Kerala: Sajini pins hope on death to resurrect her life and survive

In the ‘industry of death’, which is typically managed by men, Sajini is an exception.
Sajini on her way to perform a cremation service
Sajini on her way to perform a cremation service PHOTO | SHAJI VETTIPURAM

PATHANAMTHITTA: Death can evoke a myriad of emotions. Amid the loss and longing, grief and gratitude, it is a subject that has consumed humankind – literally and figuratively. And, treating the dead with respect is a ‘duty’ that we lay special emphasis on.

In the ‘industry of death’, which is typically managed by men, Sajini is an exception. For the 36-year-old from Maroor, near Konni, it is a matter of life and death. Sajini’s life was turned upside down in 2022 when a petty feud among members of a WhatsApp group left her husband dead. Ranajith was seriously injured in an altercation that broke out during a meeting called to reach a truce.

A call from the hospital the very next day informed Sajini that her husband had passed away. “A doctor informed me that it was a murder as there were several wounds to his neck and shoulder,” she recounts.

A homemaker, Sajini struggled to come to terms with the reality. “I knocked on many doors seeking justice and even staged a protest with my two children in front of the secretariat. But there has been no action, because of the political nature of the crime,” she says.

From being a woman who depended on her husband’s odd jobs, the mother of a three-year-old and a six-year-old decided to brave it out to raise her kids and make ends meet. Initially, she worked for a local newspaper agent, with whom her husband was associated. She also started assisting at a nearby crematorium.

Sajini tried to make use of her driving skills, which Ranajith had helped hone, to land a permanent job. She took a heavy vehicle licence and applied as a driver with KSRTC. However, the carrier did not take forward her application, which Sajini laments was due to some issues over her age.

“I finally decided to make use of my familiarity with cremation work. At the crematorium, there had been months when I handled the rituals of around 20 persons. But the arrival of several newcomers to the field is hurting, says Sajini, adding she is the only woman in the field.

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The New Indian Express