Sarvapooja: 38 items for last rites in one box | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Sarvapooja: 38 items for last rites in one box

Launched three months ago, Sarvapooja is the brainchild of cousins Nitesh Mehta, 47, and Hiten Dhruv, 40

mumbai Updated: Jan 14, 2018 18:29 IST
Krutika Behrawala
The kit is priced at Rs 2,950 and is available at 50 puja stores, ambulance service providers and crematoriums across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.
The kit is priced at Rs 2,950 and is available at 50 puja stores, ambulance service providers and crematoriums across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.(HT)

Last month, when Bhandup resident Prasanta Mukherjee received news that his father-in-law had passed away, he was reminded of his own father’s funeral three years ago. He remembered how he and his relatives had to run from shop to shop to gather all the material required to perform the rituals for the Bengali-style Hindu funeral.

This time, he was surprised to find a compact, cardboard box on sale at the Bhandup Hindu Smashan Bhoomi. Branded Sarvapooja, it was packed with 38 items, including earthen pots, Gangajal, incense sticks, black sesame seeds and dried cow dung. It covered all the last rites rituals the family needed to perform. “The kit is innovative and helps people at a time when they are already distraught,” says Mukherjee, 67, a CTO at Welspun.

Launched three months ago, Sarvapooja is the brainchild of cousins Nitesh Mehta, 47, and Hiten Dhruv, 40. They came up with the idea two years ago, after the hunt for Gangajal for a friend’s funeral took them a whole evening.

Their self-funded project was developed as a start-up called Nithi Ventures. Mehta is an ex-hardware designer; Dhruv a former banker and management consultant.

“Most crematoriums only provide wood. Our idea is to help families bid goodbye to the departed in a dignified and stress-free manner,” Mehta says.

Many Hindus prefer not to use plastic or metal to carry the dead, so the main item in the box is a 6-ft-long collapsible bamboo stretcher.

“It can carry a person weighing up to 150 kg, and is assembled in segments. The technology is currently patent-pending,” Mehta says. “We also met with a number of priests to ensure the box didn’t miss anything vital. Each item is labelled in English and Hindi. It can be used by most Hindu communities, including Gujaratis and Jains, and can also be used by Sikhs, whose rituals are similar.”

Since it is available only in Mumbai for now, the kit includes the bangles and piece of cloth symbolising a blouse that are needed for the last rites of a Maharashtrian wife. When the kit goes on sale in other cities — next up is Surat — similar items of local ritual significance will be added.

The kit is priced at Rs 2,950 and is available at 50 puja stores, ambulance service providers and crematoriums across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.

“It’s useful,” says Kishore Balkate, a machine operator at the Banganga crematorium, one of those that stocks the kits.

THE LAST-RITES KIT

* The Sarvapooja last-rites kit contains 38 items, including a stretcher, white cloth, shawl, mat, garland, two pots, earthen diya, camphor, rope, janoi (sacred thread), nada chhadi, black sesame seeds, barley, kumkum, sandalwood powder, matchbox, betel nut, rice, honey and Gangajal.

* It costs Rs 2,950 and is currently available at 50 puja stores, ambulance service providers and crematoriums across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, including the crematoriums at Chandanwadi, Kandivli and Antop Hill.

* To order a kit directly, with same-day home delivery, call 98208-97444.