Now, a start-up in Kolkata for online booking of funeral services

  • Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Jul 12, 2016 15:15 IST
Shruthi Reddy, former techie, has launched the services. (Facebook photo)

She has been receiving death news almost every day over the past three months.

Families in mourning, living in and around Kolkata are calling her over organising hassle free and peaceful funeral rites of their near and dear ones.

And she takes charge – from organising body preservation to getting the hearse van and certified priests for Hindus and Shikhs, providing funeral helpers and conducting ‘Shradh ceremony’ – different packages for different communities. Her services can be booked online too.

Shruthi Reddy, a former techie who hails from Hyderabad and lives in Kolkata, has launched an end-to-end funeral services providing agency barely six months ago, and has started getting success. Her start-up, ‘Anthyesti Funeral Services Private Ltd’, has handled 60 cases mid-March and end-June. The services can be booked online as well.

“There are many people living in Kolkata, especially non-Bengalis and the Bengali families whose close ones are NRIs, who have no one to help when they need to organise a funeral. We provide the entire service, from bringing the hearse van, completion of the cremation and ‘Shradh’ ceremony to deportation of bodies abroad when necessary,” Reddy told HT.

A few days ago, when a Bangladeshi citizen died while travelling in Kolkata, the family members contacted Reddy. She made necessary arrangements for preserving the body and later deporting it to Bangladesh.

Kolkata-based Gopal Sharaf took their help in getting mobile freezer boxes and embalmers to preserve his uncle’s body for three days.

“As families are getting smaller, more people are in need of help for organising funeral rites of their close ones. We maintain links to the police, hospital authorities, mortuaries and foreign embassies to ensure the mourning families face no further harassment,” she said.

The idea of launching an agency to provide funeral assistance came to Reddy last year, when she organised the funeral of a relative. She experienced the hassle that many people feel helplessly because they do not have any one around to assist.

As of now, her company provides funeral helpers at four crematoriums in the city – Keoratala, Nimtala, Garia Adimahasmashan and Ramakrishna Mahasmashan.

Among Hindus, they provide services for Bengalis, Arya Samajis, Biharis, Marwaris, Sindhis and Punjabis.

The package for Bengalis is the cheapest, as they have less funeral rites to be performed. It ranges between Rs 40,000 and 45,000 – which includes from hiring the hearse van to completion of ‘Shradh’ ceremony with vegetarian meal for about 60 guests. However, the package for people from Bihar and Gujarat range between Rs 75,000 and Rs 80,000. The package for Marwaris is above Rs 1 lakh.

“The package for communities differs because they have different rites and rituals. While the Bengalis prefer the electrical crematoriums, non-Bengalis prefer the wooded pyre. Marwaris and Gujaratis have longer puja sessions compared to those of Bengalis,” she said.

However, services can be sought for any particular rite as well. According to Reddy, only those who have no one in the city to help opt for the whole package, while most of the their clients sought their service for specific requirements – hiring hearse van or mobile freezer boxes or getting a priest and funeral helpers, among others.

“Our aim is to standardise the unregulated funeral rites industry,” Reddy told HT.

Last rites package rates:

Hiring the hearse van to completion of ‘Shradh’ ceremony with vegetarian meal for about 60 guests

Bengali package: Rs 40,000-45,000

Bihari and Gujarati packages: Rs 75,000-Rs 80,000

Marwari package: Rs 1 lakh and above

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