Mumbai dabbawalas have a legendary association with the British royal family and have stood by it in all ups and downs. The coronation of King Charles III tomorrow (May 6) at Westminster Abbey was to have two of their representatives in attendance but the plan had to be shelved as they don’t have passports.
However, there will be gifts galore for the king. On Tuesday, the dabbawalas were seen buying Puneri pagadi and a Warkari shawl. Puneri Pagadi is a unique style of turban and is considered a symbol of pride and honour in Pune. Puneri Pagadi was granted the Geographical Indication status in 2009.
Gold plated crown made of panchdhatu
“King Charles is being crowned. A 2.23kg gold crown will be placed on his head and we are delighted. We are also sending him a gold plated crown made of panchdhatu (five metals). Dr Pawan Agarwal who is doing PhD on dabbawalas has given this crown to us to forward it to King Charles,” said president of Mumbai Dabbawala Association, Subhash Talekar.
The association had also sent a gift on Prince Charles’ son’s wedding. When he became a grandfather, jewellery items like bracelets, bangles and waist chains were sent. Not only in happiness, the dabbawalas also shared the grief of the royalty when Queen Elizabeth passed away.
Besides the dabbawalas, Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar, actor Sonam Kapoor and Indian origin cook Manju Malhi also have an invitation to the coronation ceremony.
During a visit to India two decades ago, King Charles met the dabbawalas and lauded their work of reaching food to thousands of office-goers of Mumbai. Since then, the dabbawalas have had a special bonding with the British Royal family.