I was educated at the Convent of Jesus and Mary and spent the last three years (of school) at Modern School.
As a child, I learnt sitar from Ravi Shankar and singing from Aminuddin Dagar. Thereafter, I learnt Kathak from the age of six from Shambhu Maharaj and Birju Maharaj, and continued to learn on a daily basis until 1988. I then went on to learn sarod from Biswajit Roy Chowdhury and Amjad Ali Khan. From 1992 to 1995, I undertook a course in theatre direction from Ebrahim Alkazi and was his assistant director in four plays. My association with Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra began in 1968, and I became its director in 1984.
My romance with performing arts began 40 years ago on August 22, 1969. Starting with cataloguing costumes, I went on to costume and ornament design. Then I wrote dance scripts and finally became a producer. The most happening period of my life was the four years with Ebrahim Alkazi.
There is a lot to learn yet. I now feel I should revisit my work and begin my ‘second’ innings. I did, however, have a professional high after the first show of Kala Kendra’s ballet Khajuraho in 1982. The country had never seen such a celebration of erotica with such limb and body movements. It was all over the media. This was also the first time I received fan mail. I have always shared my highs with only one person — my husband (Deepak Singh) who has always encouraged me to attain lofty goals.
My personal highs have been many, the most important being my wedding in 1967, and then again when I received a call on January 25, 1999, that I was nominated for the Padma Shri.
On a personal level, I pursue with passion whatever I undertake. Perhaps this is a reason for my success. I think creativity flourishes the most where there is freedom, and I have had that freedom. I believe the person who goes the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. I have dared.
As told to Pranab Ghosh