It is a stupendous feat of co-ordination, efficiency, honesty and sheer hard work: Mumbais dabbawalas deliver 200,000 meals to office-goers and return the tiffin boxes back to their homes in a span of three hours, on a daily basis. Their clockwork precision and incredibly low error-rate has got the world to sit up and take note of this awesome army of 5000 men who carry forward a 120-year-old tradition.
They have made the headlines several times in the last few years: when they were accorded the Six Sigma status, when Prince Charles met up with them in Mumbai, when they were invited to London to attend the royal wedding. Today the Mumbai Dabbawala system is the subject of management studies by experts and students all over the world.
How does this giant tandem bikework? Who are these men and what are their lives like? What are the challenges in delivering these meals on wheels? How does their Association hold it all together? Narrated alternately by the man who has taken it all forward, President of their Association, Raghunath Medge, and by researcher-author Shobha Bondre, the story unfolds in all its many hues the struggles, the triumphs; the questions, the solutions; the urban, the rural; the personal dreams and the collective reality of Mumbais amazing Dabbawalas.
Author : Shobha Bondre
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