Born and raised in India, I grew up in a joint family in the historic city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
When I think of stories, my first memory is of our Ba (a Gujarati word for grandma) telling us a story every night. She didn't know how to read or write, but she spoke of several experiences, beliefs, myths, legends, fables and folktales.
I graduated in Indian classical dance and music and also learnt to paint and draw, while in school. Many stories were told through these art forms.
I went on to study architecture where I met my husband, and after marrying, we moved to the United States. I worked as an Urban Design Consultant for Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council in South Florida before deciding to stay home for our three children.
While raising the kids, I searched for books that would help them understand where we came from. But since those kind of books were hard to find in America, they traveled with us from India- once every year, in large quantities, packed in suitcases, along with pickles and spices. With every trip, our collection of heroes and legends, kings and demons, gods and goddesses, and myths and fables from India grew larger and larger. Apart from that, I also told stories to my children, every night. Some were my experiences as a child, and some were fables, myths and legends passed on from grandparents and great grandparents. Surprisingly, they had stayed with me through all these years. I realized the power of storytelling, and that's when I decided to write for a larger audience.
I learnt a new medium for telling my stories; through picture books. I read hundreds of picture books and while every book taught me something, I am still learning the craft of writing. Making Picture Book Magic, The Craft & Business of Writing Children's Picture Books, ReFoReMo, 12x12, PiBoIdMo, SCBWI, and my local critique groups continue to help me grow as a writer.
As of today, in spite of Diversity in the publishing industry, there still aren't many picture books rooted in Indian themes and there is hardly any trace of that rich ancient culture in the body of Children’s literature in America. With my background and a growing passion for storytelling, I feel my work is a valuable addition to reflect that part of the world.
When I am not reading or writing a picture book, I enjoy reading adult fiction. I also enjoy cooking as much as I enjoy eating. I love wearing Saris and adding to my collection of Saris gives me a great joy. I also love to sing and dance to Bollywood music. Apart from all of this, I take great pleasure in spending time with my family.