A portal for confessions, anonymously, takes off in India

SharingDard.com draws more than 42,000 users in 5 months.

By Rajiv Theodore

NEW DELHI: In their quest to unravel the mind (and heart), philosophers have termed it as the eternity; modern science is still struggling to place a finger on it. Albert Einstein loved to call it the “thoughts of god”. It is a phenomenon that we have little understanding of but the existence of the mind and heart is the core of life. Its rarefied inner recesses is home to myriad emotions both known and unknown which eventually give us the reasons to live and sometimes not to.

Attempting a journey into this little known realm are four young graduates of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow, who have thrown in their combined bit to help people grapple with the matters of the mind and heart, with a portal called SharingDard (www.SharingDard.com), literally meaning ‘sharing grief’.

It is arguably the first such attempt at a virtual confessional platform, where users can openly share emotions, feelings, grief and secrets; any sort of psychological turmoil that they are going through, without revealing true identities. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace offer solid identity to individuals and not many prefer to talk about the dark side of their personal life at the cost of maiming identity.

“People tend to put their best foot forward when using such social networks,” Sukumaran Suresh, an user at SharingDard writes.

At SharingDard.com, users can register an anonymous account and list their life stories under seven sections. These sections include Jobs, Career, Family Issues, Love and Relationship trauma, Social Taboos, Matrimony Search, I Feel Lonely and Other (for miscellaneous posts). Outside visitors can read posts posted by users and if they wish, to post their views, suggestions and encouragement; they need to register as well. The website also provides loads of language options.
The website has more than 42,000 registered users worldwide and gets visitors from around 80 plus countries, as of Saturday.

Secrets, fantasies, love and of course, grief, impacts our lives each day but we have little control over them. A lot of times people find themselves facing or having faced situations which hurt them emotionally and the concomitant emotional disturbances that occur suggests that this emotional disturbance can be reduced if one speaks it out or shares it with those who had similar experiences.

SharingDard was founded in 2012, but the idea began from a room of IIM Lucknow where the founders used to hang out. And it was during such sessions that they conversed on life and problems. They then began to conceive of an answer to light up the problems through modern technology which eventually led to the birth of the portal.

The young founders: Sumant Gajbhiye, Gaurav Rajan, Ritika Sharma and Lima James are unanimous about one thing about SharingDard — people have been very  helpful to each other while managing a crisis.

It has various revenue sources, the primary one being its tele-counseling arm called ‘Your Candid Friend’ (www.yourcandidfriend.com). Other revenue streams include advertisements, integrated e-commerce site and a commission based model with psychologists/counselors/psychiatrists.

Research shows that the tele-counseling market in India focuses on mental health and emotional wellness and is likely to be worth Rs. 1,100 crore. Till date, very few companies have ventured into this niche and this five-month old start-up has ambitiously stepped into this lucrative horizon.

To contact the author, email to editor@americanbazaaronline.com

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