Christmas in Cavel: Bombay Balchão author Jane Borges shares community's festive delicacies
Mumbai-based journalist and author Jane Borges' book Bombay Balchao is an ode to Cavel's cosmopolitan Christian community. Jane gives us a glimpse of Christmas in Cavel.
In Mumbai's Marine Lines area lies a quaint Catholic neighbourhood whose history dates back to the 16th century. From being the hub of Portuguese missionaries to sheltering Goan migrants, over the years, Cavel became a melting pot of varied Christian communities.
Mumbai-based journalist and author Jane Borges' book Bombay Balchão is an ode to Cavel's cosmopolitan Christian community. In the book, she alludes to this aspect of the south Mumbai neighbourhood using various narratives, especially the cuisine and the food practices.
In an earlier interview with Firstpost, Borges said, "Food is such an important part of the East Indian, Goan and Mangalorean celebrations in Mumbai. It’s not as much a character, but a way of life. If there is feasting — and there are so many such occasions in the book — food has to be there. I couldn’t ignore it."
Borges' book, in a way, personifies the balchão and weaves it in the story in a myriad of ways. 'Each time you prepare the balchão masala, think of the person you want to feed it to. If it’s someone you dislike, you might end up being too liberal with your spices. If this person is somebody you love, you will be more careful, especially with your peppercorns and chillies. You don’t want to burn the tongue that has been kind to you,' she writes in the book.
Originally from Karwar in Karnataka, which shares its border with Goa, Borges says, the food prepared at her home has an influence of three different regions: Mangalore (where her mother hails from), Goa (her grandmother's native place), and of course Karwar. It is evident that the Christmas delicacies in her family also bear this confluence of diverse tastes and cultures.
In this video, Jane Borges gives us a glimpse of Christmas in Cavel:
Reported by Suryasarathi Bhattacharya | Produced and Edited by Nikita Rana
The East Indian community may not be as strong in numbers as it was once, but it is still holding on to its unique traditions, as seen in their Christmas celebrations
Local authorities approved the burials but never told the families, who believed their loved ones were in a local cemetery — and only months later discovered the truth.
Atta Galatta Book Prize 2020 longlist announced for fiction and non-fiction; Bombay Balchão, Hijab among nominees
12 fiction and 10 non-fiction titles were longlisted in separate categories for the Atta Galatta prizes in English-language writing.