Mumbai Dabbawala ideally known as “WARRIORS OF THE ROADS”, they deliver around 2,00,000 to 3,50,000 lunch boxes every day.
Dabba is an aluminium or plastic container while wala denotes perfomer. So Dabbawala is "one who fetches box". They are also known as “tiffin wala”. They still practise carrying the same traditional dabba even after all these years.
Tiffin-wala are self-employed. Each dabbawala is rewarded a salary of Rs 8,000 per month. The joining fee is Rs 30,000 and they need to bestow minimum in kind in form of bicycles, a wooden chest for the tiffins, uniform. Fines are imposed for immoral doings and absenteeism.
This concept was started by Mahadeo Havaji Bachche way back in 1890 with just 100 men.
It was difficult then to calm the hunger pangs at noon since there was no fast food culture and office canteens around. There was also a supply of illiterate workers from various places, and travelled to cities since agriculture was not being able to support them.
Mainly all the dabbawala are related to one other. They all belong to the same varkari sect of Maharashtra and come from the same village near Pune.
They have a system of words and symbols that identify the endpoint. Lunch boxes are seperated in several ways :
Marking for starting point
Colour code for beginning station
Numbering for the destination station
Point of disembarkation
Even though their Average literacy is that of 8th grade but that was never a matter. They have enough vigour to undertake any hard work. They work so professionally. The lunch boxes are picked up, delivered using bicycles and railways and returned empty in the afternoon either from a worker's home or from the dabba makers.
Its rightly said. When they are here, no fear. No matter what, be is scorching heat or bountiful rain they are always on time. There was a case study dedicated to dabbawala for their time management, accuracy and professionalism.
A big Salute to all the Dabbawalas for their dedication who are never tired of their work, never-say-die attitude and for their humanity. They nailed it. It was an inspiring delight from Dabbawalas to the British royal family by sending silver jewellery and blessings for Royal Baby Prince Archie.
LONG LIVE our Dabbawalas. Your uncountable services to be carried for many more years to come.