Attending and blogging about the session(In my company) of Dr.Pawan on The Mumbai Dabbawala's reminded me of our very own Dabbawala back in Bhilai and the extended family.
Yep, you read right - Extended Family!
Starting with Dabbawala, am sure most of you would have been impressed by the way the Mumbai Dabbawala's are functioning. Awed by the details of their routine etc and how they work it out as an organization and equally wondering why they don't expand their service beyond Mumbai!
From the day I have been in Chennai, I never saw a Dabbawala here. Somehow I had always assumed that there would be Dabbawala's in every city just like we had in Bhilai. I came to Chennai and made this observation even before Prince Charles visited India and the Mumbai Dabbawala's and they became famous!
So the general talks about Dr.Pawan about the Dabbawala's didn't surprise me as I have seen many like them in action. The only difference would be that in Mumbai, its an organization and in Bhilai, we had 3-4 Dabbawala's covering certain regions. One more difference would be that in Mumbai they depended on Public transport(mainly local trains) and in Bhilai, it was their own cycles.
Many people wonder why the Mumbai Dabbawala's don't expand! Well to my best knowledge - the way things work in Mumbai can never be found in any other city for them to suit their way of working and certainly if they expand, the same charm and effect of their work would reduce! Another thing is that there are Dabbawala's in many places in India, especially in North India.
The Extended Family -
The bell rings at 11.30 AM sharp coinciding with the sound of clatterings of spoons from the kitchen. Mother is furiously packing the lunch and keeping it in Dabba when the Dabbawala rang his bicycle bell, indicating his arrival. He would come near the doorstep with his smiling face as my mother would rush to give the dabba to him and he would leave to resume his 10 kms stretch which had to be covered with 20 more halts in between to ensure that those Dabba's reached the hands of the rightful owner by Lunchtime. Then he would take a break before resuming his return journey to give back those dabba's back to its respective houses.
As I attended the Dabbawala session, I was reminded of this Dabbawala's whose name I have never known and from the Day I know, he had been collecting the dabba from my house and had the same cycle and used to come without fail, be it summer,rainy or winter season. He hardly took leave and whenever he took, he would inform us earlier!
He was a simple guy who earned very less but never complained or showed any kind of feelings. He would always have a smile in his face.
He is a part of the Extended family!
Dabbawala, Milkman, Postman, Dhobi, The vegetable vendor, The grocery shopkeeper, medical guy store and last but not the least Maid of the house.
They all are a part of the extended family who are not related to you but are a prt of your life who know whats happening in your life and are always loyal to you!