Episode 115: Dabbawalla

Each day in Mumbai 4000 men in white outfits and matching hats transport 175,000 lunches across the big city. They retrieve the tiffens (lunch containers) of food from mothers and wives, and bring them (by foot, train, bicycle and even carried on top of their heads) to the office buildings of waiting husbands and sons. The Dabbawallas have been doing this since the late 1800s. Despite the unsophisticated mode of transport, the lunches always arrive on time (the error rate is 1 in every 16 million transactions).  It’s a pretty impressive feat and we were lucky enough to follow a couple Dabbawallas for a day in Mumbai, and see their work first hand.  Special Thanks to Intrepid Travel.

  • droneboyz

    I have seen many videos of the Dabbawalas, but this one is somehow much better than most. It does not suck the soul away, as a lot of other productions do…Beautiful work!

  • http://www.facebook.com/naomi.williams.739 Naomi Williams

    Cool. Their distribution technique seems similar to the way the post office does it.

  • Robin

    So interesting. Love your videos & the music & the stories they tell.

  • Roxy Lerner

    Do you guys need someone to carry your bags and kitchen utensils. I want to come on one of your trips, what a spectacular adventure!

  • maryq

    nicely told! Great edits, music, cohesive storytelling, And looks yummy. Another coup!

  • Daria

    I cannot understand something. Why can’t they just take lunch with them when they leave in the morning to work?

    • droneboyz

      Hmm, because they would not be fresh by lunchtime? This way, the food comes in steaming hot and fresh!

    • AlyxisPage

      Because in Mumbai, workers leaves very early in the morning and come home very late at night with an average traveling time each day of 3 hours in addition to the 8-10 hour work day. The crowd is also crazy; therefore, it is impossible for them to carry anything with them as they travel. They need free hands to shuffle themselves through massive crowd to catch trains, etc…

  • Gefilta Fish

    Oohh! I want an oompa loompa and i also want a daabawaallwa!!

  • janice

    what about working women….

  • Mudra

    this one of the recognized six sigma standards…

  • Ram

    hey very cool video! was just wondering how/where did U find the tamil song?? tamil friends?

  • Archana

    As a mumbaiker (person from Mumbai) Im so impressed at your video about the dabbawallas. I must admit though, none of the dabbawallas would approve of the tamil song. It misrepresents them.

  • murali

    the songs/music you pick are truly awesome :)

  • DGS

    End translations are like off the track…