The Dabbawalas of Mumbai

Established in 1880, the Dabawalas of Mumbai run an impressive service of delivering some 200,000 home lunch tiffins (lunch containers) everyday to workers in Mumbai. Each day in Mumbai 4000 men in white outfits and matching hats transport lunches across the big city. They retrieve the tiffins of food from mothers and wives, and bring them (by foot, train, bicycle and even carried on top of their heads) to the office buildings of waiting husbands and sons.

Recently, they started a scheme titled “Share My Dabba” to feed the poor children of Mumbai. The video below shows how this new scheme works.

How the Mumbai Dabbawala system works.

On 28 December 2011, the BBC television series, “Top Gear” broadcast the episode “India Special” where presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May traveled to India for a “trade mission”.

In Mumbai, they aimed to beat the efficiency of the dabbawala by using a car instead of a train. The mission fails when Clarkson, in a rush to beat the train, did not take enough cargo, leaving Hammond to carry Clarkson’s load as well as his own. Hammond accidentally loses and subsequently ruins some of his cargo, and May, trying to take a ring road approach to the station, takes a wrong turn and ends up in the countryside. (Video from the BBC via Youtube)

Linked Item: Read the Wikipedia article on Dabbawalas…more

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