Photo Credit: Mridula Chari
Dabbawalas do not pay attention to all the social chakkar that goes on in the world. Whatever else is happening, our priority is to give dabbas on time. If the trains are on time, we can do our work, so that is our main wish for the new year.
Our lives got much better some years ago after people began to write about us. Before that, even the people of Mumbai had no idea who we were. Then we got an ambassador for free with the Prince of Wales. He was like a paras – the stone that turns things into gold – for us. Now everyone knows our work. Our biggest problem is that we have so much demand that we have a huge shortage of men and can’t take new customers.
Another request for the new year is that the government should do something about inflation so that ordinary people are able to live. I do 30 deliveries daily from Dadar to Churchgate and work from morning to evening. I earn around Rs 15,000 each month. Like people who go to school or college, our work is as much the work of the brains as of our feet. But we are also ordinary people. Whatever we earn goes in expenses and we have to live within that.
On behalf of all dabbawalas, I want to wish Mumbai and the rest of the country a happy and peaceful new year.