From collecting sneakers signed by Boris Becker to fitness advice, PR pros share their away from work passion

COVID-19 has given our PR professionals the space to pursue some of hobbies and interests. From collecting sneakers (even some signed by Usain Bolt and Boris Becker!) to mimicry, from next level fitness to amazing choir singing and decoupage; communication professionals in India speak to PRmoment India about what is keeping them sane and engaged during this unprecedented pandemic.

Gokul, M, director PR Pundit, sneaker enthusiast and DIY furniture builder 

Gokul collects sneakers, for the 15 years now. He have about 150 pairs and counting.Gokul shares that, "I like to collect unique and limited edition pairs. Have a few of them which are signed by athletes like Boris Becker and Usain Bolt."

Gokul with his Puma sneaker signed by Boris Becker

How did Gokul manage these prized signatures? For Boris Becker, Gokul managed to attend a promotional party for Becker in Delhi, got him to sign the sneakers with the tag line "17 Forever!" This references the fact that Becker was the youngest Grand Slam winner in tennis history! always love to get dressed and go out with my friends but due to the Covid-19 we were not able to move out so to cheer up myself and to work on the skills I used to find peace by doing make-up. According to many, make-up is just a heavy task but for me getting dressed and ready is a hobby a passion that takes time to lead to perfection.

The Usain Bolt signature was a result of winning a contest where he designed the Puma cat with the colours of the Jamaican flag and added a tag line saying " You can't stop the Bolt."

My love for sneakers started in high school influenced by old school hip hop and rap. Off late collecting sneakers have become a trend and a lot more people are into it now. I do something called the #FridayFlex where I post a picture as a story on my insta profile of the sneakers I am wearing and my followers send me pictures of their sneakers – I get about a 100 odd every Friday and I repost them."

Mehak Arora, account director, Ruder Finn India, next level fitness expert

Mehak Arora's fitness videos tend to spur a mixture of motivation and a bit of fear. Seeing her do functional training in a park on a Sunday or ace burpees when one is still curled up is not for the faint hearted. It is precisely this level of commitment that has inspired Mehak's colleagues at Ruder Finn to look at fitness seriously during the lockdown.

Says Arora, "Fitness keeps me motivated at all times. I’ve been working out for more than three years now. Covid-19 and time at home gave me the chance to take this a level-up and invest not just in myself but also help others tap that fit journey button. I feel workouts or any form of physical activity certainly helps ease out stress. This has been proven by many studies based on in-depth health insights. My workout class with RFers had a trickledown effect, as it didn’t just motivate me but was also an energy booster for my colleagues. Since I trained them on some beginner exercises, they loved the pace and finished the complete session with me."

Her training sessions are available at her Instagram handle.

Mehak Arora at her workout, planks away!

Anasuya M. Chatterjee, vice president, editorial content, Edelman India, food maven

Anasuya Chatterjee, has put her food philosophy to good use during the lockdown phase, "Post lockdown, I helped colleagues with recipes and food hacks and have created mini videos for those new to cooking. I did a WFH cooking module as part of our weekly townhall."

Anasuya Chaterjee ( extreme right) with her colleagues at a pot luck in pre COVID times

Adds Chaterjee, " I also believe in zero wastage cooking – If I peel potatoes for a dish, I use the peels to create a separate food item. I use vegetable peels a lot to create accompaniments for rice. I recycle leftovers to create new dishes - dals go into creating parathas, or leftover chicken/mutton become fillings for kathi rolls. Recycling and zero wastage is something I have learnt well from my household help in Kolkata."

Piyush Sharma, media consultant, On Purpose, heavy metal aficionado and biker 

Piyush Sharma definitely has a rock n roll air about him, with his graffiti T shirt and long  hair suited for head banking sessions.

Sharma with his other love, bikes

Says Sharma, " I started listening to heavy metal bands during my teenage years. As is the nature of adolescence, it was a chaotic time, with hormonal changes kicking in, the will to rebel against every established notion and conformity raging, trapped amidst grown-ups seemingly impossible to connect with, who kept on asking about future plans. In this background, I found catharsis and solace in the rawness, aggression in that genre of music. It became a way for me to vent out all the frustration, anger and negativity. Although my playing preferences have evolved a lot of the last decade, I still plug in my guitar whenever I feel low or I need an adrenaline rush. I love to collect guitars."

Here is Sharma, jamming away with his guitars on display:

Nimita Kapadia, senior account manager, PR Pundit, art in a food bowl 

A fitness enthusiast, Nimita Kapadia has recently taken to building smoothie art! 

Kapadia explains, "A hobby I very recently picked up during the beginning of quarantine is creating my own smoothie bowls for breakfast. Initially it just started off as a means to feed myself some breakfast, as time passed by I started finding art in food. Today smoothie making gives me peace, it sets the artist in me free and it’s so healthy that it keeps me super energized to pull through a hectic day!"

A smoothie bowl of art crated by Nimita Kapadia

Pooja Khatri, digital marketing associate with a leading healthcare firm

Decoupage kettle by Pooja Khatri

Coloured paper makes Pooja Khatri. She says, "I would like to share about my recently embraced hobby called 'Decoupage' which is the art of decorating an object by gluing colorued paper cutouts onto it in combination with paint effects, and other decorative elements. It's an old European art when people used to refurbish their furniture with colourful papers.So, during the lockdown, I have actually gotten into Decoupage and learnt something wonderful for myself and to give to my friends/colleagues.

Adds Khatri, "My parents, friends are surprised to see my creations as I was never into any art and craft. The time gave me the time to test my potential and multiple ways to stay sane and joyful!"

Ekta Joshi, management associate, 2020 MSL, hip hop dancer 

Dance is what 'moves' Ekta Joshi. She says, "It's been over a year for me taking professional hip-hop training but my initial learnings and inspiration started 4 years ago through YouTube tutorials."

Ekta conducting a dance webinar for her MSL colleagues

Joshi explains, "When the lockdown was announced, working from home turned out to be a struggle and taking breaks was a difficult task. Thus being a fun officer at work, I in collaboration with my manager decided to arrange a virtual dance session. Conducting that session was relaxing, enlightening and in the end made me feel proud about myself because these tough times did make me question my abilities.

Eventually when I shared my passion and joy with everyone who not only loved it but were also able to release their stress with me, really made me feel good."

Shirsha Majumder, senior account executive, Adfactors PR, Vines Enthusiast and social commentator 

Shirsha Majumder has been deadline with COVID anxiety by making raw, honest videos. she shares, "I found a way to deal with the anxious times, I wanted others too, to take life easy and find out funny bits in their everyday routine and have a good laugh about them. The unique part hence, would be the kind of simple yet relatable videos I make, capturing all moments that one faces during the lockdown. I call them Quarantine & Chill series with episodes on conversations with Mother/Friends/Boss. I make them all at home. Instead of me playing different characters that is found common in other videos, I make my sister, colleagues, and friends play the respective roles.

Check her Instagram out here.

Michelle Lalrempuii Khiangte, senior account executive, Nucleus Public Relations, Gospel singer

It took a near fatal accident to turn Michelle Lalrempuii Khiangte to Gospel music exclusively. Sharing her story Khiangte says, " The decision to sing solely Gospel music happened 14 years ago when I became a born – again Christian. In 2006, my family and I had a life-changing experience when we met with a near fatal car accident which could have taken all our lives. This incident spoke words to me that we have been clearly given a second chance in life as a family. It was then that I not only became a born-again Christian but a singer who had dedicated her voice solely to sing Gospel music."

Check out her wonderful singing here:


Apart from holding webinars on tax and investment as a means to empower friends, Anugya Sinha also turned to soap making, " I enjoy the feel of making or creating something on my own. Soap-making one such art, in which I can mix and match the ingredients as per my requirements. This also made for a good reunion gift for my colleagues, when I met them after 2 + months of lockdown.

Gursha Khanna, PR executive, makeup enthusiast

Gursha Khanna practising her make up skills

For Gursha Khanna, it was make up that gave her a lot of comfort and relief during the pandemic, "I always love to get dressed and go out with my friends but due to the Covid-19 we were not able to move out so to cheer up myself and to work on the skills I used to find peace by doing make-up. According to many, make-up is just a heavy task but for me getting dressed and ready is a hobby a passion that takes time to lead to perfection."

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