I was lucky enough to be just at the right time, just at the right place 🙂 Around noon, at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Station.
The time for the dabbawalas – “one who carries a box” – to make their deliveries, on foot, by handcart, or like this man did: by bike (he actually had just walked away with two dabbas, or tiffin boxes, in his hands).
Every day, come rain, come shine, the dabbawalas of Mumbai deliver over 200 000 lunch boxes with home-made food to office workers around the city, send from their home.
It is an incredibly impressive systems, as many dabbawalas are illiterate it works through a system of colour and symbol coding, labelling each lunch box to assign it its destination and its recipient!
At the end of the day, each tiffin box will be picked up again and delivered back home.
The system and its beautiful simplicity works so well that Forbes has awarded the Mumbai dabbawalas a 6-Sigma performance rating, meaning a 99.9% of correctness on all deliveries. To put it in more tangible numbers: only 1(!) in every 6 000 000 tiffin boxes gets lost or misplaced…
And now the dabbawalas have managed to up my respect for them even more: by the introduction of Share My Dabba. Aimed to feed the hungry children of Mumbai.
Praise, praise… that’s all I can say.