HYDERABAD: It’s been a year since Covid broke out and we’re still not back to our old lives. It seems like the good ol’ days are gone as Hyderabadis have come to terms with the new normal. They now have ample of time to pursue their passions, with many taking up new hobbies while the pandemic forces them to stay at home.
We take a look at the lives of a few Hyderabadis, who have been using their free time to pursue new interests which help them stay sane amid the chaos. For Deepisha Sharma, who completed her graduation two years ago, 2020 was hell. She had hoped to kick-start her career last year but Covid played spoilsport. Stuck at home indefinitely, Deepisha started to develop anxiety and depression. But poster painting, cooking and baking helped her keep calm. “Pursuing these hobbies made me feel like I was fighting a losing battle,” she recollects.
Saritha Agarwal, a 47-year-old homemaker who opened a boutique in 2019, sees the new normal as a blessing in disguise. At first, she found herself struggling with expenses and orders because of the Covid-imposed lockdown. But things changed for the better later. “We were stuck at home, which seemed like a problem at the time. But I got used to it and started to channel my time towards hand-painting apparel such as suits, handbags and duppattas, and selling these. It was a win-win situation. If things were normal, I would not have found the time for this,” she says.
Amitesh Kulkarni, a final-year graduate from Gunfoundry, claims that lockdown helped him get back to his hobbies and reading is a recent addition. “In a way, lockdown gave me the chance to spend time with myself and improve my writing and singing. I also started practising yoga, which I had given up when I was young,” he says.Devika Das, a content strategist, writer and theatre artist from Begumpet, has been picking up new skills off the Internet. “After watching some YouTube videos, I started to recycle stuff and try out new recipes,” she says.
Dr Diana Monteiro, a psychologist in Secunderabad, emphasises the significance of hobbies in one’s life. “Passing time by doing something one loves, such as hobbies, improves mental health and serves as a way to unwind. Those who do not have a hobby might struggle the most to get through this difficult period because they have little else to do with their time, which affects their mental health,” she says. We can safely say that these people have got it right. We are all in this pandemic together and protecting our mental health is just as important as protecting our physical health.