It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Kenneth here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community. 

Dabbawalas are uniquely found in Mumbai. While on a recent visit there, I bought this short comic from a street vendor outside Churchgate, with proceeds from the sale of the comic going to support the dabbawala community.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, a dabbawala is someone who performs a very specific delivery service – they collect tiffin lunches of homecooked food from a person’s home, and delivers it to their workplace in time for lunch. After lunch, they reverse the process and collect the empty tiffin carriers and return them to each person’s home. There are around 5,000 professional dabbawalas, mostly illiterate, but highly dedicated to their work, with a claim of a 1 in 16 million error rate of delivery.

The premise of the comic, written in English, is that Avi needs to make a presentation in class about superheroes, and his parents suggest that he talks about real-life superheroes (the dabbawalas!) instead of comic book superheroes.

Dabbawalas have been much featured in the press, and have also been the subject of several documentaries and also a couple of TedX talks.

5 comments on “[Monday Reading] Dabbawala

  1. I have never heard of Dabbawalas, & chances are I won’t find this comic, but I did find a book for children out last year titled Jobs All Over the World so I will get it! Thanks, Kenneth, great story. I love the look of the comic, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have heard of people who cook lunches that are packed in tiffin boxes and delivered to workers, but knew nothing about Dabbawalas. Thanks for the heads up about this. I searched all over for it, but it doesn’t seem to be very available yet. I read that it will soon be available as a digital download so I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Vidya Tiru

    oh I have to read this.(though not sure i can find it here). while I did not grow up in Bombay (or today’s Mumbai where the most famous dabbawalas are), we had a dabbawala in our little town who would pick up lunch boxes for all the dads working in the paper mill in our town…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all, I was so confused to which blog I was visiting. I think it’s my first time reading a Kenneth post here. Thanks for sharing this comic. Fascinating subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never heard of Dabbawalas before, but how fascinating! I just love the topics that are coming up in graphic novels — so many things can be addressed in this format. Thanks for sharing, Kenneth!

    Liked by 1 person

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