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Organic meal over, check out the dabba

New Delhi/Mumbai, Oct. 30: As Prince Charles tucked into organic kebabs in the capital today, plans were being firmed up for his November 5 meeting with Mumbai’s famed dabbawalas.

The British prince has expressed “great interest” in meeting the dabbawalas who manage to serve hot food on time across Mumbai to nearly 200,000 people every noon.

The manner in which the tiffin carriers are transported across carts, cycles, rickshaws and trains before reaching the customer, sitting miles away, for whom it is meant — regardless of whether he is a senior manager in Colaba or a humble public call office operator in Santa Cruz — has left Charles “mighty impressed”.

The system has attracted the attention of global management gurus and is now being studied in top business schools worldwide.

The prince, who wants to see “first hand” how the system operates, will meet the sweaty, harried dabbawalas near Churchgate station as they strain every sinew to reach the tiffins on time.

But dabba food was not on Charles’ mind today when he visited the Navadanya food stall at Dilli Haat, a sprawling south Delhi market that features work of artisans drawn from across India.

The prince, who is a passionate advocate of the organic food movement, reached Navadanya — a non-government organisation that specialises in farming organic products — two hours late. A full-fledged organic meal awaited him.

Charles, who staunchly opposes genetically modified food, met up with old friend Vandana Shiva — one of the founders of Navadanya — at the stall. The prince and the environmentalist delivered the prestigious BBC Perth lectures last year, and both had spoken of the need for organic farming.

Navadanya laid out its best food for its royal guest. The cameras were rolling and reporters watching, but the prince did not even look their way.

The media has been on Prince Charles’ trail but has kept at a safe distance since he is not fielding any questions.

He chatted with Shiva as he sampled the raagi idli, rajma ke kebab and amaranth pasta.

Charles also had suji ka dhokla and jhangora firni.

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