Thursday, 5 April 2012

Think Out Of Your Tiffin Box!!

           The day starts by supplicating God Khandoba as he knows that the day would be restless, long and even risky as they would cruise down the busy lanes of crowded Mumbai. Meanwhile the better half is ready with bhakri, kaanda and chutni nicely packed,  and wrapped in a tiffin parcelled so that her dear soul mate doesn't stay empty-bellied. 

           Clad in dhoti, Gandhi cap, long mustache and chewing pan with a large tray of steel tiffins is the unassuming dabbawala who is set out to his work with a strong commitment - To serve the hungry office goers. The devotion, timely service and the most important yummy homemade cuisine makes the day a bit comfortable.
          Though outdated modes of transport like the push cart or the large tray full of tiffins, or the tiffin-laden bicycles, this system of delivering lunch tiffins to lakhs of people across the city has been going on since the 19th century, The concept of the dabbawala originated when India and Pakistan were under British Rule. Many British people who came to the colony did not like the local food, so a service was set up to bring lunch to these people in their workplace straight from their homes.

       I would not be describing what makes dabbawalla a punctual rescuer, or how hard they work because all is said and done in the past with records and honors conferred to the dabbawalla community. Here is a take on how a dabbawalla survives the odds and makes the ends meet. 
        Ready to cruise in their comfort savaari- the loyal bicycle awaits as their master hops onto it and starts the hectic day to collect the Dabbas from every nook and corner daring the rough weather collecting bagpacks from loving wife to a caring mother and the supply chain ( the word when asked often gives you bewildered looks) begins. 
    They everyday participate in the obstacle race and then hurry through Mumbai's jerky potholed roads, crowded locals and busy traffic, climbing up and down the tall buildings often getting stuck in the lifts, but they defeat them everyday one by one and the race against time ends as the Dabba reaches the ultimate consumer-Dabbawalla emerges as a winner. 
The feeling of satisfying someones hunger makes dabbawalla larger than life with the 
Mantra "ERROR IS HORROR !!" 

PS:  Each dabbawala, regardless of role, gets paid about two to four thousand rupees per month. In 2002, Forbes Magazine found its reliability to be that of a six sigma standard.More than 175,000 or 200,000lunch boxes get moved every day by an estimated 4,500 to 5,000 dabbawalas, all with an extremely small nominal fee and with utmost punctuality. According to a recent survey, they make less than one mistake in every 6 million deliveries.

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