Udaipur-Mumbai--December 9, 2006--Crawford Market, Hanging Gardens, Mani Bhavan



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In the morning, we flew from Udaipur to Mumbai (Bombay), our final stop in India.  The Indian people are gradually renaming several of their cities to Indian names from names previously established by the British.  Thus, Bombay is now Mumbai although many still call it Bombay.  In some cases, the renaming was easy; in others, the population cannot agree on the new name.

The photos of the railway station above bring to mind the Indian custom of delivering a hot lunch prepared by a wife at home to her husband in his office. Middle-class suburban wives prepare three-tier lunch boxes called dabbas for their husbands.  The meal includes a hot main dish, a side dish, rice or chapatis (bread), and pickles. In mid-morning, dabbawallahs pick up the lunch from the home and take it to the train station.  The hot lunch is transported by train to the central city and delivered to the office worker. Later, the process is reversed and the lunch "box" is returned to the home.  There are about 5,000 dabbawallahs who do this each day and each is responsible for about 30 lunches going to different places in the city (150,000 meals in total).  The dabbawallahs cannot read but use an elaborate code, symbol and color system to keep everything straight.  It is said that the system is 99.99% accurate. The custom is about 100 years old and originated with the British military.  A dabbawallah charges each client about $4 per month for this service.

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