Tiffin is an old English word for light meal that was carried to India during the Colonial period. It has become the common term for lunch.
While these two tiffin boxes have been carried to an archaeological dig site similiar boxes are commonly used to send lunch to workers in cities every day.
Office workers in Mumbai leave early in the morning for work and their lunch follows them sometime later in the morning. In the middle of the morning the worker's wife packs his lunch, each 'bowl' containing a different dish. Rice will surely be in one container, dahl in a second. Other compartments may contain curd, pickle, parathas, vegetables, whatever makes up lunch for the day.
Each day some of the 4,000 to 5,000 dabawallahs pick up about 175,000 tiffin boxes at private homes, take them to the train station where they are packed into crates. When the trains reach the city other dabawallahs retrieve the boxes from the train and deliver them to their owners. Later in the day the empty tiffin boxes are retrieved from the offices and make the return trip home, often arriving before the worker.
The tops of the boxes are marked with special color codes which tell the often illiterate dabawallahs where the boxes live and work. The typical error rate is only once in around 8 million deliveries.
Each day over 175,000 tiffin boxes are picked up at the worker's home.
Critiques | Translate
AdrianW (2274) 2004-02-11 0:10
Nice shot! The composition works very nicely, although I feel it could be more dynamic... Maybe some food on a plate and a ladle sticking out, or one with the lid off and steam coming out?
On reading your note it's no wonder I'm unemployed, most of my previous co-workers would find 1:3 hard to achieve so 1:8000000. Yes. Well. Oops ;-D
Technically there's a little ISO noise in the midtones which you might want to squish, or at least reduce in saturation.
Good capture :-D
olli (2091) 2004-02-11 2:57
I like the design of those boxes. I also like the composition, the combination of metal and stone, DOF and the background with nice tones. And the note is interesting, too.
Porteplume (3460) 2004-02-11 4:00
From the thumbnail, without the photographer's name, I knew it was your work. It was asking to be opened...
The way you use to show us the daily utensiles for meals and cooking is very attractive. The note makes it complete.
Great image Bob!
Edwin (188) 2004-02-11 4:34
Both the image and your note appeals to me. With both you succeed in educating us about different cultures and habbits. Thanks for sharing Bob!
eelliott305 (776) 2004-02-11 12:05
A shot which sums up an important part of Indian daily life. The boxes are well positioned and look good on the rock table. Note is excellent.
torben (3100) 2004-02-11 12:36
These are great "vernacular industrial" design objects and your photo shows the characteristica well, the stacking of units, the handle/clamp design and the wonderful soft and worn texture of the metal. The background is nice and simple and I especially enjoy how the rock looks "stacked" in the same way as the tiffin boxes.
scalerman (26900) 2004-02-11 12:53
And I seem go remember these or ones similiar in Vietnam. Not sure though.
padam (186) 2004-02-12 1:33
Nice documentary shot. A kind of shot that we should see more often here on TE.
Regarding ISO noise as pointed by Adrian, I have to admit that my eyes are not good enough to see these "little single pixel coloured patches". And I thought I was too much perfectionist ;-)
andyohare (437) 2004-02-23 18:29
Superb shot - I wish I could see Adrian's noise though! Is it like the Emperor's new clothes?
Tiffin tins are excellent objects, and the stone makes a complementary setting for them.
roconnell (327) 2004-05-30 14:56
Not only an incredibly simple and well composed photo, but the economy behind these boxes is also fascinating. The contrast between the smooth and shiny surface and the rough rock below is great. Well done.
- Copyright: Bob Wallace (BobTrips) (1857)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2003-02-18
- Categories: Daily Life
- Camera: Olympus C-2100UZ, 7-70 mm IS, ISO 100, 2 meg Digi, UV
- Exposure: f/3.5, 1/500 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2004-02-10 23:33
- Favorites: 1 [view]