I’m about 38 now. When I was 15 my father went to India to earn money. Coming back, he brought many things that were necessary for a wedding. Although those things were all second quality, I was looking forward to the wedding. I hoped to marry in Janakpurdham and that way I would gain some freedom. In town the people usually are less traditional, more liberal. My husband and I knew each other because his aunt lived in our village. My parents had to pay 15,000 rupees for dowry. My in-laws also requested a radio and a bicycle. To me, my father gave only a hansuli (silver necklace) because jewelry lasts a long time whereas other things can easily break.
I learned to paint by myself, from what I saw painted on different houses. Usually I painted at night in the courtyard. My parents asked me to do it during the day, but then there was so much other work that I kept on painting during the night. Our neighbors saw my paintings and asked me to paint their houses. So I started painting houses for festivals. Because I like painting so much and because we needed the money, I wanted to join JWDC. So a friend told me to paint my house during festival time. During that time, people from the Center were going to villages to find new artists. I painted my house and was chosen. At the beginning, my neighbors did not want me to work at the Center, but since I earned money my work was accepted. Starting from the first money (500 rupees) that I earned, I managed to save 10,000 rupees to build a shop. With two incomes my husband and I could afford to send our four children to school.
Usually I paint daily life situations and tattoos. Tattoos are very important in our culture. If you do not have tattoos, people will not accept you as a member of society. For example, no one will touch your food because they think it will not be tasty.