Mumbai is bustling with businesses big and small, as I already wrote in part 1 of 'Earning a living in mumbai".
Here are some other examples:
There is an area with gift items, xmas decorations, etc.:
I ran into this man with pipe brushes, neatly sorted in size and color they almost looked like a work of art:
Transporting a huge load of fabrics. Many of these carriers pull very heavy wagons as if they are horses. Tough work!
Peacock feathered fans. I bought one, just to be nice.
Jewelry wholesale market. Ok, also some veggies;-)
These were the little alleys of the flower bud business:
Bamboo juice seems to be very popular here; there are stalls on every corner:
Vegetable and fruit vendors:
And then, we have another very specific profession and service.
Like there are the dhobi's (washer men) in the dhobi ghats that I wrote about in a previous post, there are the dabba walla's.
The 5000 dabba walla's (99% are men) are lunch runners who deliver 200.000 lunch boxes each day.
This may not sound very spectacular yet, but as soon as you dive into this, it is incredibly interesting and impressive.
What is so special about this?
Well, there accuracy rate and their speed are very, very high. Higher then most big high tech companies will ever achieve.
They use public transport (trains, bikes, foot) and each tiffin (lunchbox) goes through about 8 different places/hands every day and yet no mistakes are made.
Also special is, that they are organized in a sort of worker cooperation that stimulates competition on the acquisition end, but teamwork in the delivery end. Genius!
For a bit more reading: http://www.pardesipulse.com/blogdir/?p=269 and http://specials.rediff.com/money/2005/nov/11spec.htm
For various reasons people want a warm home cooked lunch at work every day. So the wife cooks it at home, puts it in a tiffin, it is picked up there by a dabba walla. The tiffin then makes it route via different stages and is at lunchtime flawlessly and probably by a totally different dabba walla delivered at the desk of the worker. After the lunch the tiffin goes through the reversed process and is back home around 6. Amazing!
I read that the lunch boxes arrive (gathered in the morning from all over Mumbai) at 11.30 sharp at Victoria Terminus, to be spread and delivered from there.
So I hung around at the station and finally, at platform 7, there they came: the dabba walla's with their carts. From each cart, lunch boxes would be spread amongst individual dabba walla's. Like this:
From the wooden handcarts, a specific dabba walla takes about 20-30 specific tiffins and delivers those, by bike or by foot.
I am not sure, but my guess is that these dabba walla's have delivered their tiffins and are now killing a bit of time before starting the whole process in reverse.
So far for this post about life in Mumbai, from your local reporter...hahaha.... Stay tuned for more interesting topics!