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Mumbai's 'dabbawalas' go digital to beat COVID-19

Indian lunchbox deliverers are fast adopting technology to stay in business

dabbawala, or lunchbox deliveryman, balances his cargo in Mumbai in pre-pandemic times. These traditional deliverymen have been distributing lunchboxes to thousands of people across the city every day since 1890, but COVID-19 has dealt a huge blow to business, forcing many to seek work elsewhere. (Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- His bicycle laden with shiny steel dabbas (tiffin boxes), Neelu Sawant weaves his way through Mumbai's traffic maze to deliver lunch to offices around India's financial capital. Dressed in a crisp white kurta-pajama and a traditional Gandhi cap, the 45-year-old's day begins at dawn with the collection of freshly cooked food from a range of home kitchens -- his routine for 23 years, six days a week.

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