Archive for the ‘heroes’ Category

Being amongst the ‘Warkaris’ of the Palkhi!

Today, as the Palkhi enters Pune city, I remembered my journey last year. In 2011, I was a part of it. Tell you what, you get Goosebumps when you see the streets filling up with thousands of devotees. I still remember! I walked as a Warkari amongst the ‘Warkaris’. I marched as a devotee from Swargate to Saswad. I will cherish my experience throughout my life.

The tradition of the Palkhi is followed since 1685. The ‘Warkaris’, they walk almost 450 kilometers every year. Yes, 2.5 lakh devotees begin their 450 kilometers journey from Alandi and Dehu road to Pandharpur. For them, it’s a journey to remember! ‘Dnyanba Tukaram’, ‘Dnyneshwar Mauli Dnyanaraja Mauli Tukaram’ is what they sing, when they carry the ‘padukas’ (wooden sandals) of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram.

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You just cannot describe the atmosphere that you see on the streets. Lively and colorful! They dress up fresh white kurtas, dhoti and a pair of chappals. Thousands of devotees walk barefoot. Men wear green, yellow, red, orange, blue, white and maroon color turbans, ‘fetas’. Women wear sarees and jewelry.

Streets fill up with people. Old and young, men and women, everyone walks. So, do they get tired? No way! You won’t see any pain or tiredness on their faces. The pleasure of walking such a long distance reflects with a smile. Every step is taken with an urge to reach their destination Pandharpur. Hats off to their stamina and to their devotion!

In 2011, I walked 35 kilometers, from Swargate to Saswad. For me, walking up the Dive Ghat was more than a challenge. As I reached Dive Ghat, I came across a few devotional scenes. While climbing the hill, the devotees were picking up fallen stones and arranging them one on another. When asked about the act, they said, “Pick up the stones and keep them one on the other. The number of stones you pile up on each other indicates how big a home you desire. If you desire a 3 storied house, you should place 3 stones one upon another.”

Nice, I did my part too, and prayed for my dream home. Home, sweet home! Throughout the walk to Dive Ghat, my muscles were on fire. The last few kilometers, till Saswad bus station, I kept pushing myself to walk. The people around me farmers, devotees, their songs, ‘bhajans’ and the lively atmosphere kept me going. Ofcourse, when the Palkhi arrives, the rain has to follow.

For a change, being a Warkari, walking amongst the ‘Warkaris’ during the Palkhi Festival, was a dream come true. A walk to remember, a life time experience! It’s worth being a part of the Palkhi again.

The Dabbawalas Of Mumbai

Posted: June 2, 2012 in heroes
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The Dabbawalas Of Mumbai!

They are in the Gunnies Books of World Records! Their management lessons are taught to students in schools like Indian institute of Management in Ahmedabad, IFIM Business School in Bangalore and Richard Ivey School of Business in Ontario. Their operations are 99.9999 percent error free, no wonder their performance is Six Sigma registered. They are now the management gurus for many industrialists. They are non-other than, The Dabbawalas of Mumbai. Hats off to them!

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Irrespective of what weather says, the dabbawalas take efforts to fulfill the hunger of Mumbaikars, every day. Every morning, they pick up lunch boxes from the houses of office goers to deliver them at their respective office. After lunch, they collect the lunch boxes and deliver them back to their homes. Not a single day is missed and not a single dabba is misplaced. This routine is being followed by the dabbawalas since past 120 successful years.

They sweat in the sun and get wet in the rains, just to fill the hunger and thirst of thousands of residents in Mumbai. And thats not all, they are a subject of major television networks and BBC documentaries for their error free management of operations. The dabbawalas hardly miss out on any delivery. Strong communities of 5000 dabbawalas reach out to over 250000 Mumbaikars for timely delivery of their lunch boxes. The dabbawalas of Mumbai city are popular for their punctuality, organization, efficiency and management of daily operations.

Although Mumbaikars are used to crowded local trains, it is a tough task to carry any luggage along with. Kudos to the dabbawalas, they load and unload thousands of dabbas in the boogies. And that’s not all; they rightly remember which dabbas belong to which address. Not a single dabba is misplaced, thanks to the code which they memorize! By unloading the dabbas at stations, the dabbawalas load them back on their cycle or on their hand-carts to deliver them from door to door.

After all hard work, the only thing these dabbawalas carry on their face, is a smile. Dabbawalas of Mumbai, they are the real heros!