Shafinaz Ahmed's Writing Process Video

In this video, we see Shafinaz eating, as many of us do as we prepare for and begin writing, although she chooses to be unencumbered by the Western custom of using a fork. Metaphorically, the dish out of which she eats plays on the confusion Shafinaz encounters among those outside of Bangladesh over her homeland's name, and she points to such misunderstandings by titling her video "Born-in-a-Dish." After showing Shafinaz writing on her bed, books at her feet, while she also reads, Shafinaz's video presents viewers with Bangladeshi music in the background as we focus on Shafinaz, who now sits at a computer screen. Then, as the music stops, we shift to Shafinaz's voiceover describing scenes from Bangladesh, though speaking from her apartment in the United States.

Shafinaz reads her poem "Benni Advice":

From the bedroom window,

we look out

at the glistening night sky.

The grimace of the moon

glimmers in the frozen night,

a fusion of gossip, song, and laughter.

Each night my grandma braids my hair,

gliding the comb through the glossy black mass.

Her fingers slip through the thick silkiness,

weaving the strands into a single stream

"A woman is like a braid,"

my grandma tells me.

"Simple, yet complicated,

delicate, but strong
plain, but elegant.


she is a bun,

hidden and constrained"

my grandpa tells me,

"a woman's true beauty,

is Not

what lies on top of her head,

but what she possesses
 beneath it."[Shafinaz sharing writing with Lisa, a peer]

Lisa: I'll tell you what I love about it. You know, it's like, there's such emotion, you know, that goes…there's kind and sweet images to this…you know, to this drop and dramatic and heaviness, you know, is like, also, there's just so many contrasts, it keeps going back and forth….

Shafinza: Oh, I'm glad.

Lisa: Yeah, I think it's fantastic.

Shafinaz then reads her poem, "Born-in-a-Dish," which is included in chapter.