Dulari is an unlettered girl from a small fishing village in Bihar. Being poor meant that even as a child, she had to work: helping in the fields, cooking for others, selling fish. In short, she led a life of drudgery from which there seemed to be no escape.
Until that one magical moment when life suddenly seemed transformed, filing her with hope and giving her something to look forward to. Something that had seemed far away and unattainable in her present situation.
In her words,
"Then one day, when I was passing the village pond, a strange thing happened. As I stood and looked, the scene turned into a picture in my mind. It came alive, bright and lively, telling stories. I was happy the whole day, thinking of my picture."
A little later, as she performed her menial tasks in the house of an artist where she was employed, Dulari saw the light at the end of the tunnel. She decided that, that was what she wanted to do - to draw and paint. Her moment of epiphany at the pond started to get actualized and soon she was on her way to becoming an artist.
Transcribed by Gita Wolf, this book is the true story of Dulari, in which she talks in simple and lucid terms of her life and her aspirations. All of it beautifully captured, in the brillaintly coloured Madhubani art form. In her painings she seamlessly blends modern images, such as, Raju, the icecream seller, children playing cricket, with the traditional forms and images.
Vividly illustrated, each page is a powerful visual narrative – women working in the fields, selling fish, cooking, cleaning, drawing and painting. If children were to look closely at the images, they would be thrilled to find many interesting details hidden within - birds, fish, nests with fledgelings and more.
This book works at several levels. One, it narrates the typical life of a girl in an Indian village. Secondly, it educates, albeit informally, about the vibrant Madhubabi style of folk art, and most important, it conveys a subtle motivational message of hope to children - Follow your dream!