A New Tiffin Service Aims To Rehabilitate Adults With Developmental Disabilities
For many of us our post-lunch performance at work hinges on what arrives in our daily tiffin. Yet dabba services in the city are infrequently written about. Last week we learned of one that’s worthy of press and not just for its hearty homestyle fare.
On Monday, April 20, Yash Charitable Trust, an NGO that supports adults with developmental disabilities, launched a tiffin service that recruits its wards in the kitchen. The lunch delivery service, which runs from Monday to Saturday between Juhu and Khar, is a collaboration between the trust and Khar resident Nutan Chandra, who runs a seven-year-old dabba service called Simply Ghar Ka. “A lot of organisations work with children with disabilities, but after school it’s a struggle for them to find suitable work and recreation,” said Sushama Nagarkar, the managing trustee of the Yash Charitable Trust, which ran a recreation club for these young adults before launching the tiffin service.
The kitchen has been set up in Juhu in a place owned by the trust where they currently employ nine adults (above the age of 19) as interns undergoing mis en place training. This involves purchasing ingredients, cleaning and chopping vegetables, and packing and billing food. “The idea is to give them part-time employment and equip them with these basic but useful skill sets,” said Nagarkar, a rehabilitation psychologist with a PhD in special education. The cooking is done by Chandra, a seasoned Pujabi home cook with a vast repertoire of Punjabi and Sindhi recipes that she occasionally alternates with South Indian dishes. Dum aloo, Punjabi pakoda kadhi, bhindi do pyaaza, kadhai chicken, mushroom matar, dal fry, rajma, matar paneer and black dal are among the dishes that you can expect in your daily lunch.
The Yash Charitable Trust dabba typically contains one sabzi, one dal, four chapatis, rice and salad or raita. Our veggie lunch included a creamy but not heavy black dal made mildly tart by slow-cooked tomatoes, and an excellent sweet potato makhani sabzi that smacked of butter but was thankfully devoid of visible grease. Barring the four hefty chapatis, the meal was perfectly portioned for one person. At Rs120 per vegetarian dabba you’re paying a reasonable sum for the comfort of home food. Chandra is an equally skilled non-vegetarian cook as proven by our second dabba comprising a silken, peppery Hyderabadi chicken curry, as well as a wholesome dal tadka and a mildly spiced bhindi do pyaza heaped with sweet, browned onions. The non-vegetarian meal is priced at Rs180 and makes for a good weekly or bi-weekly indulgence should you crave meat.
The tiffin service, for which Yash Charitable Trust has hired its own delivery boys, will be run on a trial basis until June. If it becomes a viable business by that time, the interns will be made salaried employees. “It’s not a charitable initiative,” said Nagarkar. “The goal is to give them a sense of community and participation.”
Orders must be placed a day in advance. To place an order, call 98924 18057. For more information, visit the Facebook page.