Pandit Dharam Vir has the onerous task of looking after the urns containing the ashes of the deceased at Delhi's Lodhi Road Crematorium. After the cremation, the relatives would usually come the next day to collect the ashes to immerse them in the Ganga at Haridwar according to Hindu rituals. But now as the state borders are difficult to cross through due to the lockdown, many have left the ashes of their loved ones in Dharam Vir's custody. He has meticulously tagged each urn with the details of the family of the departed, to hand them over when they come to collect it after the situation eases.
"There are some urns lying with me from the start of the lockdown. There is some difficulty in keeping so many of them but it is the least I can do to soothe those who have lost a family member. Some people take the ashes to the Yamuna here in Delhi, but many have the last wish to be immersed in the Ganga near Garh Mukteshwar or Haridwar. They are waiting for the border to open," he says. Till then they can be rest assured that the remains of their family members are in the safe care of Pandit Dharam Vir.
(All Photographs by Suresh K Pandey/Outlook)