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Last Updated: Friday, 8 April 2005, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
Tiffin carriers for royal wedding
Prince Charles with Raghunath Medge
Raghunath Medge met Prince Charles in Mumbai
Two of the famous lunch-box, or tiffin, carriers from the Indian city of Mumbai are on their way to London to attend Prince Charles' wedding on Saturday.

Raghunath Medge and Sopan More are two of the dabbawallahs who pooled money a few weeks ago to send Charles and wife-to-be Camilla Parker Bowles gifts.

Prince Charles met the tiffin carriers on a trip to India two years ago.

Mumbai has an estimated 5,000 tiffin carriers delivering about 175,000 lunch boxes daily in a century-old tradition.

Buckingham Palace sent an all expenses-paid invitation to the two tiffin carriers to attend the royal wedding.

The dabbawallahs had sent wedding gifts that included a traditional Indian headdress for Prince Charles and a sari, blouse and bangles for Camilla.

I am taking with me the blessings of entire India
Sopan More

Mr Megde and Mr More are carrying a box of homemade sweets and a greeting card pasted with their blessings in English to present to the couple.

"I am taking with me the blessing of entire India. I am representing my people and wish Prince Charles a happy and joyous marriage. He has our blessings," said Mr More.

Unique system

The dabbawallahs collect tiffin boxes from suburban homes and deliver them at their offices and factories at lunchtime.

"Tiffin" is an old English word meaning midday snack.

Prince Charles headdress
A headdress for Charles was among the carriers' gifts (Photo: Milind Wadekar)

A unique tracking system ensures that all the lunch boxes reach their rightful owners in time, earning a rating of 99.99% for precision and accuracy from Forbes magazine.

That's one error in 10,000 deliveries.

The tiffin carriers say that they can never forget their meeting with the Prince of Wales.

"It was because of his visit that people around the world came to know about our work. For the first time in our 114-year history, our achievements were noticed," said Mr Medge.

"Prince Charles gave us so much importance. He chose to meet us instead of the high-profile people."

The vocation of supplying tiffin in Mumbai began in 1890, when the British and Parsi communities in the city needed convenience lunches.


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