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When chef Vikas Khanna had a close shave

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Well-known chef and filmmaker Vikas Khanna posted on social media that he has recently experienced the happiest day of his life. It was when he met up, a few days ago, with the Muslim family that had saved his life during the 1992 Mumbai riots. The story goes like this: Vikas, on landing in Mumbai, had got a job at a hotel in Bandra in the room service department in 1992. Just a few days after, the communal riots started and a curfew was imposed on the extremely troubled city. The hotel staff had been advised not to go out of the hotel, not even to buy provisions. That’s when someone told Vikas that parts of Ghatkopar, where his brother lived, were burning and a lot of people were dying there. A distraught Vikas walked straight out of his hotel towards Ghatkopar, walking from Khar railway station (where the trains were not running) towards Ghatkopar. “Everywhere there were mobs, riots,” Vikas recalls. At one crossroad which was full of rowdies, a Muslim man asked him where he was going. Vikas told him he was walking towards Ghatkopar where his brother lived but that he wasn’t sure of the way. The kindly Muslim urged him to come into his house where his family lived since it was dangerous, if not deadly, outside. Vikas followed him to his home and soon the mob came to the house and asked who the new addition to the family was. Says Vikas: “I remember the family had the father, his two sons, one daughter and a son-in-law. The father told the mob that I was also his son who had just arrived from overseas and when they asked whether I was Muslim, he answered in the affirmative. I can’t ever forget that. I stayed a day and a half in their house and the father sent his son-in-law to Ghatkopar who confirmed that my brother was alive and well. For a day-and-a-half I slept on the floor in their house and they were protecting, safeguarding me. That was one of the biggest things of my life. Since then I have kept a fast one day of Ramzan every year for that family that saved me.” Now, says Vikas, he has at last found that fortuitous family in what is one of the most thrilling days of his life. He adds on social media that he will break his Ramzan fast this year together with the family members. Yes, life can indeed be pretty amazing sometimes…

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