Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 21 News List

Mumbai lunch-box men go high-tech 孟買的便當仔走高科技路線


Mumbai's lunch-box men, who deliver about 200,000 lunches a day across the city, are now using technology to reach customers with text messages.

The dabbawallas -- dabbawalla means "lunch-box men" in Hindi -- are a familiar sight in Mumbai. Every day, about 5,000 of them use bicycles and trains to deliver the lunches. They balace wooden crates filled with 25 to 35 lunch boxes on their heads in a 120-year-old tradition of taking lunch boxes from private homes to offices in the city.

While their basic system will not change, the addition of cellphones will make it easier for Mumbai residents to reach them, said Raghunath Medge, president of the Dabbawallas' Association.

``Most people have heard about us but they don't know how to contact us,'' said Medge. The association also started a Web site in June to popularize their services.

For years, the dabbawallas have used an elaborate system to pick up the home-cooked orders from houses and get them to the correct offices while the food is still hot. Few of the dabbawallas are educated, and many are completely illiterate, but they are famous for making almost no mistakes.

Even though there will be more orders, Medge is confident the men can rise to the challenge. ``Of course, we can cope with mor demand ... We are moving with the times.''








Today's Words 今天單字

1. popularize v.t.

使受歡迎 (shi3 shou4 huan1 ying2)

例:A few celebrities popularize that style of hat when they started wearing it on TV shows.


2. elaborate adj.

詳盡的 (xiang2 jin4 de5)

例:Tokyo has an elaborate public transportation system.


3. illiterate adj.

文盲的 (wen2 mang2 de5)

例:Many illiterate people never had a chance to go to school.


4. cope v.i.

克服 (ke4 fu2)

例:Mandy needed support from her friends to cope with the death of her father.



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