The word “dabbawala” in Hindi when literally translated, means “one who carries a box”. “Dabba” means a box (usually a cylindrical tin or aluminium container). The closest meaning of the dabbawala in English would be the “lunch box delivery man”.
So, literaly speaking, a Dabba contains Lunch.
But if you ask us, there is much more then lunch that goes in the dabba.
The foremost is love and caring of the housewives who make sure their loved ones get the healthy food from home.
And trust! That they have on dabbawala. If the Dabba system is going strong even after 125 years, we must thank the Mumbai housewives.
Trust is also seen in everything that we do. A typical dabba changes hands 3-4 times in its journey… Sometimes even 6 times. So the chances that the dabbawala who took the tiffin box from home will deliver the same dabba to final destination is almost remote.
If you ask us what actually goes in a tiffin box, we can’t tell you. We don’t open the boxes. But customers have told us that they even share messages from home to office through these dabbas! A Cinema ticket, a flower…an apology note…
A dabba weighs about 1.5 KG. We guess, pulses, vegetables, about 4 chapatis and rice is also there in the Dabba.
How we know? That’s what we get from home in our Dabba!