At about 7.15 PM on 17 November 2013 a small airplane practising night-time takeoffs and landings crashed outside Spring, a town just north of Houston, USA. Both the plane’s occupants—a flight instructor and a student pilot—were fatally injured. Shortly afterward, Revanth Kumar Angadi, who lives about 250 kilometres away in Austin, got a call from his family in India. They told him his twenty-three-year-old cousin, who had recently joined flight school, had died in the crash. “I was their only contact,” Angadi recalled.
Angadi began calling funeral homes in Houston to arrange for the body to be sent back to his family, but none were able to help. “They hadn’t sent a body to India before,” he said over the phone in December. Angadi contacted the Telugu Association of North America, which suggested he get in touch with the Hindu Funeral Home in New Brunswick, almost 3,000 kilometres away.