On “Useless Criticism” and “Badmashi”

A Facebook repost has me writing this. The post is publicly accessible on my Facebook page. Here is what it looks like and what I said:

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Here is what it looks like!

Pretty mellow, one might say. Not so according to the comments. I won’t say much but just put out some juicy pieces there.

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I am a-likin’ it .. yayyy all discussing how to solve the problem  

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Uh oh … what have I ever done for women empowerment? Hmmm … lemme think

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Personal against the woman we all look up to and admire? 

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I am a guy. Ask me what women want. “Voice of reason tries to intervene” Moral of the story: You can’t reason with the unreasonable. 

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You silly women! The entire concept of “criticism” against anything us men do is wrong because we are right and you are wrong and there is nothing you can do about it (a la Ms Truncball)

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“Remember when I ran crying to you because “these women” wouldn’t let me play and told me off to Daddy? Thank you for wiping my tears and letting me sleep over.”

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These horrid greedy women only think of themselves and want “free ride”. Off with their heads. 

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And we will not bow down to this BADMASHI (bullying / rascality) 

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For more inspiration on how to be more inclusive and how useless a criticism is please see above exhibits and/or go to https://www.facebook.com/nutshellconferences/ and see how much efforts are being made to add women. 

CRY ME A RIVER!

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Vulnerably Strong

Grief has got its cold, bony fingers on my heart. It’s so hard to return to life before it all. I got a clod from its grave. Taking a piece away. Taking away its power. How foolish of me. There were crying birds. Tiny featherless ones. Screeching abominably. They wanted to go back to their nest. Early morning I returned them to the earth to which it belonged. That night he shone like the moon. Serene and peaceful. My heart shivers.

A new idea is conceived to take away the edge. Foolishness, except some nights for a while my thoughts are about simpler things. Money. Fame. Success. Accounts. Funnels. Business Model Canvas. It helps.

Mosawi is keeping me sane and alive. So engrossed in working on it except for the heaviness in my heart and the world getting blurry occasionally.

Why is it such a taboo to be vulnerable? Why is it so unbelievably hard to imagine a person as both strong and vulnerable? Doing business everyone advises you to “fake it till you make it”. Being vicious is a quality. Cut-throat is coveted. I refuse to play by any rules that I don’t agree with.

It’s a struggle.

Work. Life.
Philosophy. Reality.

Writing isn’t coming naturally.

Chaos

I have always wanted a shabby chic, boho, country cottage, Winnie the Pooh 100 Acres Woods room. You know how people can put together crazy prints and textures and styles together and make them blend? Yeah. I am not one of those people. Wanted to get a simple wooden sofa in distressed finish with smaller chairs for extra seating, each chair different from another but making it a whole. Ended up buying the brightest red retro humongous 8 seater that makes my eyes hurt. Now I have that and this in one place waiting for the day their foster parents come and take them each home in completely opposite parts of the world, and I can try my interior decorating skills again.

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Ah what hopes I had for this

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What I call my Pinterest Corner

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Sher Khan and the Jacket resting on this monstrosity

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My mug and pencil collection!!

See what I mean? They are all good things. But they are different worlds. Kind of like my life. There are good parts. WONDERFUL parts. Stuff dreams are made of. But when put together in once place they kind of fall apart.

Very philosophical of me. 😀

Been invited to send an entry for some award. Don’t have the patience or the time. If you do it for me and I win, I will split my winnings with you. Takers?

OK byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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PASHA Mini Meetup

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Momentum 2018 http://momentum.org.pk/

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Momentum 2017 https://web.facebook.com/pg/MomentumTechConference/photos/?tab=album&album_id=894975817334294

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EcomX Pakistan – https://www.facebook.com/events/609020709489339/?active_tab=discussion

Planning Commission Consultative Meeting with the industry on creation of Pakistan Startup Fund
February 2018 Karachi

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E-commerce Roundtable in Karachi – https://www.facebook.com/pg/pakict/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1168605123179995

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Karandaaz Pakistan signs agreement with Information Technology University, Lahore for a research that will improve the existing knowledge on women’s use of digital financial services and the barriers they face. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting the research.

Because optics don’t matter. 🙂

 

respect

Don’t Tell Me It’s All In My Head.

BE ANGRY

For the longest time imaginable I resisted being called a feminist. Euuu the filthy, loathsome F word. It brought to me images of

  1. angry PMS-ing moustached fat women who couldn’t find a tub of their favorite ice cream in the store
  2. bitter LGBT community members with shaved heads
  3. promiscuous women blindly following the West and asking Makran has nude beaches

The reality only dawned on me recently. When you are 38, 2 years ago is recent. Started to notice a pattern. Every time I tried to say something someone spoke over me. Raised a point, and it was swept away. Gave an opinion and was heard with pained patience. WTH was going on here, I asked myself. And then I started paying attention.

I realized just how hard women work and yet their achievements are put in the very patronizing “Special Women Edition” of magazines, or they are asked to speak on panels about “Women Entrepreneurs and their Challenges, “Women Empowerment and it’s Importance” while the real brains of the society, the MEN, got to talk about serious stuff like fintech, incubators, block chain and blah blah.

I consciously kept an eye out for these big events organized with the support of big organizations such as Jazz, IBM, Microsoft, the Americans and all had same bias. The male to female ration of speakers and panelists was 33:7 against women or 20:9. Recently, an event was announced on Tech that claimed to

****** is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire and connect Pakistani entrepreneurs who work on innovative and disruptive technologies to create the knowledge economy to drive Pakistan’s growth over the coming decade.

A platform for entrepreneurs who are at the core of the ‘Eco System Leadership’ to get them started in the Pakistani Startup scene. A startup usually faces a financial crunch in its early stages. To help them in their endeavor, this initiative will provide eligible startups with major ‘Eco System Feeders’ which have components providing certain free and discounted services to reduce their financial burden to allow a startup economy to succeed.

While claiming they are speaking of both genders, they announce their first SEVEN speakers who were all male. When questions were raised some really funny stuff came up. Exhibit XYZ below:

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This gentleman tried to tell me how awfully underprivileged men were and asking for gender parity is promulgating double standards viz a viz the men.

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This one lady has been raising a hue and cry over manels and tagging me and others sympathetic to the cause. Suddenly, she wants us not to judge because SHE has been asked to speak. Hurray!

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Then in comes this lady who is supposedly managing the said conference’s social media strategy and having a real hard time finding women speakers. A group 3000+ women who are all associated with tech industry one way or the other offered to help if she shares the criteria. Criteria has yet to be shared.

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And then my favorite part – where we get called “girls” and told to “have patience” because social media strategy demands they put up maximum number of male guests out there and then follow it with a few females. What on earth! LOL

Whatever the men say I don’t care so much. Yeah it makes me very very angry at the injustice but what gets me really shouting DRACARYS at the top of my typing voice is when the women get into cahoots with the men. And for what? A spot on the panel and some small assignment?

By far my most favorite discussion on the topic of manels was about the launch of a National project. The photographs shared on social media were just a handful of women sitting in a hall packed with men. Here are some excerpts from that. If you want, I can share the link to the conversation separately *evil grin*

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Two men telling me how I am wrong and the photograph with 5 women and 100 men was lying. Also notice in first comment how it says the invites were limited to VCs of universities only? Next exhibit will show you a different story. And the second gentleman thinks inviting women is not the right strategy because “all events are not just for filling spaces with either gender“. He also was kind enough to discuss the issue ON THE DAY of the event with another lady. No, not before. Not while planning the guest list. But on the day.

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See the about turn? “It wasn’t limited to VCs” while previous comment says invitations were “restricted to VCs”. Makes me wonder which one to believe.

While all the time the conversation really was about what steps have organizers taken to ensure maximum female participation. As I said below:

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And you know what? Organizers started to ask! That’s all we want. Women don’t want to be fillers either but we need to realize the men have been at it for much longer and we are new. We may be few but we are there and if you try hard enough you will find us.

People are mad at me. They never expected a woman perhaps a decade or more younger than them to turn around and stop being nice and say it as it is. Have given people definition of MANSPLAINING. Told them why “feminism is not always cool” is such BS and given them great literature to read. Some have scoffed and said I was “angry”. You know what? I AM angry. Let me leave you with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s words:

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OK Byeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Its on us

Another one becomes a victim of depression. You know, that thing that’s in your head and not really there? That illness for which there is no blood test or xray or ultrasound? The one where everyone tells you to keep busy, stop acting, don’t be so selfish, turn to prayers? Yeah, that imaginary illness people have. It claimed a life, once again. There were calls for help. Silent cries saying, “I am drowning. My lungs are filled with water and I can’t scream. But you see me. Save me.” And we just tell her, “Swim!” And then when the person dies we call it suicide. Tell yourself whatever you need to feel better. But its never suicide. It’s our collective negligence and selfishness that wants to avoid problems and brush them under the rug.

We killed her.

DeClutter

I need a bookshelf for the kids. None of those fancy cute things but something big and sturdy. Preferably that has 2 sections so both will have their own side. These kids have accumulated I don’t know how many books over time and I literally have books coming out of every part of the house. Makes me happy and SUPER ANNOYED at the same time. So yeah. Suggestions for good ones please.

I need a bookshelf for meself. Again, nothing fancy. Practical and simple. Preferably made from natural material. Cane? Don’t suggest pine or walnut wood – that’s horribly expensive.

Have been sick for a long time now. This cough is not good.

Told hubbie to bring me Cream of Chicken / Mushroom soup. He brought Chicken Mushroom Soup. It’s. Not. The. Same. UGH!

Ordered a McD. Meal cost = Rs 500. Delivery Charges: Rs. 300. DAMMIT! (Yeah, McD doesn’t deliver in my area).

I need to declutter my house. Too much stuff. Will start with clothes. Have 3 HUGE suitcases filled with stuff I will never ever wear.
– One lot is what I still hope I may some day fit into. Not gonna happen.
– One lot is of beautiful shawls I bought so lovingly after saving up for so long but that I never wear. Can’t just toss them away so am torn between giving to relatives or keeping them. :/
– And there is the fancy bling stuff that I wore a max of ONE time. A huge suitcase filled with them. BEAUTIFUL stuff some of it but a. some don’t fit and never will b. some are reallyyyyyyyy pretty and was hoping Sheroo could use them some day but will she? c. I don’t have any unmarried brothers or sisters or very close relatives whose weddings I can wear them to. So please advise. My garage has big huge trunks filled with bedding and old pillows and covers that I have used a total of 3 times maybe. I just don’t get so many guests and for the ones I do, we have enough inside the house. Then there are the odd bits and ends that don’t make any sense any more but are sitting there just in case. Those are the most annoying. Like bits of electric cables, a bag full of keys that no one knows what they fit into, broken furniture that might some day come in handy, all kinds of cartons for when we ever have to move out of this house we could use to pack out stuff and so on. IT ALL GOES.

Jon Elia is a wizard. I read one of his books till late last night. Every word made me stop. Reread. Touch it. And then move on. I could feel the rawness of his pain. The absolute beauty of his verses so laden with meaning and emotions. While I could always admire his poetry but for the first time I heard his plea for help. The anguish of his fading soul. Like he was crying out to us. It reminded me of a scene from Spy Kids (yep, kids movies can be quite “deep” if you think about it) where the Fooglies are seen as funnny creatures in a kids show but are really people trapped by an evil genius and they are calling out for help. OK come to think of it that comparison was a little strange. But anyhow, you get the idea. This is my favorite Elia poetry:

Angaray - Jon Elia

In other news, WDL was selected as a partner by UpWork for its Social Impact Project. AND …. my baby was also selected by Facebook as an official partner for the #SheMeansBusiness program. Wheeeeeee. Which was I most excited about? Facebook. Which meant a lot more? UpWork. This was oDesk dudettes. This is where I started from. This is why I would sit in front of my computer at 10 PM and hit REFRESH like a possessed person looking for new writing jobs that paid me 25 cents a piece but that was better than zero. And now that same company TWICE as stronger because of the Elance merger has partnered with WDL. Yes, I have no shame in admitting I cried on the webcon we had. But no, you can’t see pictures of that. Will make it up to you peeps by posting pictures from Facebook visit:

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So much fun!

OK Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee