Tiffinwallahs

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Delivering over a million home-cooked meals a year, Mumbai's Tiffin Wallahs (also known as Dabbawallahs), whose ingenious meal delivery service owes much to the Indian flair for mathematics.

A dabbawallah is a person, most commonly found in the city of Mumbai, who is employed in a unique service industry whose primary business is collecting the freshly cooked food in lunch boxes called tiffins from the residences of the office workers (mostly in the suburbs), delivering it to their respective workplaces and returning the empty boxes back to the customer's residence by using various modes of transport.

The service is almost always uninterrupted, even on the days of severe weather such as monsoons.  More than 175,000 or 200,000 lunch boxes get moved every day by 4,500 to 5,000 dabbawallash, all with an extremely small nominal fee and with utmost punctuality.  According to a recent survey, they make less than one mistake in every 6 million deliveries.  Forbes Magazine found its reliability to be that of a six sigma standard.

As Indian life changes and more educated women enter the workforce, the Dabbawallahs who deliver lunches to workers find that their livelihood is under threat.









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