The Lunchbox

By Nancy Smorch

Normally on Mondays I post a recipe for you to try out and hopefully inspire you. But today I thought I would share a different kind of inspiration – a scene from the movie, “The Lunchbox.”

In Mumbai, each workday, hot lunches lovingly prepared at home by workers’ families are delivered to the workplace by a “troop” of dabbawallahs. The system, proficiently run by the Mumbai Tiffin Box Supplier’s Association, delivers over 200,000 hot lunches each day.

The lunches are prepared at home and then stored in stainless steel 3 or 4 tiered boxes – usually cylindrical. These lunch boxes are then picked up later in the morning, color coded, and transported to a station, where they are collected and delivered to the corresponding workplace – still hot. The empty containers are then returned back to the home they came from, before the end of the working day.

This amazingly efficient system is 99.99% accurate – meaning they RARELY deliver a lunch to the wrong person. The movie, “The Lunchbox” is a story about the .01% scenario where the lunch was actually delivered to the wrong person, and the relationship that develops between the two people connected through this mistake.

I haven’t yet watched the movie – Lindsey just showed me the trailer this morning. But the reviews have been great so far. And what I love about it is that it showcases food as something that connects people. In a world where so much takes place online, through texts, e-mails, tweets, Facebook, and yes, blogs, food can be a much more personal way of connecting people and transferring intentions, energy, and love – something we could all use a little more of.

Apparently, the movie was just released on DVD, and iTunes is doing a special where you can rent the movie for 99 cents. This one is definitely on the watch list for this week!

And, just for fun, if you’ve ever watched “Top Gear” (and even if you haven’t), check out this segment from one of their episodes where they try to race the Indian lunch delivery system in Bombay. Needless to say, they are no match for the tightly run delivery system. Actually, they are nowhere near the efficiency, integrity, and success of the system. See for yourself: