The above is the studio where I was taught a Bollywood number from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.” That’s me in the background taking the photo as we entered, More on this in a moment. This was the Sound part of a 5 Senses tour of Mumbai. Let me take you through my favorite highlights of this immersive all day experience of the city.
SIGHT- DABAWALLAS – THE WORLD’S BEST FOOD DELIVERY SYSTEM FOR OVER 130 YEARS
Uber Eats and FedEX fade in comparison.
The metal tiffin lunchbox is one of India’s most successful concepts. In it is a homemade lunch, delivered to office workers who can’t go home for their midday meal. Also known as dabbas, the delivered lunches come in these circular metal tins Each dabba comes in two, three or four tiers; the bottom is the largest, with rice, while the others include a curry, a side of vegetables, dal and flatbreads and a dessert.
The above is an old internet picture to show what the tiffins look like. Here is a more modern day style:
Today they are usually wrapped in a cloth covering for travel ;
Just as the Indian railways are incredibly busy and complex, so is the dabba’s delivery system that delivers over 80 million lunches a year. The delivery system uses dabbawalas – the people who deliver the lunchboxes – which translates to “one who carries a box”. They wear a white kurta (long shirt) uniform with a traditional Gandhi cap.. Today there are about 5,000 dabbawalas in Mumbai ensuring some 200,000 or so office workers in the city eat on time every day – amazing statistic given that many of the dabbawalas cannot read and rely on colour-coding to identify the dabbas and their destinations.
Dabbawalas collect the tiffins from the people who made them at around 10am (often a wife or mother). About 30 will be taken on each bicycle or motorbike through insanely busy streets to the nearest train station. They are labelled using a system of symbols and colors, denoting where the tiffin is picked up, which station it will be sent to and the final address of the owner, all hand painted. The tiffins then travel on the city’s train network where at the other end the local dabbawalas pick them up for the last leg of the journey – the lunchtime delivery, which is never late. After lunch, the order is reversed and the now empty dabbas travel back to their respective homes.
This system is so accurate it has been give a Six Sigma rating. That means that 99.9996% of all deliveries are made successfully.; In other words, per million deliveries only 3.4 aren’t delivered properly. WOW
I guess we lucked out by having this dance class in Mumbai. If we waited until we got to the southern states of India – we may have had to learn the Telugu (Tollywood) number “Naatu, Naatu” from the movie “R,R,R.” Here is a clip so you will understand why (just click below to go to YouTube):