By Rupali Lamba

Lunchbox 17 is a social enterprise initiative by Swechha, a youth-run and youth-focused NGO engaged in environmental and social development issues, and Green the Gap, an online store that sells recycled and fair trade products.

Their coolest new venture has them collaborating with the women of Jagdamba Camp {one of the biggest slum clusters in Malviya Nagar} to prepare wholesome and hygienic lunch fare, which is then hand delivered within a 5 km radius of the community kitchen; post code – 17. As I now pretty much work from home, I hadn’t brought my own lunch to work for a while. So I nostalgically placed an order for one from Lunchbox 17. Ten minutes before our lunch hour, a neat and tidy Cinderella package arrived.

As I unravelled its contents, my heart ached for Deviram Ji, the man who brought my brother and I up {along with our parents}. In retrospect, his love for us was reflected in the way he packed our lunches.

Atop the LB-17 tiffin tower lay a clear box that contained crisp cucumber and onion slices. The next container featured rice, and neatly foil-wrapped roti and achaar. The breads were followed by aloo sabzi, and finally kadhi. {The menu changes every day of the week.}

Everyone tasted the contents of my first lunch box in months. All the food felt healthy and home cooked, unlike all the thalis/dabbas situations I have sampled before. School lunches had put me off kadhi, but this one was good; slightly spicy, very creamy, and very balanced. There were three aloo sabzis at our lunch table that day, and LB-17’s was unanimously voted the ‘BEST’ – putting the wives and mothers of our team to shame.

The most winning aspect of this arrangement is that every box you order {affordably at that} helps the hard-working women behind the scenes build a better life. Deviram Ji passed away a couple of years ago – but the team behind Lunchbox-17 is going to keep the love alive, one lunch at a time.

Notes in our Little Black Book | 

Clean, comfort ghar ka khaana for the homesick, as well as the sick home {unavailable cooks/parents}. Timely piping hot delivery.

For details, you can mail neha@swechha.in or meenakshi@swechha.in

Contact: Neha at 9971076326; Meenakshi at 7503298009

Price: INR 80 {A LOT of food and A LOT of love.}