While she was working towards the commercial pilot license in 1939, World War II broke out and civil training was suspended. Later her husband died in a crash. She abandoned her plans to become a commercial pilot, returned to Lahore and joined the Mayo School of Art where she trained in the Bengal school of painting and obtained a diploma in fine arts. She was also a dedicated follower of the Arya Samaj.
After the Partition she moved to Delhi with her two daughters where she met her second husband P. P. Thakral and married him in 1948. Sarla, also known as Mati, became a successful businesswoman, painter and began designing clothes and costume jewellery.
She died in 2009.