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From old hobby to a new skill: Here’s what lockdown learning looks like

From rekindling an old hobby to picking up a new skill, lockdown is bringing out the unknown artist in many of us.

lockdown learning, lockdown lessons, hobbies, indianexpress, revisiting childhood hobbies, rekindling lost passions, cooking, painting, artworks, lettering, knitting, gardening, lockdown cooking, lockdown reading, covid-19, pandemic, india lockdown stories,, From cooking to painting and more, people are going back to old hobbies or learning new skills amid the lockdown. (Source: File Photo)

While the lockdown is challenging, for many, it has been about picking up a new hobby or skill or even going back to something they were “missing for long”. And yes, it is not limited to celebrities like Ayushmann Khurrana who has been writing, revisiting his poetry collection; Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and Kajol Devgan who have been reading and re-reading books; painting like Salman Khan or Jahnvi Kapoor; gardening like Twinkle Khanna and cooking like Malaika Arora.

For Saumya Sahni, who barely finds time amid her tight schedules, painting and lettering, in particular, have been “a change from monotony”.  Remarked Sahni, a 27-year-old advertising professional, “I didn’t know that I could even move a brush without being clumsy but with the help of a friend, I did gather courage to try. I have always been drawn towards art forms especially lettering, so it is fun.” Hand lettering consists of illustrating letters, akin to calligraphy.

Saumya Sahni’s lettering efforts. (Source: Saumya Sahni)

“It is a happy feeling to know, at the end of the day, that you’ve created something. All the drawings have been made using ball pens at home. The mandala has been made with the ball pen and the brown colour has been achieved my mixing coffee in water as per a friend’s suggestion,” Sahni, who is also taking out time for cooking and writing, while working from home, told She added, “It has also enhanced my work productivity. My presentations look decent because I’ve got a hang on aesthetics.”

Cooking is another interest that many have started to work on or been compelled to, in the absence of domestic help. “I have been living in Delhi for the past 10 years but have never cooked. I relied on my maid or ordered online. Now, I watch YouTube videos and make dishes. Being a MasterChef fan, I try to innovate as well. It might sound commonplace, but for me to be able to cook (and get appreciation from my flatmate) is a high point of the day,” mentioned 27-year-old Somali Bajpai, a communications manager.

Somali Bajpai’s tikki. (Source: Somali Bajpai)

While she initially started with just snacks like bread poha and tikkis, she soon realised how she needs to start cooking “real food”. “One day, I decided it was enough. I needed to make my dal, curries, roti and rice. By the end of the lockdown, I am sure, I will make desserts too,” said Bajpai, who tries to infuse the best in a dish with “small tweaks and tricks”. 

For 31-year-old Bhawna Kapoor Bajpai, who has now started whipping up three full-course meals, cooking is the order of the day. “I do cook as a hobby but being locked down gave me an opportunity to  cook three full-fledged meals in a day along with evening tea snacks. I am exploring new recipes as well like suji cheela and aloo bhurji,” she shared.

For 29-year-old Deepika Shriram, playing indoor games has been a childhood interest that she has recently rekindled, albeit online. Ludo and playing cards top the list. Something similar happened with 29-year-old Zeeshan Ali, who catches up with friends for an online game of Ludo, but he also enjoys playing Uno, Snakes and Ladders and carrom with his family in the evenings. “I believe in revisiting my childhood and prefer to play these games with my parents and sisters; we enjoy it thoroughly,” Ali, who has also made it a point to workout for 45 minutes every day told


“I am glad I have started my daily fitness routine which I used to miss very often. After the closure of my business hours, I devote 45 minutes to my workout regime that includes 15 minutes of warm-up exercises and 30 minutes of hardcore workout of three rounds,” he mentioned. 

While some have started writing and reading more, it is the childhood dream of collecting fountain pens that is helping 32-year-old Sriram Athreyah keep himself busy. “I love collecting and using fountain pens. I’ve now sorted my collection, taken them out from the closet, cleaned them, inked them and started using them daily. I’ve added a few to the online cart to buy post lockdown,” he quipped.

Recipes from Bhawna Kapoor Bajpai

Aloo Bhurji 

Aloo Bhurji (Source: Bhawna Kapoor Bajpai)



5-6 no – Medium potato, boiled
2-3 no – Capsicum, chopped
3-4 no – Medium onion, chopped
6-6 no – Medium sized tomatoes pureed
2tbsp – Desi Ghee
4-5 no – Green chillies, chopped
Ginger Garlic paste
1/2tsp – Cumin seeds
1tsp – Turmeric
2tsp – Degi mirch
2tsp – Coriander powder
Salt to taste
1tsp – Amchur powder
2tbsp – Kasoori methi
50ml – Water
1tsp – Curd
Coriander to garnish


*In a kadhai, put desi ghee. Then add cumin, ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute. Then put onions and saute till brown or for about 2-3 minutes. Now add green chillies, tomatoes and capsicum together and put all the masalas too — salt, turmeric, degi mirch, dhania or coriander powder and amchur. Cook till the oil releases or for about 5-10 minutes. Now put boiled potatoes. Break the potatoes with the help of a spatula. Add water and mix well.

*Now put garam masala and kasuri methi. Switch off the flame and add curd, mix well. Garnish it with coriander. Serve hot with chapati/puri/lachha paratha.

Suji cheela


2 cups – Semolina
2tbsp – Gram flour
Salt to taste
Water for mixing
1 no – Capsicum, chopped
1 no – Onion, chopped
1 no – Green chilli, chopped
2tbsp – Coriander powder
1tsp – Degi mirch
1tsp – Coriander powder


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*Take a large mixing bowl. Put semolina, gram flour, salt and water. Mix till smooth. Then keep aside for 30 minutes.
*Now put onion, capsicum, green chillies, degi mirch, dhania powder and coriander. Mix well and add water to adjust consistency.
*Now heat oil in a non-stick tawa and pour the batter. Turn till golden brown from both sides. Serve with sauce or green chutney.

First published on: 16-04-2020 at 06:20:56 pm
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