By Manoj Sharma
Hindustan Times, New Delhi.
Ankit Anubhav, 27, spends a lot of time these days writing love letters, not to his girlfriends but to a number of clients.
Anubhav is in the business of pampering people out of heartbreak and his hand-written letters are part of various packages he offers to his clients coping with a breakup.
In the past two years, his company Breakuphelpline has helped about 37,000 people, he claims.
“I am a heart cobbler and my job is to try and help clients get over the emotional distress caused by a heartbreak. And mind you, people are suffering from heartbreaks like never before. Eighty-four percent of my clients are women in the 18-30 age group. What makes my job more difficult is the fact that most of them have suffered heartbreaks twice and thrice,” said Anubhav, who quit his job as a marketing professional to set up Breakuphelpline.
Anubhav has designated himself as ‘the chief cobbler’ of the company.
His company offers packages such as a mini breakup kit, breakup kit and mega breakup kit. A mini breakup kit includes services such as meeting the clients in person and arranging an outdoor event for them — helping them forget their past and preparing them for a future date.
The validity of a breakup package is one month, though sometimes it takes as long as six months for clients to start moving on.
Clients have to pay in advance and also pay for those extra months. Helping people out of a heartbreak is quite a task, he says.
“Recently we had a woman from Delhi who was in a relationship with a married man in her Gurgaon office. The man was first transferred to Bangalore and then to New Zealand where he married another woman. But this woman, an IT professional, started travelling to New Zealand, not willing to accept the fact the man had ditched her. It took us four months to help her forget this man,” said Anubhav.
“Recently, I wrote 74 letters to a girl who told us that her ex-boyfriend used to write her lots of letters. The idea was to make her feel better,” he added.
Anubhav said that while most of his clients are from cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, people from smaller towns such as Jamshedpur, Patna and Ranchi also approach him.
And 84 % of his clients, he claimed, were women. “It does not necessarily mean that more men are breaking hearts of woman. But, perhaps men are tougher and believe that they can handle a heartbreak themselves,” he said.
Anubhav has a team of 18 people, all in the age group of 26-34 years. He picks and choose who works with which client on a case-by-case basis. “If a girl has suffered a couple of heartbreaks, I would rather send a girl to handle her case; a girl would be more comfortable talking to her than a guy. I and my team have about 100 meetings in a week with our clients,” said Anubhav.
He admits that a lot of people are cynical about his business. “They feel I am making money out of heartbreaks. But the fact is that we provide a service that is helpful to people. I can hardly sleep; my clients call me in the middle of night, and I never say no to them,” he said.
While Anubhav is in the business of mending broken hearts, others like Delhi-based Hitesh Dhingra, 34, and Bangalore-based Siddharth Mangharam, 40, help people find love.
Dhingra said it was a whole new business opportunity that prompted him to sell his electronics retail venture LetsBuy to Flipkart and set up ‘TrulyMadly’, an application that helps identify right partners according to psychometric tests through an algorithm.
“India has about 100 million singles (over the age of 21 years) and they are looking for partners. In fact, youngsters in the age group of 21-26 years make up 60 percent of our registered members. For this young tech-savvy population, traditional matrimonial websites, which are generally managed by family members, are not cool,” said Dhingra.
TrulyMadly assigns trust score to every profile and sends matches to registered members based on location, educational and professional qualifications. “What youngsters are looking for these days is compatibility, and not caste. It is an evergreen business,” said Dhingra, who launched the company with Sachin Bhatia and Rahul Kumar on Valentine’s Day this year. It has 70,000 registered users and claims to have matched about 11,2500 profiles so far.
Unlike Dhingra, who connects single through an app, Siddharth Mangharam helps singles connect in the real world.
He quit his job at Microsoft to set up single’s network Floh with his wife Simran. The company organises events such as wine tasting, heritage walks, dinners for singles in the age of 25-35 years in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. It offers various packages ranging from Rs. 7,500 for three months to Rs. 15,000 for a year.
“Our events are very interactive and ensure that two people get to know each other well and develop a chemistry. The idea is to bring together singles with common interests in real life. We ensure that we introduce at least 50 people to those who have bought our quarterly plan,” claimed 40-year-old Mangharam.
Floh has over one lakh registered users and 2,000 — including about 1,000 in Mumbai and 500 in Bangalore — have paid for various plans. “We conduct personal interviews before a person can become the part of our network. My present business is more exciting and fulfilling than what I was doing earlier,” Mangharam proudly said.