Ram Krishan, 37 a Bangalore resident is like any other mid level IT Manager. He works hard for foreign companies as per foreign time zones, his 2 kids go to the finest schools in the city and hate it and his once working wife is now an expert at keeping e-commerce websites afloat. Ram’s major problem was his boss who seems to have picked up his workplace manner from a colonial era plantation owner. Ram’s doctor had given him 2 months till full nervous shutdown if he didn’t do something. So he did, his boss Mr.Iyer has not been seen for 2 months and Ram is suddenly the hero at his office and is up to replace the missing man next week.
Such stories are becoming more and more common as middle class frustration is finding expression with the help of the city’s latest Startup “Body Baggers“. Based on the model of affordable body disposal and counter measures for forensics, this 5 month old enterprise has made a name for itself by capturing a market most disposal firms did not know existed. We spoke with its founders Gopi K. Nashak and Ahmed Katleaam. Gopi is a Chemical Engineer from the Technical Institute of Chemical Sciences ( TICS ) and Ahmed an Electrical engineer from the Wak Al Rizvi Technical Science College ( WARTS College ).
So tell us about Body Baggers and what you guys do?
Gopi : “We offer a range of services in the sector of body disposal and cleaning up after a crime scene. Most scenarios involving premature deaths end up in messy after effects and the perpetrator or as we like to call ‘the initiator’ often has to do more work after killing than in the process. We relieve our clients from these tedious tasks, disposing the victim in a professional and less time consuming manner. We also clean the scene from a forensics point of view so that legal implications are not a concern. What follows is the fabrication of a credible story and bringing each case to a closure which doesn’t implicate our clients and allows them to continue life as usual, a great deal happier even.”
Do you actually assist in the act of murder or just clean up after wards?
Ahmed : “We to begin with did contemplate assistance and providing the means if necessary. But letting the client proceed by themselves has multiple advantages, the seriousness of the person comes through if they carry out the whole deed by themselves. Procuring a gun, poison etc can all be daunting tasks and if a client goes through with them we know they mean business and later will not be a liability.”
Gopi: “Yeah, it is important that we don’t have to handle any guilt which a subscriber may later manifest. Also we make it a point to send teams to the scene only after the act has been committed, this limits our liability.”
Now this is a very unique model isn’t it? How did you guys get into this?
Ahmed : “Oh that’s an interesting story. I in my college days used to stay in a rented bedroom on the terrace of an elderly fellow. This guy was thoroughly pissed with his neighbor’s dog who’d bark day in day out. One day my peeved landlord ran over the dog with his car, it couldn’t possibly be an accident given the car had to be driven on the side pavement to do the deed. So I saw this from the terrace and offered to shift the creature and make it look like a mishap. With some chicken blood and the right angling of the body we sold the story to the unhappy owner and I never paid rent for that house again. Soon I started doing Pet Disposals all over the city. You’d be surprised how many people are perturbed by parrots, cats and dogs which their family, friends or neighbors inflict on them.”
And you Gopi?
Gopi : ” Me? My family used to own a crematorium. So my childhood was spent surrounded with ashes and skulls that wouldn’t crack. Also I always had a very active interest in chemistry and how one could manipulate biological tissue. I began of course with rats and small creatures but soon graduated to unclaimed corpses which the local hospitals would dump on us. My first engineering job was at an Cesna Systems, an American company that makes Financial software. I used to be very depressed and bored with my job and I shared these feeling with the only non CS guy there, Ahmed. We discovered complimenting talents and as Ahmed was already freelancing with household creatures I joined him. It was not long before that we quit our day jobs. Soon as it usually happens with heightened temperaments, one of our clients whacked a pet and its owner. He happened to be a friend of ours so we helped the guy out. I guess that’s how it all started.”
So what’s the business model here? What about competition?
Ahmed : “In India this market was till now dominated by semi professionals and wings of criminal organizations. The access to these were limited to high power businessmen, crime lords and certain politicians. We could specialize in that field I guess but then we can’t compete with the scale of operation and there is a certain brand loyalty in the criminal market. What we realized is that the average Indian faces innumerable challenges in his life. Most of these present themselves in the form of irritating people. People you’d love to get rid off only if you didn’t have to take care of the mess after wards. Not only make them disappear but deliver substantial pain as perhaps a form of retribution. These regular office goers can’t be expected to know the local bhai who he can give supari to and even if he does it’ll probably be too expensive, not to mention dangerous. With us you can do everything online.”
Gopi : ” Yeah, so what we did was make it easier for the average man to vent his frustration without a care for incarceration. Our subscribers sign up with us, just as a life insurance policy. They pay premiums every month to us and become eligible for an incident after a year of payments. With premium plans this process can be expedited. Then they send us their action plan, we review and approve it. Once carried out we do the cleaning. Its pretty straight forward.”
So anyone with the right amount of money could avail your services?
Ahmed : “No I am afraid not, we don’t do business deaths, deaths leading to financial profits, revenge killings and professional hits. We cater to only those should who find their existence tormented by certain ignoramuses and would like help in ridding the society of these particularly dumb individuals. Its like a social entrepreneurship thingy, we are doing good for the society also in turn.”
But isn’t that too vague, I mean a person who irritates one could possibly be appealing to others?
Gopi : ” We actually have an analytic division which analyzes each application and potential victims. We do a social media presence analysis, some stalking and a general review. Some cases merit a personal interaction in disguise with the victim. We have a large rejection rate, we endorse very few hits. Its premeditation executed to a great degree.”
What plans ahead and hows business?
Gopi : “Is dhande mai kabhi mandi nahi(There is never a slump in this business) he he..”
Ahmed : “Yeah actually business is very good at the moment with schools beginning, the new financial year starting and the economy being in a slight slump people get easily irritable and they’d like to do something with their aggression.”
Gopi:”In fact we have opened offices in all metros in the country now, Mumbai and Bangalore are the only ones with Emergency support and a helpline but we plan to grow that. We are also providing an online course on prepping and planning for your annoyance abolishment incidents. We are hiring extensively from low tier colleges and dead end jobs to tap into the budding frustration from a young age.”
Ahmed : “We recently even took in our first batch of Interns, they aren’t licensed to be on scene support but help out with filling the formaldehyde and burial site evaluation. Its an exciting time to be at BodyBagger. We plan to work something out with an E Commerce venture a line of DIY products too. We shall be launching a mobile App this week where just with a press of a button you can hail our services to your current location!”
Sounds great guys, one last question, anything for newbies in this field?
Gopi : ” This is an especially challenging field, if you don’t have an ability to emotionally distance yourself from your client you might feel like taking a stab literally at the victim. One can’t afford to carried away you know. This is a profession requiring a huge amount of ethics, you just can’t allow anybody to do the killing. The entire enterprise is successful when the least number of subscriptions get translated into events. There are occasions where its healthy to translate irritation into bashing a skull in or dousing someone with kerosene and watching them crackle, but making a habit of it, unhealthy, not to mention bad for business. Also generally all these events end up being gory cause venting pent up anger leads to the client getting carried away. A few tips like plastic sheets and gloves can prove a great help to our job. Choose your clients carefully for it would be unfortunate if say they end up holding the other end of the stick”
Ahmed : ” Precisely, as our motto says, Live and Kill to live sanely.”
This interview was published in the chronicle How to Shoot Neighbors and Disembowel Friends