What’s in the Dabba?

We all got assembled in the Sindhi Community hall for the much hyped Session on Mumbai Dabbawalas. Mr. Manish Tripati entered the scene with the Tiffin Dabba showing it to the audience as some Trophy.  There was some concern regarding the sound system while the introduction was being delivered. But he was loud enough to be audible.
He asked why we have assembled here?  To see what’s in the Dabba. Is it not?
Mr Tripathi was from the Mumbai Dabbawala Association famous for delivering  Afternoon lunch boxes from home to offices. He was here to lecture on the intricacies of their operation and how their principles and practices can be applied to our businesses.

The Mumbai Dabbawala

Now This whole Dabbawala service started because some person loved his wife! Do you believe it? we see many  businesses starting because love exhausted between wife and husband.  But this one, Lets check.
That was the time when Bombay was growing and new government offices were coming up. A Parsi banker who was working in one of the offices loved his wife. So he wanted  to love her even in the office, so he hired a person who could deliver the lunch,  off course prepared by his wife, from home to office. Now here’s the opportunity.   Those office going men who loved their wives increased.That’s how started the Dabbawala service is 1890.
Started with 35 people by Mahadu Havaji Bache, now it is an organization with 5000 workers serving over 2 lakh costumers.

Some of the traits and facts of Dabbawalas and their Organization.

  1. The whole Dabbawala thing started due to sheer need of the people (  love for  their wives, voluntary or cumpulsive)
  2. They are puntual. Feel work is worship.
  3. They use no fuel. Use bicycles and local trains as  mode of transport.
  4. Wear white Gandhi cap while at work and no boozing while at work.
  5. 85% of them are illiterate. (always thumbs up)
  6. No HR department. That’s the reason why they are so successful!
  7. All belong to one Varkari Sect (Maratha community) previously in Shivaji Maharaj’s Army.
  8. They collect a meager 250-300 per month for the services irrespective of how far they have to carry wife’s love.
  9. Earn 4000 to 5000 a month.
  10. A worker is penalized for reporting late to work or not wearing Gandhi Topi.
  11. There are groups of 20-25 people headed by a leader. They share the profits among themselves. That is their income!
  12. They are Zero% fuel, Zero% Technology and Zero% investment company.
  13. They give housewives or house husbands  5 seconds to handing over the Dabba. After  5 late hand overs, service is terminated. Thus housewives fear the Dabbawalas more than their husbands.

Their high profile visitors include Prince Charles ( Prince, waiting to become king!) , Richard Benson of Virgin Airlines, US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke,  Mandira Bedi.

Prince Charles with Mumbai Dabbawalas
Virgin Atlantic chief Richard Branson with the Dabba


Gary Locke with Dabbawala, Courtesy: The Hindu

They are famous for their on-time delivery with almost no errors. They are certified by ISO 9001 and rated with 6 Sigma for less than 1 error in 6 million deliveries made. This has brought them into limelight and a subject of study for many a management students. How are they able to do it?

  1. They are carrying wife’s love to husbands!
  2. Everyone is a share holder in the company. All the members work. No Work No Pay!
  3. They have a very fool proof coding system for identifying the pickup and destination of the Dabbas.

    The Coding system

  4. 85% of the members are illiterate! Thus best suited for the job.
  5. No HR
  6. There are single DNA company, all the workers are Marthi speaking and  from Varkari Sect.
  7. Differences, if any, are sorted out in the frequent meetings.

This  consistent success of beating all odds to satisfy the customer is unmatched and worth to stop and and notice.

Let’s see what are the management learning and  if we can apply their principles and practices to the present day IT and other companies.

  1. KEEP OPERATIONAL COSTS TO MINIMUM: The Dabbawalas use cycles and handcarts. They  have no posh offices
    Now this we can do by plying the employees in buses and encouraging them to use public transportation.
  2. MINIMUM CAPITAL INVESTMENT: Now this is difficult, with the companies need to boast surplus capital or skilled workers to get new projects and expansion.
  3. SERVE ONLY THE CUSTOMERS – NOT THE MANAGER: Present day Organizations should do something to make the employees identify with the goals of the organization. One important thing in this is transparency in appraisals.
  4. COMPLEXITY OPPOSES COMPLIANCE: The procedures have to be kept simple. Employees don’t follow rules which are not practical. This depends on the commitment of the employees and managers.  Build foolproof procedures which can be followed by all.  The effect of  human elements like emotions, mental status, physical health should be minimal on the work. This does not mean automation, but we need to have  simple procedures, so that it is easy to follow in all conditions.
  5. NEVER DEVIATE FROM YOUR CORE COMPETENCY: Dabbawalas trying to market FMCG failed. If ever we need to diversify and expand our operations, divide the operations so that management becomes simple. For instance the Tatas: Tata motors, Tata Power, Tata Tea etc.,

  6. DO NOT BE OVERDEPENDENT ON TECHNOLOGY: Some companies have been wiped out with the data losses. Contingency plans and data backup should be in place in case of calamities.

  7. FLAT ORGANIZATION: Everyone should work and everyone should be a manager. This brings a sense of responsibility in the employees. Don’t know how far this can be applied in a profit motive businesses.
  8. CO-OPERATION BETWEEN THE EMPLOYEES: This is crucial  as competition among employees can be destructive. Bonding helps.
  9. KEEP EXTRAS FOR FAULT TOLERANCE: Extra resources should be kept in case of any emergency so that the work will not be effected and other resources are not overstretched.
  10. COMMITMENT MATTERS NOT QUALIFICATION: Its crucial that we find the right people for the job. commitment to do the job precedes the qualification.

  11. BUILD AROUND THE EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE: Use the existing resource rather bringing in new.
  12. ABANDON THE BAD CUSTOMERS: Bad customers , how reputed they may be should be parted with. This effects the other customers.
  13. PENALIZE EMPLOYEES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE: Same rules for all. This will bring uniformity among the operations and shows the seriousness of the organization towards its goals.
  14. HIGH SALARY ALONE CANNOT RETAIN EMPLOYEES: The employees need to be emotionally united and need respect, ownership and no fear factor.
  15. BE HUMBLE: Never boast off too much , the customers may be affected.
  16. EMPLOYEES TO BE SHAREHOLDERS: This is very difficult to be applied in all the organizations. At least performance based incentives should be given to the employees.

With all the companies battling the deadlines and quality issues, its crucial to put up a system in place which is practical and employees can become part of it despite different cultural and geographical backgrounds.

CERTIFICATIONS: Certifications like ISO 9001, 2000 and 6-Sigma  are given for the operational compliance of the company’s policies and quality maintenance. The prime focus should not be for getting this certificate. They happen once we have a good system in place. If a person or organization gets 6-Sigma certified for a particular project, it implies that person or organization maintains the same level of competence and commitment in all other operations. Just doing a project for the certification won’t help. Boasting something which can’t me achieved will only damage the organization.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. Your comments  are most welcome…


Read This. You Lucky for 5 Years!

This is really very important! Please read it completely, you will become lucky for 5 years. If you forward it to 5 people you will be lucky for 10 years… If you forward it to 100 people your children and grand children will be lucky for 100 years!

Yesterday I got one such mail of some moving hand.

“His hand should be moving.

Let me  know what happens to you the morning after you  open this e-mail.
This is  an unusual one.  It actually gives you a  time tomorrow…. Let’s see if it works.

(I could not put the image as it was a gif file with right moving up and down, WordPress didn’t like it!)


Forward this  message the same day you received it.

It  may sound ridiculous, but it is right on time.
We believe that something is about to  happen.

Angels exist, only sometimes they  haven’t got wings and we call them friends; you  are one of them.
Something wonderful is  about to happen to you and your friends.

Tomorrow at
11:09  AM somebody will  address you and tell you some thing you have  been waiting to  hear.
Please do not  break this. Send it to at least 7 of your  friends!”

And the hand did not stop moving. I think the angel has infinite energy. It is really Angel!
I am waiting for the message the Guardian Angel will give at 11.09 A.M. but none came. Hey they did not mention the Time Zone! Its Angel time I suppose.

Now sometimes we receive such mails saying that this is a rare photo of  Lord Venkateshwara or Shirdi Sai Baba – Forward it on the same day to minimum 20 people  otherwise something bad will happen to you.  I really get irritated seeing such mails. And the worst part is some live examples, so and so Mr. Obedient forwarded it to 20 people and got 10 million dollars and so and so Mr. Defiant did not care to forward so he lost 100 million in business.
There is an increase in these Internet  Gods  and Angels  traveling across the web space. Now many of us really don’t care to Temples when did we start being afraid of the Internet Gods and Angels. May be we don’t want take any risk. Just forward to some friends and stay safe.  This is like some time bomb, pass it on to others, it will explode if someone can’t forward.
Initially I used to forward some of those mails and invariably they came back to me.
And What if someone can’t forward it? Nothing will happen but we are playing with his beliefs. So I stopped doing it.
Now I just reply back saying. “You will be lucky for 100 years if you don’t forward such mails” . And I am no Cyber Baba but some rational fool. Who will listen to me?

Another mail arrives…..

We believe in some hidden code made to move hands, shake legs to bring us luck and send celestial messages  but whatever can happen is here among us and we are the ones who can do it. But.. that Baba said…..

I was thinking – Using this FORWARDING medium we can create some good campaigns –

So let’s start..

If you read this completely, something good will happen to you in 10 days. If you comment, something more good will happen in 1 day. If you forward this to 10 people  something more good will happen in 1 hour… just kidding, have a nice time.

The Indian Masala

What is food without spice? What is a film without love, fights?  And the latest notion, What is film without a kiss?

Recently, We went to movie ” Badmaash company” starring Shahid, some tall Anushka Sharma and some chini Meiyang Chang. The film starts in late 80s in the pre-liberalization India, The group of four headed by shahid try to exploit the simple funda ” Without left, right is nothing and vice versa” . They import left shoe  and right shoe from Bangkok to separate locations in India, and don’t take the consignment saying they are cheated, thus avoiding paying the customs duty, later they buy both the left and right shoe separately in auction, bring to Mumbai and do the marriage of left and right and sell it off . Till then it is ok.  India is liberalized and customs duty is decreased.  Now what!. They go to America and they cheat with gloves.  “It is compulsory that left gloves should be with the right one, otherwise both are waste”. We know it yaar, left hand should be with right hand, left leg should be right leg! should have shown something new.  Now the friends fight, here starts the Indian drama,  the hero realizes his mistakes and becomes mister nice guy. How can someone change himself so easily? What ever wrong the hero does, he becomes good at the end and everyone pardons him.     Why can’t someone stand up to what they did?  A wrong deed done in full consciousness is not undone completely by feeling guilty.

What ever may be the type of movie, at the end most of them turn to sentimental drama. Are they doing it to appease all types of viewers?  Song and dance in  a serious movie, exposing by the heroine who is a house wife in the movie. These type of things dilute a nice movie.  First of all what is needed is a nice, compact and well researched script. Rest all fall in place.

Lets listen to one conversation between two cine-goers.
Two cine-goers are in conversation after watching a movie.
Ram – ” What a movie yaar, the heroine is great. What a kiss yaar”
Shyam -” But the heroine is a bitch, she did more exposing, there was no need for it.”
Ram – ” Dont say like that about my heroine”
Shyam-” Did you see the newspaper yesterday- she was wearing a short skirt for the film promotion”
Ram-” They have to do it Shyam Bhai, Karna padtha hain, did you see, she was pulling her skirt down. She does not like to do it, she is helpless”
Shyam-” Oh, I see! skirt wearing people are helpless too! You go then, save your heroine”.

We all go to movies for variety of reasons, for entertainment, to get away with daily tensions, for comedy, for heroines, for heroes and some for the love of the films.  In the days of the piracy, it is really important that the film attract the maximum people to the cinema hall. The maximum people who criticize about the movies may not be watching in the cinema halls,  who knows.

Nazar Naa Lagein Teri – Part2

Some of my friends who read the earlier post completely ( I should thank them for that) have expressed doubts about the energy stuff.   Below is what I felt and experienced. Hope I will make some sense.

What do we do when are in standing outside on a cold winter night.  We try to cover our body as much as possible or hold the hands crossed and close to the body, bring the legs together. We  want to keep  ourselves warm and not lose any heat (a form of energy) .
If its summer, We try to keep the body cool and wear as minimum clothes possible. We stretch ourselves  under the fan to release the extra heat in our bodies . Also our bodies sweat to keep them cool.

Now when we touch a piece of ice, we feel cold  and remove the hand. What happens is the ice takes the heat from our body,   the heat is lost from our body locally and we have a numbing sensation.  The heat gets transmitted from our body to the piece of ice. Can I now say that our bodies are capable of releasing heat (energy)?
Similarly when we touch a object, the heat is transmitted from the object to our body. So our body can receive heat  ( energy).  The thermal scanning  of a foot ball player will show that he is releasing the heat inside his  body in the form of radiation.

Let me ask a simple question – What do we do when India wins a match?  We are elated, excited and beat our fists in the air “Yes” Yes” . What happens in our bodies when we are happy. May be some chemical reaction which creates a sudden blast inside. This is when we tend to expand our body. We jump, lift our hands skywards. What happens is we are trying to expand or increase our surface area so that this energy ( heat, a chemical reaction or some explosion, I am not sure of the exact form ) is dissipated.
Same thing happens when we hear a joke.  We laugh. We open our mouth and make sounds ( will not go  into detail of how we laugh) . That is the bodies reaction to some funny events or jokes. It expands to dissipate the sudden reaction inside.  Same  thing happens when we want to cool our bodies.

If we are sad, grieving we create a negative energy inside us.  We  try to come closer, as if trying to save the heat inside our body.  There is a popular saying that sadness decreases with sharing.
What happens is  when when someone consoles a grieving person, he gives some of his energy  so that the sadness is allayed  a bit. And if someone tries to keep his grief to himself  there are chances of derangement. That’s why it is said that it is good to cry so that some of that negative energy is decreased.

I want to quote here that when you are happy, your sensory body expands beyond your physical body. You can feel things near you but not actually touching you. When you are sad your sensory body shrinks. you cannot feel someone even if they are touching you.

When we are sad, crestfallen, defeated by life and look at the happy, successful people, some of us feel jealous and  envy them.  Let’s call them “X” people. Now that these “X” people are not happy and doing nothing,  they look for short cuts. ” Look at those happy people! cha!” . We want a pie of their happiness. They try to take some happiness   from the happy people but nothing happens to the happy people, they wont lose anything but  some negative  energy is passed on to their bodies  and a  temporary imbalance of energy is created inside, which will not cause  any serious damage but  may get a fever. This we call Dishti or Nazar. We try to replenish this energy from the external sources  like burning a cloth, a broom stick ( broom stick has tiny little charges at their ends) or salt as discussed in the previous post. This will  not decrease  performance.

As far as Dishti  or Nazar is concerned. You don’t lose energy, if someone just looks at you. And during public meetings or performances, the people look up to the performances or speeches. People encourage them by clapping, a positive energy is transmitted that rejuvenates the people on stage to do more.

In case of children, they are always happy, no negative thoughts. when we look at them, we all want to be happy like them, no tensions, pressures. There may be some people among us who might be jealous and looking for short cuts. They want those happiness at free of cost. This effect is very less on the grownups.  They transmit negative energy to the children. Children,  as they are small and   growing will be affected more.  that’s why you will often find Dishti being removed for children.  This will only cause a mild fever or they may catch cold.

And regarding  Anger , when we get angry we are diverting some of our vital energies to it and we make our selves vulnerable to external manipulation. We actually want to look powerful by being angry at others, but we only belittle ourselves.

Happiness as energy? I Don’t know its exact form or name. we think Happiness is something not physical but emotional. But it is sometimes  the result of some physical action. You hit a goal in a foot ball match, a physical action, and you become happy. There may be some chemical reaction inside you when you are happy.

Whatever I have written above is to try to understand one of  the old practices we follow, but not to discourage people to go out and venture into the world.

Comments please…

Intuition and Logic

While I was doing my Engineering ( my engineering because I did it for myself, not for someone from Ranchod), we use to cook food in the room taking turns. We had a fixed rule for making rice- two glasses of water for one glass of rice. That’s the formula, logic we used and that worked really fine with old rice.
Back home my mother has no such formula, they just put water without any measurement. The rice cooks fine all the time.  I ask them how its possible most of the times. They say that’s how their moms, grand moms did it and they are doing it.  That is Intuition.

INTUITION, by definition,  is a knowing, a sensing that is beyond the conscious understanding. It is a response based on experience, heightened observation, and cannot be logically explained.  we cannot explain how the water added without any measurement,  is perfect for the rice most of the times.

LOGIC, on the other side, is the valid reason for an argument. It is drawing a conclusion from the set of examples.
Now we have a problem before us finding the right mix of (What is the right amount of water-if we put one glass water for one glass rice, rice does not boil properly if we put 3: 1 ratio, it cooks a paste,…….. finally we conclude that 2 water one rice is the right ratio.) So much documentation, so many experiments, and finally the result.

INTUITION is associated with the right side of the brain while LOGIC is associated with the left.

Let us look at a problem: How to find out whether a couple next child is male or female?
Who does not want to know if their next child is male or otherwise? Now this is complex problem of  simple variables Xs and Ys.
We have a baba – Santanasiddhi Swamy who can look at any husband and wife, study their feet and tell who their next child is – babu or laxmi. How he does it  is by pure intuition. Statistics say that he is right 90% of the time.

And there is a Professor is Osmania medical college who has developed a  logical complex formula  for the same problem.  he conducts some tests on the couple and puts these results in a complex function and does the calculations.
He names his theory KajolShahrukh theory. The statistics show that he is right 99% of the time.

Both have become very famous and people are thronging them to know about the inclinations of the India’s future  citizens.  SantanaSiddhi Swamy’s Ashram has grown big  and donations are pouring in. He meets about 100 couples every day.  While the professor meets the couples in his office and meets only 10  because of the complex calculations.He only does them as there is fear of stealing his theory.  The professor sleeps little and there are complaints at home.  Santana baba is enjoying his work as he meets new people and his followers are now spread across continents while the professor is strained of doing the same repeated tests and calculations.


When we do things out of intuition like driving, playing games there is very little strain on the brain while logical thinking is stressful.  While we see that our efficiency or skill level seems to improve in activities by intuition and also our confidence to face other different kind of situation grows.
Logical reasoning gives us the tool to overcome similar problems but not other problems ( we have solved the problem of cooking rice. what about the right amount of salt and chilly powder- Again the experiments start). But if we develop the intuition in any activity that gives the confidence to  face any chilly or Garam masala  problem, in fact they will cease to appear as problems but as some fun activities as we are experiencing them.

Two friends sit  in a room and are trying to logically solve the problem  of driving a car in hyderabad.

” I will drive only the left side at 20kmph.
If some biker suddenly comes before me, I will apply the brake and press horn.
If I have to overtake. I will measure the distance in  between and see that no one is coming in the opposite direction, then I will turn the steering in clockwise direction and then anti clockwise.
His friend asks what if you see beautiful Trisha driving on her Scooty Pep+ by your side.
Aah. thats a big problem, nice that you have guessed it before.
OK, then I will not turn my head but look straight and drive. I know its difficult but what to do.”

Like this if we try to solve the problems we can never learn and experience driving.
Exactly this is what our school education system is trying to teach us. Trying to complicate simple problems and create an impression that we need super fast brains  to solve them. That’s the reason the schooling has become such a pain and we could not enjoy it fully. If we learn at least some things  by experiencing them, that’s lot of fun.

LOGIC -No Villain

I am not trying to project Logical reasoning as some villain here. It is very important in solving many of our problems. That’s how Engineering has been developed and we are enjoying its fruits. Only thing is the brain gets stressed and we need balance it by indulging in some physical activities like playing games to de-stress ourselves. Every problem need not be logically solved.
How Sachin hits those lovely straight drives, how Federer hits those breath taking back hand shots? That’s by Intuition and we call it Art.  Tell me which one has more followers  – Engineering or Art?  And who is more satisfied?

For your Information, Professor who developed KajolShahrukh theory got a patent and trying to develop an computer application and is planning to release beta version DeepikaRanbir Ver.1 . But the Government of India has banned all means of foetus sex identification due to alarming rates of female Infanticide.  The professor is very sad and depressed. But the SanthanaSiddhi Baba turned into YogaSiddhi Swamy and started Yoga classes for his ever increasing followers.

Your thoughts and feedback to improve this post are most welcome..

What? On The Same!

I did fasting yesterday and I am really surprised of the ! But I drank coffee yesterday and I want to inform you of the same!
We read a lot of same stuff in the mails like the one from onsite co-ordinators  ” I have observed a defect in the design, and I am attaching a PPt on the same! ”
Really we are in awe for this simple word ” same” .  But do we really need to use it in the above sentence.  This is twisting the already confusing sentences.
If you write to your plumber ( supposing they are hi-tech now) like this
” My bathroom tap is leaking and I want you to repair the same.”
If repairing the bathroom tap is only concern, then the plumber is going to repair the same tap in your house.  If you omit “the same” from your mail he is not going to repair the tap of your neighbor.  Even if you get the bill you are not going to pay it.
” Dear Same sir, we have repaired the tap of your  neighbor as you have not mentioned to repair “the same”. Please pay us on the same” .
I did not know how this got started (using the word same) but  sometimes it is needed when we read the mails in half sleep.

” I have observed a defect in the design,…..and attached a PPT..”
What PPT?
“on the Sameeeeeee!  “
ahhhh,   defect in the design. I got it, I got it.
Next one more mail comes-
” This is regarding the same I wrote yesterday.  Did you rectify the same?”
The reply-
” You did not asked to rectify the design. We did not do the same
One more mail on the same –
“This is third mail on the same! Why would I make a PPT  on the same and send you. You are supposed to rectify (the same). I would  have done it faster than making a PPT  and send work to you guys in Hyderabad.”
The final reply..
” Then do it there (in whatever  onsite location you are)”

If we remove the word “the same” from all the above sentences  they still make a lot of sense. We have many times faced this type of redundancies in the mails only to add confusion. Always the best thing is capture the content of the mail in the subject and that would really make a lot of difference to the communication, sorting the mails . We did not have to read “the same”s repeatedly.

If you have not got bored reading this far, your comments on the same! please

Nazar naa lagein Teri!

When kid, it was fun watching the elders get a piece of cloth, tie it to a stick, burn it and move it up and down near me or other kids  or with some salt  in the left hand and remove the “Nazar” or “Dishti” off us. Otherwise we may get fever, cough or cold, that’s what we are told.  I still find many people do this ritual with their kids especially after coming from parties or social gatherings.  How do we come into contact with this “Nazar” or “Dishti”( hame kaise nazar lagtee hain, Dishti ela tagulutundi)? They say some have it in their eyes, if they look at you, you get fever. Hmm  it sounds strange that they do it with their eyes. What more do they do with eyes?
Many of us may just brush this aside as some stupid practice. But their might be some reason why it is followed all over India in some form or the other.

According to Newton’s Law of energy, Every body emits and receives energy in the form of  conduction, convection or radiation.  Even human bodies are the sources  and they emit and receive energy. How is it linked to “Nazar” or “Dishti”? Suppose  in a party and everyone is watching a child who is mingling with everyone and has a cute smile.  They are  looking up for something in the child and some might be having the thoughts that “wish my child would have been like that”.  the child being the cynosure of all eyes,  is robbed of some of  his/her energy. That is when there will be an imbalance in the body and feel uneasy and feverish. Once back home, his/her  grandmother tries to replenish her with some energy from burning a cloth or the salt.  This may sound foolish but………….

In a marriage, everyone is watching the happy couple, relieved parents on the stage, some may be feeling happy for them, some jealous, some sad. How can all these influences be diverted. Treat  with  Food and drink so  that our body is pacified, our eyes “Nazars” and energies are diverted to the food.  And contented man wishes or blesses the best.

In this huge world of energy exchanging bodies, there is a influence of others on us and vice versa. May be that is what we call luck,  stars, a crucial part of our success and happiness.

Please release some of your energy through comments.