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Fix a Heart
February 07, 2013 COMMENT comment
     
Fix a Heart
By Priyanka Chakrabarti
 
 
There are no painkillers for heartache, nor any surgical aid for heartbreaks. Soul-crushing nights and dreadful days seek a friendly support and an unbiased shoulder to cry on. It took Mumbaibased Ankit Anubhav some heartbreaks and an inspirational moment to come up with a solution for that: A helpline for broken hearts!

Named Breakup Helpline (BH), the 25-year-old has come up with this unique concept of a website to help people deal with breakups. "Just register on the website (breakuphelpline.com) and we get back to you within 24 hours. We inquire about your hobbies, what you do and for how long you have been in a relationship. This gives us a brief understanding on where you come from. Once we get the details we start communicating and in the process we figure out the reason of the breakup," explains Anubhav.

After they get a brief idea about their client, based on the previous email exchanges, the team charts down some suggestions and eventually people start opening up. "Gradually, the person directs us into their private sphere and comfort zone. The key here is not to judge them but just act as a support system. From here on, there are two packages – free and paid. The free one includes email assistance and Skype (two sessions) plus an in-depth analysis of how to get over the past. It's not rocket science to forget somebody but the only thing you have to do is to take your mind of her or him. And the best way to start is by getting distracted from the tormented memories and focusing more on things that give you joy," says Anubhav from experience.

How did he come up with the idea? "It's a bit bizarre but I went for a book reading session at the Kalaghoda Festival in Mumbai and stumbled upon an interesting part in the book whilst waiting for the writer. The book was Chocolate, Guitar, Momos by Kenny Deori. On page two, the protagonist was describing how his girlfriend had dumped him and how miserable he felt. He mused that if there was a 'breakup helpline' he would be so much better off minus the alcohol and cigarettes. That was the Eureka moment and thus the venture was born. I, of course, had a few difficult heartbreaks to deal with myself, and rest assured, a shoulder to lean on, some unbiased advice and a positive attitude has always been the key," smiles Anubhav.

BH has a team of seven people – Anshuman and Sandeep take care of the entire algorithm of taking people through the one-month process and even what things to ask on email. Chandni, Naini and Nishti are responsible for the day-to-day operations and Mandeep looks after the marketing.

Speaking with a vulnerable soul often carves the path for a new relationship. So what if a caller falls for someone at BH? "Well, we are humans and if we fall in love, you wouldn't sue us for that; but as of now no such cases have happened. It's very obvious for a person to fall for us in some ways, as we take care and talk to them when their world is shattered. But we explain it to them that they are just falling for us as we care for them and we don't want to be their rebound relationship, which further invites complications. Secondly, we internally have a policy that we don't go around with our clients," he quips.

In a reverse situation, isn't it difficult to stop yourself from being attached to a caller, we ask. And in a filmi reply Anubhav says: "Like Anushka Sharma's character in Band Baaja Baarat, 'Jiske saath vyapaar karo uske saath kabhi na pyar karo' (don't fall in love with the one you work with). At the end of the day it's business for us," he winks.

During the initial setup phase, it was a tough choice between opening a real call centre, a website or a shop. "But after a lot of research, I zeroed down upon having a website. Once the idea was frozen we had a hard time coming up with the methodology to help people get over their exes. It was even more difficult to find managers who would patiently listen to people and also advise them. But touch wood, we figured something out and as of now it's alive and running and most importantly, the reception has been incredible," he tells Diva.

Anubhav has been a television marketing executive, a radio jockey, an engineer, and a long-distance runner in the past. Originally from Odisha, he has always been away from home and believes that his diverse background has helped him run this idea without any roadblocks. And is the 'heart mender' dating himself ? "I am very much single and too busy with others' lives. But if someone comes in my life, she has to accept me the way I am," he says. (Turn over to read a few case studies.)
 

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