May 18, 2018 / 6:37 PM / 2 months ago

Mumbai's lunch-carriers choose wedding gifts for Harry and Meghan

MUMBAI (Reuters) - A group of Mumbai’s dabbawalas - the Indian city’s famed lunch delivery men - were out shopping on Friday for a traditional sari dress and a kurta jacket as a wedding gift for Britain’s Prince Harry and his American fiancee Meghan Markle.

Students of an art school give finishing touches to a painting created to commemorate the royal wedding of Britain's Prince Harry and his fiancee Meghan Markle, in Mumbai, India May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

Prince Harry and Markle will marry on May 19 in a ceremony in Windsor that is attracting huge attention around the world.

Back in 2005, Harry’s father Prince Charles invited some dabbawalas from Mumbai to his wedding with Camilla Parker Bowles. One of them was Sopan Mare.

Dabbawalas, also known as tiffin carriers, purchase a saree and Kurta, traditional Indian clothing, as gifts for Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to mark the occasion of their wedding, in Mumbai, India, May 17, 2018. Picture taken May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

“At the time of Prince Charles’ wedding, the royal family treated us like family. As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed, it almost seems like it’s a wedding in our family,” said Mare, who helped choose the gifts for Harry and Meghan in one of the city’s fabric shops.

Subhash Talekar, a spokesman for the Mumbai Dabbawalas’ Association, said they would send a traditional sari and a long, close-fitting kurta jacket from the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital.

At the Gurukul School of Art in central Mumbai, children were painting posters of Harry, Markle and Queen Elizabeth.

Even more thrilled were the women from the Mumbai-based NGO Myna Mahila Foundation, one of a handful of charities picked by the couple to attend the wedding.

Dabbawalas or tiffin carriers purchase a saree, a traditional Indian women's cloth and Kurta as gifts for Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the occasion of their wedding, in Mumbai, India, May 17, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

“We have been preparing in terms of what will we be wearing and what we will be giving,” said founder Suhani Jalota, whose organization aims to break taboos around menstrual hygiene in India by offering women access to low-cost sanitary pads.

Jalota said her NGO planned to give the couple calligraphic portraits because Markle, who visited the foundation last year, had been a calligraphy artist.

Elsewhere, PETA animal rights activists in India said they had given Prince Harry and Markle a bull, rescued after he was injured, and called him “Merry” - a hybrid of the couple’s names.

“Prince Harry and Meghan Markle now have a one-ton bull to call their own. Rescuing Merry is an ideal wedding present for a couple who want their day celebrated with charitable works and contributions,” PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav and Sankalp Phartiyal; Additional reporting by Abhirup Roy, Francis M. and Euan Rocha; Writing by Raissa Kasolowsky; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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