A tribute to Mumbai's dabbawalas
Mumbai: More than two decades after Mumbai-born Canadian author Rohinton Mistry's derogatory reference to 'dabbawalas' in his book "Such a Long Journey" comes the reprisal in words -- a new book that unfolds the "wonders of the dabbawalas", who feed 200,000 Mumbaikars each day and have been doing so for 123 years.
"The Wonders of Dabbawalas Unfolded", which will be launched Wednesday by Home Minister R.R. Patil here, is author Gangaram L. Talekar's rebuttal to Mistry, a tribute to the "silent tribe" that has toiled so hard literally to feed the millions. "Our book recounts the real history - and tells the true story - of the silent tribe that helps feed over 200,000 people in Mumbai daily and has been working for 123 years," Talekar, general secretary of Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charitable Trust (NMTBSCT), told IANS. The trust comprises 5,000 dabbawalas.
In "Such A Long Journey" (1991) -- considered a literary masterpiece by many -- Mistry had recounted a story of a dabbawala's rudeness with one of the main characters, Dinshawji. As part of the Dinshawji incident, the dabbawala in question was described as "low-class, smelly pig, full of sweat and grime".