Thanks to her hard work, Jaya, who has completed her M.A. and B.Ed, also works as a teacher in a school. However, she wants to achieve something new in her paintings. In her art, she has seen an opportunity. Jaya has dedicated herself to teaching her art, especially to the children. She has trained 1,442 children to create art with humble peepal leaves and wheat straws. Many of these children have found in art means of self-employment, their livelihood.
Jaya Verma, the first leaf artist of Uttarakhand, told this newspaper, “There are two ways of working with a leaf. For one, if we want to paint on a dried leaf, we soak it to remove its veins. Then we let it dry before we paint on it. Other times, painting is done directly on green leaves, which are then dried. This process takes 2-3 days to complete.”
Jaya’s marriage is associated with a tragic incident. On the day of Jaya’s wedding, a bus accident near Bageshwar resulted in the death of 21 people, including her aunt Munni Devi, arriving on the same bus to attend Jaya’s wedding. Munni Devi had taught Jaya the intricacies of art, leaf painting.
Jaya says, “Whenever I achieve something, it feels like I am paying tribute to my departed aunt, and every rupee earned from painting feels like a blessing from her.”