17 Catholic Profiles

posted Apr 10, 2019, 8:52 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 10, 2019, 8:53 AM ]

FBAI Home Chef of the Year 2018

Alefiya Jane is a parishioner of Our Lady of the Sea, Uttan. She used to be an advertising and media professional who gave it up to follow her passion for food. "Food has always been very close to my heart, growing up with my grandmother and mother, who were amazing with food," says the 32-year-old.

Post quitting her job, she went on to starting her first brand called "She Bakes". After setting this bakery up and having acquired a firm client base, she set up her second brand called "The Bottle Masala" which caters East Indian food for all kinds of events.


Papiyas break the stillness of the Night

I grew up waiting for papiyas to arrive at the Cross just outside my home, in Marol. This was many years ago. All one could see were faces glowing briefly in the light of a flickering candle, while the baritones made their presence felt. On Good Friday, after the service, one eagerly awaited the singing of the 'Puran' by Peter Moraes, who rendered his deep and golden voice to the moment.

Papiyas or devats as they are called, are groups of devout Christians who move about from Cross to Cross in the dead of night, chanting prayers and singing hymns. Most of these Crosses were erected in East Indian villages as protection from the plague which occurred centuries ago. Papiyas represent Jesus' apostles - Peter, James and John - who accompanied Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He prayed during the Agony on the Mount of Olives.

Papiyas form groups from the Sunday before Palm Sunday until Maundy Thursday. They shroud themselves so they cannot be recognised, and render their services free of cost. Their laments in the East Indian Marathi dialect can be a hair-raising experience that sends shivers down one's spine, as they break the stillness of the night. Their strong voices are easily carried beyond the periphery, and remain in the hearts of those who hear the hymns. However, due to government regulations like the 10 pm ban on loudspeakers and a general lack of support, this beautiful and extremely pious singing is steadily dying.