/ Kolkata

Hasslefree Funeral (Antyēṣṭi)

Death unites people everywhere, irrespective of social status, race, religious beliefs or nationality. Nevertheless losing a loved one is a dismaying experience. You need time to assuage the family. Moreover, you need time alone–without the pulls and pressures of arranging the last liturgies, managing logistics and legal procedures. Regulating a funeral can be very exasperating, notably when you are lamenting the bereavement of a loved one.

William Blake’s broader aspect puts the question, “Can I see another’s woe, and not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief, and not seek for kind relief?”

A Kolkata lady Shruthi Reddy Sethi experienced the haphazard and unregulated funeral service industry in India during the last rite for her grandfather and other agnates. She observed the ousted family members of the dead are to organize logistics, call priests, shop for the needed stuffs in rituals and quibble with vendors instead of soothing each other.

The gumptious mind of Shruthi propelled to address the gap in this industry. She launched a professional funeral service startup called ANTHYESTI. It provides community and religion specific end-to-end services such as priests, hearse vans, mobile freezer boxes, last rites, and so on. Anthyesti is possibly India’s first professional funeral service provider company. Besides Shruthi is an electrical engineering graduate and has over 9 years’ experience in the software IT sector.

Bereaved families are usually bedeviled by certain issues such as little or no awareness about morgues, freezer boxes, vendors, locations, rates and other obit requisites. Family members dwelling outside the city face more complexities. Splintered and disorderly market with unregulated costs across the value chain is a burden. Gouging by vendors is rife. Catafalque vans are often costly and there are many unqualified priests. Dickering with vendors and organizing everything during this time of grief and loss is not convivial for many.

Shruthi shares, “The funeral service industry in India is unorganized, fragmented and unstructured at present. And people are not even aware of all the kinds of services that can be availed. Usually, there are only a few local vendors who provide hearse vans and freezer boxes. Priests have to be contacted separately, just like caterers. And there is no help available to coordinate with crematoriums or burial grounds. Instead of grieving and mourning the loss of their loved one, I have seen family members have to run around trying to make all these arrangements themselves. On top of this, some vendors quote exorbitant rates or charges which are often not negotiated by the grieving parties. Hence, we at Anthyesti, aim to make funeral planning hassle-free, convenient, affordable and very professional”.

Shruthi of Anthyesti – the funeral startup

Source - www.anthyesti.com

Local people as well as Non-residential Indians have shown interest in using this service. “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.

Anthyesti provides funeral helpers at four crematoriums in Kolkata – Keoratala, Nimtala, Garia Adimahasmashan and Ramakrishna Mahasmashan. Among Hindus, they provide services for Bengalis, Arya Samajis, Biharis, Marwaris, Sindhis and Punjabis.

The package for communities differs because they have different rites and rituals. While the Bengalis now prefer the electrical crematoriums, others still prefer the wooded pyre. She noticed, “Marwaris and Gujaratis have longer puja sessions compared to those of Bengalis”.

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. However, services can be sought for any particular rite as well.

Customers can book these services from the website www.anthyesti.com with secure online payment gateway integration by PayUMoney, or call the HelpLine number 98333-18181. Anthyesti has a plan to expand operations in Durgapur, Kharagpur, Siliguri and Asansol shortly.

Many people across the nation come to Bodh Gaya to pay their homage to their ancestors during the two-week divine period of Pitri Paksha. Anthyesti is fervent on arranging online pind daan at Bodh Gaya. Anthyesti is also trying to tie up with airlines and hospitals. Repatriation of human remains is also in their mind hence Anthyesti is approaching the consulates.

Eyezon congratulates Anthyesti for providing end to end solutions for post death related rites. It helps bringing in transparency. Most crucially comforting the family members from doing the last minute detour behind the service providers.