At the Asia Pacific Region Internet Development Dialogue (APRIDD) I attended last week one issue kept coming up – that of access. Some argued that should everyone have access because we say it would bring economic empowerment but what we see is that people just flock onto social sites. So maybe access shouldn’t be for everyone.

Tell me something! Does everyone who go to med school end up becoming a doctor? Does everyone who go to a book store buy books on how to put together a rocket? So just because someone is going to become a housewife after going to college or is going to pick up 50 Shades of Grey that means we should prevent their access to education and bookshops?

Internet Access is a human right now. Once I have access what I do with it is my choice. Same as the right to life is my right and what I do with that life is my choice. But let me make something even clearer. Economic activity is generated when you have social networks. Who do you sell to? How do you even know if something you have is needed by someone to the point you can make money off it? To do that you must be socially connected.

When I started using the Internet it was just for chatting with people (mIRC and AOL) or to send and receive emails. Then a time came when I was using it to help with homework. Then came videos and blogging. But I realized the things I had to say and the way I said them were appreciated. That I actually knew stuff. And when I was fired from my teaching job I turned to the Internet and started selling articles and blogposts and even some data entry stuff. All this led to Women’s Digital League, and here I am.

Did I start off thinking I was going to run a business? No! But was that option available to me when I needed it? Yes! But to get to this point I had to go through the whole process of learning to use the Internet and building social networks and understanding to some extent the options I had available to me.

But even if I never did any of the work I did using the Internet and I just sat home and watched funny cat videos or read latest Hollywood gossip that’s my choice.

And here is a local newspaper featuring me (without my consent or knowledge, though I am not complaining … yet)😀


OK Byeeeeeeeeeeeee

Chicken or Not

I am speaking at a panel on Frugal Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UN Convention Center in Bangkok. The convention is jointly organised by UNESCAP and ISOC. In some of the pre-conference workshop conversations around gender someone pointed out how some of the panels were more MANALS – had only men on them. To this the hosts had a shocking (to me at least) revelation that two women had backed out and suggested male colleagues to replace them. The conversation that ensued was on why women feel less confident speaking on serious tech topics. Me being me couldn’t help jumping in.

Ladies, if the only reason why you declined the invitation to speak – you were afraid of making a fool of yourself – do you really think men always talk sense? Dear God NO! I have attended workshops and conferences and listened to ling speeches by men where I just cringed so much I gave myself a body-sprain. They were just embarrassing. Did it stop them? No! Why should it stop women then? I mean have you heard Trump? The guy is a front contender to the US Presidency and every time he speaks I feel so embarrassed for him.

So puhleaze, don’t let it stop you. Go up there and speak your heart out. Stop worrying about not knowing everything or even a lot. You know something. You have thoughts and opinions and certain angles why you are passionate about it. Speak about that. Forget if you are sticking a 100%% to it or not.

And honestly, do you think anyone is absolutely 100% qualified to speak on behalf of the rest of humanity and formulating policies for them? Trust me no one is. So what I am going to do is talk from the heart and articulate my views and ideas and learnings as well as I can. Some will find it useful, others not. Eh. Whatever. Hate me or love me, you can’t ignore me. And that’s my darling dudettes, is what matters most.

OK Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee



Vanity Fair

Its so frustrating when after fighting fights much bigger than myself and taking on ridiculous challenges and coming out as the victor at 37 years of age I am struggling with body image issues particularly because of my expanding waist line. It just plain disgusts me.

I didn’t have weight issues except for a couple of years between age 10 and 12. Other than that even after two kids (given a generous post-pregnancy time to reclaim my body) I was at an envious weight. And then entrepreneurship hit hard and somewhere along the way the stress that comes naturally with growing a business, working a job, raising kids, looking after the home kinda started getting to me. So more and more time in front of the screen eating whatever the hell I could get my hands on and less time outside enjoying things like the weather or a walk or a hang out with friends.

No, I am not feeling sorry for myself. And I don’t want you to feel sorry for me either. I am just mad at myself. Look at all super successful people. They handle all above I mentioned and yet they stay super fit. I see men and women my age, younger, older, doing way more than me and somehow they keep things together and find the time to exercise and eat healthy.


Have tried all kinds of fad diets from the 13 Day Military Diet – I lost 10 lbs in 13 days – and gained it back in 10 days. Tried going on this diet where I had to drink this really yummy chocolate flavored powdered drink twice a day as a meal supplement. That didn’t last v long. Have even tried doing it the right way with an hour-long HIIT and clean-eating with calorie count for 3 months and looked and felt GREAT but then came vacation time and I stuffed my face with carbs and sugar.


Now all this is making me depressed. I don’t like it. Not so much out of vanity though that’s a reason as well, but more because I am nearing forty and at this rate I will be a whale at 41 and will develop multiple diseases.

Truth is, I LOVE MY WORK. If I had the choice I would do nothing but work on all these cool projects all the time. But I also realize it’s bad for my mental and physical health. Entrepreneurship is cool and it’s OK to be passionate but you need to draw the line somewhere and find time for yourself. And I am struggling to do that.

Can someone help me with the stress, the eating, and the sedentary lifestyle, please?

OK Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


If you don know what that acronym means you are too young and I hate you or you are too old and umm … ok you may stay.

Ran into this kid with a startup. Now you know that’s my favorite kind of person … young, ambitious, innovative, entrepreneurial. He was at a business meeting selling his startup services to this 4 star hotel. And guess what? I thought he was some plumber or other handyman sitting there to receive his check! Now plumbers and handymen are very respectable, hard working people.I am not dissing them. Most days I look like I clean public toilets for a living. But when you go to sell your idea you have to dress for the role. Period! So for example, if you are a professor at Stanford you can get away with a tshirt and shorts in class. If you do the same in Harvard,they will prolly dismiss you from the job on your very first day. You can go into McDonalds in your nightsuit but you have to dress in a certain way to dine at Avari.

So dahlin’ coolsters of today, if you wear slippers, shalwar kameez, and an untamed/unkempt beard to a serious business meeting with an important potential client, forget it. And you are actually being disrespectful.


Similarly, this new company has started ops in Pakistan and been a year or so. Maybe less. Maybe a little more. But in a bid for rapid expansion to beat competitors to new opportunities they are making some serious mistakes. Such as … ok let me rewind a bit. The company provides on-demand cab services. They don’t own the cars but get them on contract basis from individuals and pay them on a monthly basis or something similar. Reason why I use them is because I felt very safe using the service. I travel a lot and am out of the house at odd hours like 11 pm or something. Now in Pakistan being female and taking a cab at night can be a risky business but I felt this company did lots of background checks on drivers and cars and had GPS so I could relax. Turns out I was wrong!

Yesterday I booked a car for 6:30 AM. The car that came had a green number plate that said Government of Punjab. Now using a government car as a rental is … you can understand … unethical. I was offended but my anger was geared more towards the government than the company. Turns out it was an illegal license plate not used by the government at all. So whoever’s car it was, it was indulging in an illegal activity. WHAT!!! Not cool.Just so not cool. Of course then the Special Monitoring Unit got involved and the company called couple of times. All I am saying is don’t think consumers are fools, and don’t take security for granted.

Ok thanks.


Walk in the Park

Amazing what a little quiet time can do for a person. No, seriously. I mean I have been crazy busy past few months and when I am not busy it still feels like I am busy. do you know that feeling? Like you should be doing something but you aren’t and you are just sitting there staring at a screen or posting stupid social media updates waiting for you to recall what it is. Because you just can’t believe you are actually free.

Last weekend I took some time out and went out for a walk. At 4:30 PM in the blistering Lahore afternoon. i thought I wouldn’t last 10 minutes. But I actually stayed out for almost an hour and only came inside the house because my bratty kids wouldn’t stop calling for xyz. But that hour cleared up my mind like anything. For the first time in ages I was thinking clearly. The ideas I had been trying to work on for so long but that just appeared too complicated suddenly started to seem doable. Whoa! It was awesome.

Bottom line – MUST.TAKE.OUT.TIME.TO.EXERCISE. If not to lose some of that bulge around the waist from sitting and eating all day long then just to think clearly.


But I Want More

Man, from running a Google-check on my name and finding ZILCH to now when all this really cool stuff pops up, I AM LIVING MORE THAN MY DREAM. But I want more! Some would call this selfish. Others would tell me I was ungrateful. I say wanting more is what keeps us going.

So the latest idea is to start an IDEA Center. You know – a kind of, sort of, community center but more. Or maybe less. People can just walk in and know that everyone present is v open to hearing them out. Discussing things. No matter how quirky, crazy it may sound. Add to it a co-working space. You can just walk in and grab a bean bag (or just sit on the floor) and do whatever you need to do. Heck, spend the whole day if you want. No money required. But in return you have to give back in some way. I dunno – maybe listen out someone’s idea. Give a 2 hour workshop over the weekend. Offer to give pick and drop to the people. Bring food. Or tea. ANYTHING you can offer.

Invite people visiting town to spare some time and come meet our people. Slowly add a library. A tiny cafe where tea costs Rs 20 ($2) and a plate of samosa with chutney is Rs 30 ($30). Cheap and fun and useful place for people of all ages to just hang out. If we feel the place is getting crowded, we have a HOUSEFULL sign displayed.

Please, let’s do this. It would be so much fun. And it’s not even that expensive. All I need is 3 months of uninterrupted time to work on this. HAHAHA – that made me laugh – not happening any time soon. But hey, if you are up for it and SERIOUSLY up for some hard as s*** work that pays you ZERO in monetary terms in the short run, COME OVER.


OK byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

The Promise is Fulfilled

So all of you now don’t go and die (Translated from “Ab saray maro mat”). I promised you photographs and photographs though shalt get.