How an Indian in UAE helped Sridevi’s body come home

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Amala Akkineni seeks support to age gracefully without being judgedMe and Sridevi were like brother-sister: Kamal HaasanSridevi was the axis around which our family ran: Boney KapoorAway from the cameras’ flash and the eyes of her millions of fans in India, Sridevi’s body made its way to a simple mortuary in the United Arab Emirates, where one man helped sign out her remains to return home. “It’s the same process, whether Dubai or Sharjah or any emirate. Shelf upon shelf in his home bears honours and awards. While Indian officials quickly cancelled her passport and prepared the other documents, Thamarassery said a needed police clearance slowed Sridevi’s repatriation. Listed only as “ASHRAF” on the official paperwork in Dubai is Ashraf “Sherry” Thamarassery, a 44-year-old Indian from Kerala who has become a ferryman of sorts for those who die here in the UAE. Also read | From goofball to seductress, the many shades of Sridevi
By last night, Thamarassery returned home to the apartment he shares with his wife and daughter in Ajman, a small, dusty emirate in the UAE that serves as a bedroom community to skyscraper-studded Dubai some 35 kms to the southwest. From indebted labourers to the moneyed elite, Thamarassery has helped repatriate 4,700 bodies to 38 countries across the world. But it’s hard to overstate the power Sridevi had over the imagination of many in India. A framed picture hangs on the wall showing him meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Curious Indian labourers spoke softly among themselves about the actress while standing outside of the mortuary. There, officials embalmed her corpse as Thamarassery handled paperwork for her and three others. 2018-02-28T14:33:22+00:00″>
Updated: February 28, 2018 2:33 pm

Sridevi passed away on Saturday in Dubai. I do this “to earn blessings, but also when someone dies here, people don’t know how to manage the repatriation procedures,” he said. He views it as a noble responsibility in this desert sheikhdom that draws so many far from their homes, chief among them his compatriots. For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App
Get assembly election result LIVE updates from each constituency in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya When the clearance came, he travelled to a simple government-run mortuary in a dusty neighbourhood of squat, square buildings that house some of Dubai’s immense population of foreign workers, many of whom come from South Asia. There, Thamarassery runs a mechanics shop but focuses largely on his philanthropic efforts. … Whether you’re poor or rich, it doesn’t matter.”
Sherry offered shrugs when talking about Sridevi, saying he helped repatriate five other bodies yesterday including the famed Bollywood star. “For them, you or me, it’s all the same and everyone is equal. An ambulance then carried her body to a private jet reportedly sent by an Indian billionaire to take her home to Mumbai to be cremated. He received hundreds of calls from journalists, officials and others in the interim. If someone dies in their room, they will take them to the hospital and then to be checked at the police mortuary,” Thamarassery told The Associated Press in an interview late last night. Police and prosecutors say she drowned in a hotel bathtub after losing consciousness, calling her death accidental. The 54-year-old Sridevi died February 24 in Dubai while in the UAE for a wedding. “That’s why I do it.” All the while, his phone never stopped ringing, some of them undoubtedly new calls for his help.