Published: 24th January 2020
How artist Ayushee Ghoshal's latest spoken word slam ties together Sylvia Plath and Sita
Ayushee Ghoshal performed her most powerful piece yet, Patterns, at The Habitat Studios in Mumbai to speak about why toxic patterns need to be broken
For someone who is a spoken word poet today, saying that Ayushee Ghoshal had stage fright is an understatement. Nausea, anxiety, panic attacks and breathlessness — all this used to wreck Ayushee before she went on stage, ever since she was in school. All this despite the fact that she loved the stage. And the only way she has gotten around to cracking this problem now is by keeping at it. Facing the stage, again and again till the symptoms were reduced to sweaty palms and good nervous energy alone. Her latest spoken word performance, Patterns, references poet Slyvia Plath, Lord Ram and her friends and by doing this, it highlights the fact that it is only when we break patterns are we free from what binds us. Just like she broke her nervous pattern by not giving up.
Ayushee Ghoshal | (Pic: Ayushee Ghoshal)
Spot the pattern
If you look closely, you will discover patterns in everything. And in the middle of one particular night, this particular thought occurred to the screenplay writer and she immediately woke up, jotted the though down and went back to sleep. Next morning, she reflected on her friends' stories of toxic relationships (where they kept going back to the same person despite being mistreated or abused). And as a poet who has been writing since childhood, she thought of another poet — Slyvia Plath who famously kept trying to take her life and finally, took it by shoving her head in an oven. "Did you know her son, Nicholas Hughes, also took his life?" asked Ayushee. She also used the reference of how Sita was asked to leave Lord Ram (calling them Shyam and Geeta instead) due to a subtle question which had risen regarding her fidelity and poured it all into Patterns.
Art that helps
How did this yen for poetry come about? Not from a happy place. This writer was abused as a child which is why she took to poetry. "It helped me pour out my feelings," says Ayushee. In her previous work, she has touched upon other sensitive topics like for her collaboration with Vitamin Stree, the YouTube channel, for a video called My Anxiety. She has even written a book titled 4 AM Conversations which was published by Half Baked Beans. So, in many ways, art has helped her break the patterns in her life that she thought she was stuck with.
Ayushee, who is a Bengali brought up in Patna, studied law at Christ University. She came to Mumbai in the year 2017 to make it big as a screenwriter, putting her command over poetry to good use, and actor. She has written the additional screenplay and dialogues for Ragini MMS 2 on ALTBalaji, the video-on-demand platform and has done other work too. Now that she has broken the pattern of sticking to law and venturing out to do what her heart tells her to do, she hopes that through her poem, people find the courage to break their toxic patterns too.