During the motivation sessions at our Company and my training sessions on” success through excellence “, I tell stories of achievers like Sachin Tendulkar, Narayana Murthy, M.S Dhoni, Dhirubai Ambani, Dr.Abdul Kalam and the response is overwhelming. People tell me how much difference such inspiring stories have made in their lives. They yearn to read about such role models and their stories of success.
The Dabbawalas date back to late 19th century when Bombay’s rapidly growing population needed feeding at work. More than a century later Mumbai’s middle classes still prefer their chapattis cooked at home supplied at the right time and place by the most indigenous distribution systems in the world.
A Dabbawala is a person whose job is to collect lunch boxes from homes, which are packed in an aluminum container, known locally as ‘dabba’, which they deliver to customers in their respective offices. Started way back in 1890, today it is a registered Charitable Trust with 5000 Employees, each of them a share holder. The trust,Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Supply Trust has a turnover of nearly 50 crore’s. Each dubbawala earns Rs.5000/- to Rs.6000/- per month and what makes them unique is that, they have never gone on strike in the last 119 years!
Every morning the Dabbawala visits each home client, collects the lunch boxes, and then transports them through the suburban rail network. They are then handed over to another group of Dubbawalas assembled at different railway stations. Each container of lunch boxes bears a distinguishing number and is then sorted out, allocated to each pick-up man for the onward journey, and handed out to the rightful owners.