Just been dumped? Being real strong on the outside but crying for help inside? Your friend’s shoulder may not be broad enough for those copious tears — but help is at hand, in the form of a breakup helpline, no less. This month, 25 year-old marketing executive, Anubhav, (who doesn’t reveal his last name), launched Breakup Helpline (www.breakuphelpline.com) to mend broken hearts.
The idea, he says, was sitting on the second page of a book called Chocolate, Guitar, Momos by Kenny Deori, which Anubhav flipped through at the Kala Ghoda Festival in the city in February this year. “The protagonist of the book described how his girlfriends had dumped him and how miserable he felt. He continued to say that if there were a breakup helpline, he would have been much better off without the alcohol and cigarettes that usually follow the breakup. Literally then, came the dramatic realisation,” he says, and the helpline was born.
In March, Anubhav, with his team of three, launched the website on a small scale to test their new idea. After a mix of both positive and negative responses, the quartet formally launched their website on July 3. The venture now has 50 members from the country —the largest client base is in Mumbai followed by Delhi, and nine international members from the US, UK, Spain, Italy and Turkey have signed up.
“According to our research, we can say that people can get over relationships faster if their mind is distracted,” says Anubhav. The helpline operates via email and Skype and promise to reply within 24 hours. All you need to do is register on the website and wait for their ‘side-effect managers’ to contact you. The first email and a 30 minute-long Skype session are free. After you register on the website for Rs 2,500 a month, the frequency of the emails and Skype sessions depends on the client’s requirement, and the exercise involves two psychologists, Anubhav and his co-founder, who’s also a filmmaker.
“We then email the client and get to know him/her better in terms of hobbies, background and so on. Once we realise that the client trusts us and is comfortable, we slowly delve into deeper questions about the relationship and move towards outlining ways so the client can move on without being bitter.”
“Ideas will come and go but in our field it is the service that people will remember us for,” says Anubhav. The services that this helpline provides are customised to fit exactly what the client wants. “For instance, one of our clients in Spain preferred hand-written letters over emails because her boyfriend used to send her letters. Another client was a dancer and sought a dance to get over her ex. So, our team put up a small dance for her via Skype.”
The team’s motto, says Anubhav, is to connect with people and gain their trust. “We are now working on creating awareness that taking help from an unknown — but trustworthy — source is not always a wrong thing,” says Anubhav.