Designer funerals anyone? These farewell planners make a killing from the living | lifestyle | Hindustan Times
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Designer funerals anyone? These farewell planners make a killing from the living

With more and more establishments offering customised services, a growing number of people are planning their farewell in advance.

CPFW Updated: May 12, 2017 20:57 IST
Shara Ashraf
Pre-planned funeral
With more and more establishments offering customised services, a growing number of people are planning their farewell in advance.(Representational photo)

Subodh Upadhaya (name changed on request), a 68-year-old exporter, says he has always done things in his own style. And he doesn’t want any change in the rule even for his funeral.

Upadhaya has registered with a funeral establishment that specialises in customising cremations and remembrance ceremonies. “I’m an incorrigible perfectionist. I want my farewell to take place the way I desire. I haven’t shared it with my family yet that I have everything already planned, right from the guest list to what music to play,” he says.

With more and more establishments offering customised services, a growing number of people are planning their farewell in advance.

This, they believe, makes it easier for their loved ones to deal with their loss and takes off the stress of making crucial arrangements.

The funeral companies appoint a coordinator who puts together the guests list of friends and relatives of the deceased and extends them the funeral invitations. The coordinator also briefs about religious rituals to be performed the right way, appoints a pundit/priest and gets obituaries published in newspapers. The coordinator makes arrangements for the family to immersing the ashes (asthi visarjan) in the Ganga at Haridwar. Legal aid with the will is also provided.

“Funerals are not just about mourning. People have emotionally evolved to understand that it is also an opportunity to celebrate the life of the one who is no more. Through a pre-planned event, they want to showcase the message they want to leave behind,” says model Daljit Sean Singh, founder of one such service, Antim Yatra.

Fifteen people registered with Singh for their funeral services last month. The cost of registering with his company is Rs 2,100.

Deepak Sharma, founder of Deepak funeral and mortuary services, says a lot of creative brainstorming goes into planning the event. “Every aspect of the funeral, right from the décor theme, the guest list and the menu to poetry recital and hymns to be played is customised keeping in mind the preference of the client,” says Sharma, who got seven bookings for personalised funerals last month. Deepak funeral and mortuary services start at Rs 11,000 and can go up to several lakhs depending on the requirements.

One of his clients who passed away recently had booked a music band and a well-known anchor for his funeral. “The anchor listed out his achievements in life, along with an inspirational message for his family,” says Sharma.

Flowers too, play a big role in the farewell. Set designer Abhishek Kaushik once organised a prayer meeting for one of his clients.

“His favourite flowers were lotus and jasmine. We created a unique theme mixing the two flowers as a tribute to his memory. That’s exactly how he wanted it to be,” he says.

(With Abhinav Verma)