Friday, 24 April 2015

India Facts (5): Mumbai Dabba Wallahs (FPFS Challenge)

Story of Mumbai's Dabba Wallahs
Image Source: https://worksthatwork.com/1/dabbawallas

Have you ever come across a manual system of delivery where over 200,000 tiffins are taken daily & delivered successfully? Doesn't seem like strange yet? No?...You will feel it now – consider there is no automated software or database, many deliverymen are not educated to read, and they all follow century old system of number & color pattern of identification. The system has been used for over a century and there’s only about one mistake per six million deliveries (In a 2002 analysis, Forbes Magazine found that it had a six-sigma, or 99.99% reliability rating) – I am sure you must be feeling butterflies in your stomach now. This is a small miracle of logistics. Mumbai’s 5000 dabba-wallahs (or food container persons - or tiffin wallahs) work tirelessly to deliver hot lunches to office workers throughout the city. 

In Mumbai, most office goers prefer home cooked food over market food due to hygienic,. taste & monetary reasons. The concept of Dabba-wallah is a great answer to this need. Every morning 100s of dabba-wallahs roam on their bicycles to different residential colonies.  They collect lunch boxes from homes of office workers, deliver the lunch to the workplace through this full proof delivery methods (either through their bicycles or local trains) and returns the empty lunch boxes back to the workers home in afternoon.  In number of cases, they also carry lunch boxes from different restaurants and deliver them to their designated address and then return the tiffins back to restaurant later. If you ask to make it more detailed then this is how it works:

1) Dabba wallahs collect tiffins from different areas and they all assemble at nearest railway station.

2) At assembly point, all tiffins are sorted out based on their century old system which works on certain numbers, area wise & color theme format. Keep in mind, this looks manual but super error proof.

Source: Google Images

3) From railway station(s), tiffins are traveled to the nearest point (which is the next railway station near to the specified destination) which covers the bunch of lunch boxes under that area.

4) From this point, different dabba wallahs get assignment of delivering set of lunch boxes to specified areas. 

Source: Google Images

5) Finally same process is followed while returning the tiffins back to the office workers homes.

In any business, the success depends on the quality of product or service it offers. In case of dabba-wallahs their uninterrupted service, timely delivery even in acute weather condition are unique selling points.


Source: Google Images

Their service is so reliable and secure that people used to communicate between home and work by putting message inside the lunch box. This concept is beautifully showcased in a movie: Lunchbox. I watched this movie during my flight from IGI to EWR. :)

International Acclaim:

-  The dabba-wallah business have got ISO 9001:2000 certified by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand

-  Prince Charles invited them to his wedding with Camilla Parker Bowles in London in April 2005. He also met with them during his India visit earlier.


-  It’s been featured in Harvard Business School case study : The Dabbawala System: On-Time Delivery, Every Time  where their methods are being compared to six sigma or even better. That too with an effective methods of delivery which is very simple, dirt cheap & moreover environment friendly.

We should be proud of this kind service which is unique of its own & entirely Indian - recognized Internationally. At the same time, we need to give credit to Western Railway for it's network across Mumbai geography connecting every part of the city.

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Hope you liked this post under India Facts Series. From last 5 days, I have tried to select different theme every time to show interesting facts of India. I connected this series (of India Facts) to Five photos Five stories Challenge (FPFS) which is- Post a picture for 5 consecutive days and attach a post to it. I have been tagged by my dear blogger friend Shweta Dave for this challenge. I would like to thank Shweta for selecting me. It's been an honor to get the nomination from her & I must say it was challenging for me to write for 5 consecutive days, but I enjoyed it as well.

Here I will take break for few days and then start with this series later some time. As per the rules, I have to tag a blogger friend to pass this challenge. So on 5th (& final) day, I will select Roohi Bhatnager who writes great stories on her blog. Hope she will like it.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

India Facts (4): Mighty Himalayas (FPFS Challenge)

The Himalayas
Source: Google Images

As the world’s highest mountains – with the highest peak in India (Khangechenzonga) reaching 8598 m – the Himalaya create an almost impregnable, indestructible, a giant boundary separating India from its neighbors to the north. This range is home to nine of the ten highest peaks on Earth, including the highest, Mount Everest. The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of South Asia. Many Himalayan peaks are sacred in both Buddhism and Hinduism. Number of religious centers of different faiths can be found under the foothills of Himalayan Region.

These mountains formed when the Indian subcontinent broke away from Gondwanaland, a super-continental in the Southern Hemisphere that included Africa, Antarctica, Australia and South America.  All by itself India drifted north and finally slammed slowly, but the immense force, into the Eurasian continent about 40 million years ago, buckling the ancient seafloor upward to form the Himalaya and many lesser ranges that stretch 2500 km from Afghanistan to Myanmar (Burma).



When the Himalaya reached its great heights during the Pleistocene  (less than 150,000 years ago), it blocked and altered weather systems creating the monsoon climate that dominates India today, as well as forming a dry rain shadow to the north.

Although it looks like a continuous range on a map, the Himalaya is actually a series of interlocking ridges, separated by countless valleys.  Until technology enabled the building or roads through the Himalaya, many of these valleys were virtually isolated, creating a divers series of mountain cultures.

Some facts about Himalayas:
•  The Himalayas have the third largest deposit of ice and snow in the world, after Antarctica and the Arctic.

•  Most of the other Himalayan rivers dissolve into the Ganges-Brahmaputra Basin. Its main rivers are the Ganges, the Brahmaputra and the Yamuna, as well as other tributaries. The Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers meet in Bangladesh, and drain into the Bay of Bengal through the world's largest river delta, the Sunderbans (famous for Bengal Tigers)

•  Mount Everest, located in Himalayas, is the highest mountain of the world & 5th furthest summit from the center of Earth.

Himalaya Impact: 
•  The Himalayas have a profound effect on the climate of the Indian subcontinent. It creates the Monsoon climate in India which largely affects socio economic activities. 

•  The mighty Himalayas also prevent frigid, dry winds from blowing south into the subcontinent, which keeps South Asia much warmer than corresponding temperate regions in the other continents.

Spiritual connection of Mighty Himalayas 
•  Several places in the Himalayas are of religious significance in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism.

•  The mountains of Himalayas have always attracted people since ages to meditate to find the inner self.

•  Himalayas region is also is the origin of sacred river Ganges which is highly pious for Hindus. Around Ganges, number Hindus Pilgrimage sites are located like Haridwar, Varanasi, Allahabad etc.

Tiger Nest Temple
Source: Google Images

Amarnath Temple
Source: Google Images

Kedarnath Temple
Source: Google Images

Hemkund Sahhib Gurudwara
Source: Google Images

Please let me know if you like this post. This was 4th installment in Facts of India Series.

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I have been tagged by one of my best blogger friend, Shweta Dave to take part in Five photos Five stories Challenge (FPFS) which is- Post a picture for 5 consecutive days and attach a post to it , fiction, poem or short write-up or anything to suit your taste. I thank Shweta for this challenge. I accept it.

I am tagging one of my most respected blogger friend Sreedhar Sir on Day Four and as a part of the challenge, I will tag a new person on Day Five which will be the last installment of this challenge series.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

India Facts (3): Eating in Indian Style (FPFS Challenge)

Source: Google Images

In India, you will find most people eat with their right hand as compared to people in west who mostly use fork & knife.  In the southern part of India, many people use as much of hand as is necessary, while elsewhere they use the tips of the fingers. The left hand is reserved for unsanitary actions such as removing shoes.  Whether eating Chapati’s (flat bread) or rice, people generally use their hands to cut the pieces or mixing the stuff. While in urban & metro cities, way of eating is different as people generally use cutlery while eating, however many people of conventional thinking (& those in rural areas) prefer to have it in their own ways of eating with their hands instead using spoon.

Here is the way to eat in Indian style: Mix with food with your fingers. If you having dhal and sabzi (vegetables), only mix the daal into your rice and have the sabzi in small scoops with each mouthful.  If you are having fish or meat curry, mix the gravy into your rice and take the flesh off the bones from the side of your plate.  Scoop up lumps of the mix and with your knuckles facing the dish, your thumb to shovel the food into your mouth.

Have you also tried this way of eating? Don’t be shy, please share your experience J

Hope you liked it. This was 3rd installment in Facts of India Series.

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I have been tagged by one of my best blogger friend, Shweta Dave to take part in Five photos Five stories Challenge (FPFS) which is- Post a picture for 5 consecutive days and attach a post to it , fiction, poem or short write-up or anything to suit your taste. I thank Shweta for this challenge. I accept it.

I am tagging my dear blogger friend Abhijit Bangal on Day Three and as a part of the challenge, I will tag a new person on Day Four.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

India Facts (2): Kumbh Mela (FPFS Challenge)

Source - Google Images

Are you fond of attending the gala event with millions of people? - if yes, then this one is for you. It's Big, Very Big. 

Held four times every 12 years at four different locations across central and northern India, the kumbh Mela is the largest religious gathering on the planet in which millions of Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. Held four times every 12 years at four different locations across central and northern India this vast celebration attracts  tens of millions of Hindu pilgrims, including mendicant nagas (naked sadhus, or holy people) from radical Hindu monastic orders.  

As per historical facts, Durvasa Rishi (who is known for his short temper) was wandering on earth, when he came across a female Vidyadhari (a nymph of the air) who was wearing a beautiful garland of flowers. Seeing Durvasa being attracted to the garland the nymph respectfully gave it to the sage. When he came back from earth, the sage came across Indra who was riding his elephant, Airavata. Durvasa presented the garland to Indra, who not sure of what to do with the garland placed it on Airavata’s head. The elephant was irritated by the fragrance of the nectar in the flowers and threw the garland to the ground with its trunk and crushed it with his feet. Durvasa was enraged to see his gift treated so callously and immediately cursed Indra that he would be cast down from his position of dominion over the three worlds, just as the garland was cast down. Because of the curse, Indra and the Devas were diminished in strength. 

To regain their lost powers and strengths, all Devtas approached Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva who directed them to Lord Vishnu. After they prayed & requested Lord Vishnu about the event, he instructed them to churn the ocean of milk Ksheera Sagara (primordial ocean of milk) to receive amrita (the nectar of immortality). This required them to make a temporary agreement with their arch enemies, the Asuras, to work together with a promise of sharing the wealth equally thereafter. However, when the Kumbha (pitcher) containing the amrita appeared, a fight took place. For 12 days and 12 nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the Devas and Asuras fought in the sky for the pitcher of amrita. It is believed that during the battle, Lord Vishnu (incarnated as Mohini-Mürti) got hold of the pitcher and spirited it away, but in flight four drops spilt on the earth – at Allahabad, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain.


Celebrations at each of these cities last for around six weeks but are centred on just a handful of auspicious bathing dates, normally six.  The Allahabad event, known as the Maha (great) Kumbh Mela, is even lagrer with even bigger crowds.  Each location also holds an Ardh (Half) Mela every six years and a smaller, annual Magh Mela. The Kumbh Mela doesn’t belong to any particular cast or creed – devotees from all branches of Hinduism come together to experience the electrifying sensation of mass belief and to take a ceremonial dip in the sacred Ganges, Shipra or Godavari Rivers. Even foreigners can also be seen taking a dip in holy water during Kumbh.

Source : Google Images

Source : Google Images


Hope you like this fact about India.

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I have been tagged by one of my best blogger friend, Shweta Dave to take part in Five photos Five stories Challenge (FPFS) which is- Post a picture for 5 consecutive days and attach a post to it , fiction, poem or short write-up or anything to suit your taste. I thank Shweta for this challenge. I accept it.

I am tagging my dear blogger friend Debajyoti Ghosh on my Day Two and as a part of the challenge, I will tag a new person on Day Three.

Monday, 20 April 2015

India Facts (1): Food & Spirituality (FPFS Challenge)


Food & Spirituality

From last few days I was thinking of writing something in a series. With series, you always have fair sense of idea on which lines you want your content to be focused on.  There were number of ideas on different themes, but I decided to go with something which will attract all my audience as compared to specific set of audience with certain interest. So this series is about India: Land of Manu, Ayurveda, Yoga, HImalaya. With each of this post, I will present one fact about India which is quite common but reminds us about the social & cosmopolitan culture of India. I hope my audience will like it.

In the first installment of this series, I will talk about Food & Spirituality. In India, we always believe what we eat is what we think and how we are spiritually connected. India has variety of foods and each state has their own cuisines and tastes, however there are certain beliefs which affect the eating habit of different people. For people in India, food is considered not only for sustaining the body but also to invoke positive energy, high spirits & being devoid from negative thoughts. People following different religions tend to consume/avoid certain foods. 

Broadly speaking, Hindus traditionally avoid foods that are thought to inhibit physical and spiritual development, although there are some certain rules.  Cow is holy to Hindus and people worship cow. In rural areas, having cow in home is considered to be sign of prosperity. In number of Hindu families, first bread that is being made in the day is assigned for the holy cow. Such is the place of cow in Hindu system. The taboo on eating beef is the most rigid restriction.  Very recently, The Indian president has approved a bill which bans the slaughter of cows and the sale and consumption of beef in the western state of Maharashtra.


Jains avoid foods such as garlic and onions, which, apart from harming insects in their extraction from the ground, are thought to heat the blood and arouse sexual desire.  You may come across vegetarian restaurants that make it a point to advertise the absence of onion and garlic in their dishes for this reason.  Devout Hindus may also avoid garlic and onions on certain occasions.  If you go to any ashrams or neuropathology centers, many of them don’t serve onions in their meals.


Some foods, such as dairy products, are considered innately pure are eaten to cleanse the body, mind and spirit.  Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of life, health and longevity, also influences food customs in India. Those following strict Satvik diet which exclude ingredients like garlic and onions that produce heat in the body are avoided to allow your body to detox.



Pork is taboo for Muslims and stimulants such as alcohol are avoided by the most devout.  Halal is the term for all permitted foods, and haram for those prohibited.  Fasting is considered (which is a religious obligation for Muslims) an opportunity to earn the merit, to wipe the sin-slate clean and to maintain the body metabolism.


Buddhists and Jains subscribe to the philosophy of ahimsa (nonviolence) and are mostly vegetarian.  Jainism’s central tenet is ultra vegetarianism, and rigid restrictions are in place to avoid even potential injury to any living creature – Jains abstain from eating vegetables that grow underground because of the potential to harm insects during cultivation and harvesting.

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I have been tagged by one of my best blogger friend, Shweta Dave to take part in Five photos Five stories Challenge (FPFS) which is- Post a picture for 5 consecutive days and attach a post to it , fiction, poem or short write-up or anything to suit your taste. I thank Shweta for this challenge. I accept it.

I am tagging my dear blogger friend Ami on my Day One and as a part of the challenge, I will tag a new person on Day Two.