Vikas Khanna, the celebrity chef based in New York, recently revealed that he fasts for one day during the holy month of Ramzan. He has been doing this since 1992, the year when Mumbai witnessed gruesome riots and has a very emotional reason for this—one that he says, has shaped him as a person!
Khanna was completing his shift in the Sea Rock Sheraton hotel in Mumbai when found out about the news of rioters taking over the city. Following this, the staff was also barred from going out of the hotel, as they had guests to take care of and no relief staff could have come to the hotel in that serious situation.
“My job was to cook eggs and other things that are usually kept in storage,” Vikas recalls in an interview with Anupam Kher. “A while later, someone mentioned that many people had died in a massive fire in Ghatkopar. The thing is, my brother used to live in Ghatkopar at that time,” he adds.
Vikas threw away his uniform and decided to reach Ghatkopar, somehow. His brother’s life could have been in danger, and Vikas was ready to brave the threat on the streets for him.
“… I started walking towards Ghatkopar,” Vikas recalls. “There were mobs and riots everywhere. I reached a cross-section, where a Muslim family asked me what I was doing. I told them that my brother was in Ghatkopar and I don’t know how to get there. They urged me to come in their house because the mobs were violent outside.”
A short while later, a mob approached the family and asked who Vikas was. The family, protecting him from the violence, claimed that he was their son. “Is he Muslim?” emphasized the mob. “Yes,” the family replied. And soon enough, the mob left them alone.
Vikas stayed with the kindhearted family for another day and a half. They even arranged for someone to check on his brother in Ghatkopar. Fortunately, he was alright.
Unfortunately, Vikas lost touch with the family after the riots were over but religiously began to fast one day every Ramzan, to honour the family that saved his life.
On Monday, 11 June, Vikas had some happy news to share on Twitter. After 26 years of losing touch but keeping the family in his heart and memories, he was finally reunited with them!
“Heartwarming evening. All Heart. Tears. Pain. Pride. Courage. Humanity. Gratitude. This will be the most significant and important EID of my life. Thank you, everyone, to connect me with my souls,” he said in his tweet.
All Heart. Tears. Pain. Pride. Courage. Humanity. Gratitude. This will be the most significant and important EID of my life. Thank you everyone to connect me with my souls. pic.twitter.com/apdposBSDe
— Vikas Khanna (@TheVikasKhanna) June 12, 2018
What an incredibly happy ending to a heartwarming story!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)