Of course, Bombay is not just in Bollywood. The largest city in the world, with its 14 million inhabitants fifth, offers other resources than those related to cinema. If you chose to stop in Mumbai, there are at least two “spots” to be missed under any circumstances. Visits can be chained in the same day.
The first requires to be punctual: the famous ballet dabbawallah – of “dabba” which means “box” and “wallah”, which can be translated as “person responsible” – which takes place daily 11 h 30. This is the most incredible meal delivery system in the office, a system which is more than a century now, given the traffic problems in Mumbai, its relevance.
Workers and employees overwhelmingly use the train to get to their workplace and, because of the remoteness of their homes, they are often forced to leave early from home. Take their meals with them imply to be prepared in advance. To avoid this, their wives cooking their lunch in the morning and waits dabbawallah come home looking for the lunchbox.
All numbered bowls are transported by train to Church Gate. Thence 11 h 30, they change hands to be made to their final destination on foot, by handcart or bicycle. After the meal, the bowls are retrieved to perform the reverse path.
731 WASH HOUSES
It is estimated that between 175,000 and 200,000 daily meals and are delivered daily by some 5,000 dabbawalas working in Bombay. Service charged 1000 rupees per month (14 euros), which also ensures the user to Best Meat Grinder share a meal that has been prepared by his wife, and secondly, a fortiori, that meet the food requirements of his caste. Last point: the reliability of the system is such that the error rate is estimated at 1 in 16 million. An economic model!
To reach the second site not to be missed, just across Queen’s Road, take the train to Churchgate Station, then get off at Mahalaxmi. From there, earning the bridge railway, ideal spots to watch Dhobi Ghat open air laundry in Mumbai. The place is entered in the Guinness Book of Records in March 2011, for the exceptional number of washers (496) working together in the same place.
The show is well worth thirty minutes away by train, all doors open, to get there. The bridge, the importance of this giant wash of 1 km2 in extent, large square of 500 meters by 200 meters where 4 000 to 5 000 people took turns washing in 731 washing concrete is measured.
Each washer leases its basin work about 5 euros per month and washed nearly 200 parts per million on the day that sees into the laundry daily. The method is always the same: take care of the washer machine, standing in tanks with water up to their knees, beating and rebattant clothing.
Only concession to modernity, huge dryers can accelerate drying laundry before it is hung on long twisted rope without clothespins.
After washing, ironing. Rather archaic, made with an old iron steaming coal … The man holding the iron says it returns “nearly 500 rooms between 7 am and 21 hours.” Paid less than ten euros per day, cleaners have only two fears: that washing machines penetrate deeper into Indian homes and, most importantly, the city gets that land given the real pressure is now worth a fortune.