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On social media timelines, pictures and videos abound of home-cooked meals, indoor fitness routines, virtual soirees of friends in a video chat screenshot, and parents doing art and craft projects with their children. Working from home is a new experience for many Indians, carrying on their professional work within their personal space at this time of mandated social distancing. Though the time saved from long commutes and frequent travel is used to binge watch TV shows and family activities, it has also given many the chance to explore hobbies and develop skills that they did not make time for before.

Abhijeet Dhar, director of sales at CNN International and a frequent business traveller, is familiar with working remotely, but the blend of work, family and leisure in the same space is new for him.

“I have picked up calligraphy. I’ve always wanted to do it and now with more time, it’s given me a perfect opportunity to take it up. Initially, it is a little tedious and therefore, this extra time definitely helps," he says.

Certain pursuits are born out of necessity and to deal with solitude, like cooking for Tanima Saha, who works at a publishing house.

“When I cook, it feels therapeutic and relieves me of any stress I may be feeling. It makes me forget that I’m alone for now and that I haven’t met my family or friends for days. It’s certainly healthier than other alternatives," she says.

Taking a course to develop a skill or knowledge is something Richa Vatsala, national revenue head at Wittyfeed, a content marketing company, has chosen to pursue.

“I am doing a canine nutrition course," she says, finding time amid a schedule of housework, family time and her professional work. “I am also trying a new thing each day—gardening, painting, pickling, crafts and soap-making."

Would they be able to sustain their new found interests once they’re back to their regular schedules? “I will for sure," says Dhar. “We can always make time. We just tend not to. This (the lockdown) has allowed that excuse to be removed from the equation."

Saha agrees. “I’m hoping to develop a love for my own cooking in this period so that I don’t have an option but to keep cooking even after life returns to normal," she says.Lockdown Diary documents how working from home is affecting our lives.Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com

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