Mumbai’s Dabbawalas plan to gift special set of silver jewellery to UK’s royal baby

Mumbai: Mumbai’s famed Dabbawalas plan to gift a special set of silver jewellery to Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle’s newborn c, an office-bearer said here on Thursday. “We shall present the baby with a typical Maharashtrian gift packet comprising silver kamarpatta (waist-band), a pair of wristband (toda) and anklets (wala),” Mumbai Dabbawalas Association spokesperson Subhash Talekar told IANS. He explained that as per Maharashtrian traditions, the grandfather gifts these three items on the birth of a grandson.

When asked for the proposed value of these gifts, Talekar replied diplomatically: “We would have loved to present these auspicious items in gold, but we are constrained by resources. It is not the value of the gift but the thought that is valued. And this will be adorned by the blessings of all the Dabbawalas.” On Friday, a group of Dabbawalas will scour some of the reputed jewellers in Mumbai for shopping the best-design items for Prince Archie to make it a memorable gift, who is, so to say, already “born with a silver spoon”.

On Monday, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, a former American actress, became proud parents of the baby boy, bringing cheers to the British royal family and the people of Britain. To be known as Master Archie Mountbatten-Windsor instead of one of his father’s titles, Prince Archie is seventh in line to the British throne. When Harry and Meghan married on May 19, 2018, the Mumbai Dabbawalas celebrated by distributing sweets to patients and relatives at the Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital and Wadia Hospital.

They topped it off with a special gift pack of Maharastrian bridegroom attire of a shiny kurta-pyjama and ‘pheta’ (headgear) and a ‘nau-vari’, a colourful Paithani saree, a black-and-golden ‘mangalsutra’ and seven sparkling green bangles for the bride. The Dabbawalas’ emotional connect with the Buckingham Palace goes back to 2003, when, out of the blue, they had a blue-blooded visitor to their premises — Prince Charles. Prince Charles was bowled over by the work and services rendered by the ultra-efficient army of 5,000-odd Dabbawalas, who meticulously ferry tiffin lunch boxes to around 200,000 hungry Mumbai office-goers.

This feat has earned them global accolades, a Six Sigma equivalent rating, and their bicycle-suburban train delivery services, conducted without any technological help, has become a subject matter in several leading universities around the world. Returning home, the visibly impressed Prince Charles did not forget his memorable encounter with these humble tiffin-box carriers, serving Mumbaikars since over 126 years now. In April 2005, he invited them on an all-expenses paid week-long trip to attend his wedding with Camilla Parker-Bowles, in London.

Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charitable Trust President Raghunath Medge and his colleague Sopan Mare represented their fraternity at the royal wedding and gifted a set of Maharashtrian attire to the couple. On May 29, 2018, Queen Maxima of The Netherlands who was on Mumbai visit, called on the Dabbawalas and witnessed them at the peak of their duties around noon, at the suburban Andheri station.

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