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When the wanderlust bug bites you, there’s no stopping then. Those deep waterfalls, those vast Spiti valleys, those magnanimous mountains, they all seem to be beckoning to you. But before you get all dreamy-eyed, there’s something you should know better than to forget! Money! That’s where this Mumbai-based journalist went wrong. But he had angels disguised as Mumbai’s famed dabbawalas rescue him. You might not be so lucky.
Vishnudas Chapke, who is the son of a farmer, on his quest to travel across the world was doing a fairly good job, while he covered over 12,000 kilometres through northeast India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and China by road and rail in about four months. After interviewing commander Dilip Donde, who was the first Indian to circumnavigate around the world by sea, Vishnu was inspired, and even left his job to set out wandering.
His thirst to explore the world remained unperturbed, and with people coming to his aid often, he only became more excited to continue his journey. Pursuing his dream was not easy at all for Vishnu. He had slept at railway stations and in temples. When his Vietnam visa was about to expire and Vishnu had given up hope, Japan and Cambodia denied him visas. It was a Chinese journalist who then helped him get a visa to China, Vishnu had told the media. Soon his finances dwindled, including his provident fund, and unable to make his journey from China to Australia, Vishnu contacted a dabbawala who works with Mumbai Jevan Dabe Vahtuk Mandal, in Mumbai.
This group of Mumbai dabbawalas ferries about 1 lakh tiffins in the city every day. As their bit for Vishnu, delivered Vishnu’s appeal as handouts to about 2,000 people in south Mumbai while delivering tiffins.
While currently waiting in China to make his trip to Australia, Vishnu not just has the dabbawalas to thank to. He met kind people throughout his travel, some paying his food bills, some offering him shelter, some taking him on a tour through the city.
Just when you thought humanity has been killed and long buried, stories like this come along and make your day!