you thinking about your personal journey so far and to create an awareness within you to get those thought neurons firing, which for many of us, have lain dormant for quite some time.
The book was inspired by his beloved late grandmother, Sant Kaur Bajwa, who was the oldest woman in the UK and second oldest in the world before her death in July 2013.
Throughout her life, she shared a close motherly bond with Jim, as it was she who raised him and his twin brother from early childhood, following his mother’s tragic and untimely death in 1972. Spending his formative years with his grandmother, Sant Kaur fast became his role model, and he particularly admired her amazingly positive outlook on life, from which he has drawn much of the inspiration for his debut book. The book also lays the foundation for his ultimate dream – to establish an educational park for the next generation. Jim aims to create a park called The Orchard of Life, which will feature 5,000 years’ worth of wisdom originating from five different continents. The park will uphold the following simple messages: to maintain hope and faith always; to protect your environment and health; to invest in relationships wholly; not to pre-judge; to forgive and most importantly, to have self-belief. Jim believes that the embodiment of these qualities creates a successful life, filled with laughter, love, friendship and knowledge.
Despite his schedule, Jim manages to find time to devote to several charities across the globe, including:
Peace One Day
Jim is a strong supporter of this inspiring organisation that promotes a day of peace throughout the world. His good friend Jeremy Gilley (founder) had a vision to create peace throughout the world starting with one day (21st September), a day which has now been institutionalised and endorsed through a UN resolution.
A charity based in Guatemala that strives to help homeless children off the streets by reconnecting them with society and giving them hope for the future. The charity aims to rehabilitate street children through a series of programmes funded through charitable donations. Jim became involved with the charity during a legal case he was instructed on in 2001, which led him to Guatemala where he witnessed first-hand the predicament faced by these children. Moved by the plight of the vulnerable children, he became a strong supporter of the charity
Mother Teresa Charitable Trust
Jim believes it was fate that led him to this charity which he cares deeply for. Having witnessed first-hand the commendable and unwavering work of this charity – which cares for physically and mentally disabled orphans – Jim makes regular trips to the orphanages in Delhi and Jalhandar in India, to lend his support and check the progress of the children. Jim also helps provide vital funds for the charity, which helps to buy equipment, toys, clothing, medication and other necessities.
The charity encourages, supports and teaches African farmers to increase their produce, which in turn, helps to reduce poverty in the region. Whether they plough the fields or fish for food, the charity secures vital funds to enable local farmers to provide for themselves, their families and the local community as a whole. Jim has been involved in assisting the work of this organisation that has been going from strength to strength.
Over the years, Jim has also been involved in protecting the welfare of children. Providing legal advice and contributing his support to an inspirational enforcement agency, dedicated to protecting children who are vulnerable to abuse and help to bring offenders to account.
In his spare time, Jim enjoys a range of sports including, snooker, football, cycling, chess and dance. He is a keen traveller and to date, has visited over 28 countries in his lifetime. He currently divides his time between London and Cyprus, where he has set up his second home.