Monday, April 02, 2007
mumbai's dabbawallahs cross the 'atlantic'.
mumbai's dabbawallahs are on a high.having perfected the art of reaching lunchboxes(dabbas)to their correct destinations to lakhs of people on time day in and day out in the metropolis of mumbai,they attracted the attention of royalty,ceos and management institutes alike.how is it that a group of illiterate people(relatively speaking)get six sigma certification for their operations was the question that confounded prince charles,branson of virgin and the management institutes and many academicians.
they visited their operations,headed by raghunath medge and sopan mare. they studied their style of functioning and returned very very impressed.prince charles became a great friend of medge and mare and even invited him and their families to london for his wedding with camilla parker bowles.maverick billionaire richard branson of the 'virgin' group rode on the mumbai local trains along with the dabbawallahs,dressed like them,just to get the feel.and many institutes of learning are falling head over heels to invite them for lectures,which they do with panache. carrying laptops with them they do power point presentations which stun the audience.theirs is a huge success story.
no wonder then that now they are set to conquer the hearts of americans.a seven minute documentary has been filmed and will be screened at the palm beach international film festival in florida in april.the documentary is directed by indian-american simone ahuja.she had interacted with some of them when she ran the mumbai marathon three years ago along with them.minnepolis based simone says that she was so impressed that she decided to make this documentary titled 'lunch on the run-bombay's dabbawallahs'
having become pastmasters in efficiency and punctuality, don't be surprised if they now become brand ambassadors for omega or taghauer.after all with the debacle in the worldcup,our masterblaster sachin is down and out and can one think of another icon for mumbai other than the dabbawallahs? i am sure they will be lapped up soon after our overhyped cricketers are quickly buried.