As the world pays its tributes to Queen Elizabeth II, who died last Thursday, Mumbai's food delivery persons, popularly known as dabbawalas, also joined in to pay their homage to the British monarch. Mumbai Dabbawala Association paid a heartfelt tribute to Queen Elizabeth II at Byculla railway station today, Subhash Talekar, the president of Mumbai Dabbawala Association, said in a statement. "We share the grief of the family of King Charles," the statement added.
Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch of the United Kingdom, died at the Balmoral Castle in Scotland at the age of 96.
"We are very sad to hear about the death of Queen Elizabeth II and all dabbawalas pray that her soul rests in peace," Mr Talekar had said earlier as news about the British monarch's death broke.
Mumbai's famed dabbawalas operate a globally renowned lunchbox delivery and return system that supplies hot lunches from homes and restaurants to people at work.
Raghunath Medge, an office bearer with the Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association, had said that he spoke to the Queen and had breakfast with her twice when he and Sopan Mare, another dabbawala from Mumbai, were special guests at the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles in April 2005.
The dabbawalas had their first brush with British royalty in November 2003, when Prince Charles met them at Churchgate railway station and was highly impressed by their work culture. "The prince was mesmerised, learning about the way we work and heard us with rapt attention," Mr Medge recalled. The association had sent a sari for Camilla and a Maharashtrian turban for Prince Charles for their wedding, he said.
"Prince Charles accepted the gift and extended a special invitation to the association to attend his wedding. He even arranged for the air fare for two people from the association and took care of the other expenses as well," Mr Medge added.
"We had breakfast twice with Queen Elizabeth and other members of the royal family. She was very humble," he said. "Although there was this language barrier, Padmini Devi, who hails from a royal family in Rajasthan and who was an invitee at the wedding, helped with the translations during our conversations with the queen," Mr Medge said. He added: "Our first breakfast with the Queen was at Buckingham Palace, while the second breakfast was at Windsor Castle, which was the venue for the royal wedding."