"Painting is my bread and butter but, more than anything else, it is my passion! I love what I do and do it with pure dedication and perseverance, which shows in my work."
"I was born and brought up in the Mithila district of Bihar. Mithila is the place where Madhubani painting originated and every household – young and old — practices this beautiful art. It is a tradition to know how to paint in the Madhubani style.
"As a child, I saw my mother and people at home painting everyday, so I was naturally drawn to this art at a very young age. I would often see women and men painting their beautiful homes with colorful Madhubani art.
"I paint figures from mythological stories and other traditional themes. People in Mithila are close to nature and our lives aren't extravagant. This is what I depict in my paintings. Simple themes like nature, animals, birds and our surroundings remain the main theme of all my Madhubani art. I also depict Hindu gods and goddesses like Lord Rama, Sita Syambar, Radha, Krishna, and Raas Leela.
"I am greatly inspired by my mother, Leela Devi, who has earned awards in Madhubani painting. She inspires me to create more quality work so that it gets recognition. It's a big honor to win a national award and one needs to work with dedication, heart and soul.
"Painting is my bread and butter but, more than anything else, it is my passion! I love what I do and do it with pure dedication and perseverance, which shows in my work. I always aim for quality rather than quantity.
"I use natural materials like handmade khadi paper. We obtain colors from charcoal, burned brown rice, tamarind, plants and tree bark. All of the colors and paper are prepared by artist themselves.
"I also teach students and aspiring artists who wish to learn this traditional art, which helps to preserve it. Like other traditional art forms, Madhubani painting is also diminishing so I always encourage young boys and girls to learn this craft.
"I come from a humble family and had my share of rough patches in life. I married into a farmer's family and we had to struggle to make ends meet. I helped by working from home as well as in farming. At night, we would paint. As they say, life is a struggle and there is nothing like the joy and satisfaction of overcoming your difficulties.
"Initially, I had no place to sell my paintings so they would mostly go to middlemen who would buy them from me and sell them under their names.
"I learned from that experience and I am now able to sell my creations in my own name and get a better price as well. The best thing about my work is seeing people who admire and display them in their homes — what a joy!
"Now, I host between six to ten workshops a year in different schools. I previously headed a four-month training program with help of the Indian government and will soon offer another."