A 19-year-old mother from Ahmedabad recently rang up a women’s helpline seeking help to get a divorce from her husband so that she could live with her gaming partner. An avid PUBG (Players Unknown Battleground) player, the woman played the popular multiplayer online game with her partner on a constant basis, said officials from the helpline— ‘Abhayam-181′.
Responding to the woman’s plea, Abhayam assigned a counselling team, which then visited her house and talked to the family enquiring about the issue. The team found out that she had been spending much time on her mobile phone playing PUBG, which created differences between her and the family.
Project head of Abhayam 181 helpline Narendrasinh Gohil told The Indian Express that on an average, the helpline received about 550 calls a day, of which “around 90 had to be addressed by a team of counsellors that visited their homes”. He added that this was the first call of its kind. Usually, mothers would call complaining about children addicted to PUBG, said Gohil.
Sonal Sagathiya, the counseller in charge, who met the woman, advised her to reconsider her decision. “She was further offered to stay at a rehabilitation centre in Ahmedabad. However, she refused because it did not allow the use of mobile phones,” said Sagathiya.
“As a policy of Abhayam helpline, the counsellors didn’t force a decision on the lady and just counselled her on the options available to her. The woman said she needs time to think about it and will call the helpline if she needs further help,” Gohil added.
(Shashank Raj is an intern with the Indian Express, Ahmedabad)