Dabba Walas in Mumbai
Mumbai Dabbawalas are a group of people who carry freshly prepared food from customer’s home or sometimes from a caterer in lunch-boxes and then deliver those to their offices by lunch time. These lunch-boxes are then collected and sent back either the same day or next day. These dabbawalas in huge crowd as they wear plain white cotton attire with a Gandhi cap and carry a number of lunchboxes. In order to deliver these dabbas on time, they rely heavily on trains and bicycles for commuting.
The city’s railway network plays a very important role in the success of this model as it is a very reliable, convenient and affordable mode of transportation. Every day nearly 5,000 dabbawalas work efficiently and deliver these lunch-boxes to over 2, 00,000 people living in and around Mumbai.
Earlier, there were only 2-3 ladies who were working in this field. But now their number has increased to more than 20-25. They are referred to as “lunch-box ladies”. The business of these dabbawalas is driven by people and not technology. The dedication, commitment and sincerity they show towards their work is the only reason for the success of their business which started almost 125 years back.
Mumbai Dabbawalas have become so much famous that recently a movie named “The Lunchbox” was released in India. A documentary has also been made on them based on the theme of Dabba Delivery System. Their excellence in the operations made them favorite among Prince Charles and Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic. Prince Charles even invited them to their wedding which was held in London on 9th April 2005.