The best way to keep your body fit is by working out, the best way to keep your mind healthy is to keep on learning, and there is no better exercise for the heart than helping someone in need. Helping without expecting something in return gives internal satisfaction and unmatched peace that no job or hobby could render. Ashraf Sherry Thamarassery, is a man who selflessly helps to repatriate the deceased from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Ashraf, who hails from Kerala, India, runs a mechanics shop and lives with his wife and daughter in an apartment in Ajman, a small, dusty emirate in the UAE, that serves as a bedroom community to skyscraper studded Dubai around 35 kilometers to the southwest. Although he has a business to run, he focuses mainly on his philanthropic work. Ashraf’s house is filled with several honours and his wall possesses a picture of him meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I do this to earn blessings but also when someone dies here, people don’t know how to manage the repatriation procedures. That’s why I do it,” says Ashraf.
Recently, Ashraf was seen all across media platforms when he helped in sending Indian actress Sridevi’s mortal remains back home to Mumbai. The 44-year-old Indian has become a ferryman for those who die in the United Arab Emirates.
Ashraf has helped repatriate around 4,700 bodies to 38 countries across the globe, right from the corpses of indebted labourers to the well-heeled elite. He cites it as a noble task in his desert sheikhdom.
“For them, you or me, it’s all the same and everyone is equal. If someone dies in their room, they will take them to the hospital and then to be checked at the police mortuary, it’s the same process whether Dubai or Sharjah or any emirate…. Whether you’re poor or rich, it doesn’t matter,” says Ashraf.
He helped repatriate five other bodies including that of the Bollywood star on the same day. On February 24, when Sridevi passed away, police officials and the prosecutors called her death an accident. While the officials were busy with their paperwork for preparation of the required documents, Ashraf ensured that the repatriation process was under way after seeking the required police clearance. He was continuously receiving calls from journalists, officials, etc.
When he was given approval of the clearance, Ashraf travelled to a government run mortuary in a dusty neighborhood of Squat, square buildings that is home to a large number of foreign workers where they embalmed her mortal remains.
Ashraf’s phone kept ringing all the time and he was always on the run with all the hassle. Overburdening of work did not make his stop his work. He helps without expecting anything in return.
Ashraf is a source of inspiration to all of us and teaches us that we can make a big change in this world by helping even in the smallest way possible. We salute him for supporting families in their troubled times and ensuring a smooth repatriation process.
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