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Women's Helpline Turns Agony Aunt

Published: 23rd February 2015 05:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd February 2015 07:35 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government’s helpline 181 is for women in distress. However, now the facility has turned into a busy agony aunt of sorts. Counsellors patiently hear endless quirky stories of unfulfilled dreams and personal problems and act on requests for help.

Recently, a woman called up 181 saying she wanted to marry Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor and threatened to commit suicide if she couldn’t get the necessary help to realise her wish.

Some talk of problems involving sex and others want parents to be convinced about love marriages.

Several others wish to study further and want the helpline’s staff to talk to their parents. Women with sex-related and personal problems too call up the helpline number.

Hapless counsellors try their best to address the issues and often refer cases for medical help.

The helpline, which was introduced after the Nirbhaya incident of December 2012, to help women in distress has received as many as 30,132 calls asking for personal help. Khadijah Faruqui, who is heading the 20-member helpline team, told Express, “We receive as many as 100 calls per day. Of these, nearly half the callers require assistance regarding their personal life. We patiently hear out all of them and advise accordingly.”

Recalling an incident that occurred a week ago, before Valentine’s Day, Faruqui said, “We received a call from a college-going girl. She said she wanted to marry Bollywood celebrity Shahid Kapoor or else she would commit suicide. She sought our help. Realising the sensitivity of the issue, we counselled her and asked her to call us back if she needed any emotional support,” she said.

Whacky requests

■ “I want to get married to the boy of my choice, please convince my parents”

■ “Which school is best for my child to get admitted to? Please help.”

■ “I want to do engineering but my parents are not allowing, please talk to my parents.”

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