The Bald Man & The Journey to Kindness
I am a Washington DC based entrepreneur and a world traveler who grew up all around the world. I am an American at my core and grew up in California and the Washington DC area.
I was born in Tripoli, Libya and then traveled through many countries and continents as a child. My surroundings were consistently evolving and eagerness to learn more about the new surroundings kept me intrigued about what's next. I grew up in many conflict-ridden places. When the conflict wasn't on the ground it was on my mind. I spent my early childhood in Libya and then moved 6,000 miles east to the south of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. I then came to Los Angeles in my early teens as a political asylee (refugee) escaping the chaos and conflicts of political instability in Pakistan and spent my teenage years in California. I ended up in DC while traveling all over the world.
As I grew up, I became a survivor in every sense of the word. As I met others, I felt maybe people will find some healing through my story. I also realized, their stories were healing me.
Early Teen Years
My father is an interesting man. Curious and rebellious in nature, he decided to take upon the political elite in Pakistan in the 80s. My mom, a career nurse stood right by him. Standing up to a military dictator is no easy feat. As he geared to run for the local office in a highly politicized election, he was repeatedly attacked, politically and physically. That violence extended to my family, his friends and his political allies. He was attacked in a violent stabbing attack (and survived). We had no choice but to leave the country to save our lives and livelihood. My uncle, a prominent journalist and his family went through similar episodes.
The leader of his political party and a good friend was shot to death in broad daylight along with six other political allies. His best friend, who was an elected official and a prominent political leader was also shot to death.
These experiences shaped me and how I see and value life and connections in my life.
My family went through two other countries before arriving in Los Angeles as political asylees. Think of being in a witness protection program with changed identities and not knowing where your next home is.
Up until my arrival in the U.S. as a teenager refugee, I wore my name as my only label. When I arrived in the U.S. ironically, I became several labels i.e. Brown, Minority, Immigrant, Muslim, Refugee etc.
I enjoy the label of being an American that happens to be, all of the above. Nothing makes me prouder. My grandfather was a rebel fighting against the British occupation and the colonization of India and was wanted by them. As a matter of fact the only known survived portrait of my grandfather was a picture from the "Wanted" poster.
In an essence, the idea of America is what my family has been fighting for way before I knew about the existence of America as a child.
In my professional career, I have had many jobs. Some by choice. Some by necessity. Being an entrepreneur, trying new things is a big part of who I am. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone is also something I am consistently trying to get better at. In a nutshell, I have worked odd jobs in my teen years to executive level roles with multi-billion dollar companies and pretty much everything in between. It's been an interesting journey to say the least. I have had the honor and privilege to work with some of the most brilliant minds on this planet and I don't take that for granted.
The positions or the titles don't really mean anything other than the fact they help me label various experiences of my life.
I have founded and co-founded companies and succeeded at couple. I have failed at others. I currently help other startups as a mentor and often teach "entrepreneurship" at the local universities when asked. I also speak at local entrepreneurship events. One of the startups I was part of went through an IPO so I had the opportunity to live an entire life-cycle and loved every minute of it. I am always hungry to learn new things and take on new risks. I do social experiments and collect some powerful stories as part of raising awareness for humanity and changing the perception of refugees.
Journey to Kindness
I believe most of us are looking for our purpose in life. Some of us are fortunate enough to know why we are here and where we want to go. I am still trying to figure out where I belong and where I am going though I know one thing for certain, my purpose is to share stories, share kindness and help people. Though I now live in Washington DC, I am always eager to get out of the city and connect with new people and places. Travel inspires me. It makes me realize how much I don't know and how incomplete my purpose is. During my travels, I have realized that most people are eager to share their stories. People want to be seen, heard and understood. I have also realized that stories have remarkable powers.
BMH (Bald Man & Humans) is a manifestation of how that purpose is taking its first breath. It is a small attempt to stay true to myself. Figure out who I am, do good for others, learn a few things, teach a few things, share a few stories, and explore new places and when it's all said and done, leave this world a better place than I found it.
I have traveled to many places and lived in several countries. As I am growing older, my list is also getting longer. It's a race against time.
BMH enables me to visit and explore new places but with purpose of finding interesting people and intriguing stories and helping others. If you are willing to share yours, invite me. :)
“Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this.”
"It is futile to judge a kind deed by its motives. Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind." - Eric Hoffer
• South Africa
• United Kingdom