Ramzan is a special time of the year for Muslims around the world. For Michelin Star chef Vikas Khanna, it is extra special.
Every year since 1992, Chef Vikas Khanna has fasted for a day during the holy month of Ramadan to honour a Muslim family he credits with saving his life during the 1992 riots in Mumbai. And he had been trying to find them ever since.
On Monday, he tweeted he was happy to have tracked down the family and would break his Ramadan fast with them. Last night, presumably after meeting and sharing an Iftar meal with the Mumbai family, Chef Khanna tweeted: “Heartwarming evening. All Heart. Tears. Pain. Pride. Courage. Humanity. Gratitude.”
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
In a interview with actor Anupam Kher for Republic TV in 2017, Khanna detailed the events that took place during the riots, and his tryst with the family. He revealed that since 1992, he has been fasting for one day during the month of Ramzan in honour of the family.
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, somebody said that many people had died in a massive fire in Ghatkopar. This spurred him to throw aside his apron and set out in search of his brother, who lived in the same neighbourhood.
On his way, Khanna chanced upon a Muslim family that warned him of rioters in the area. “I told them that my brother was in Ghatkopar, and I didn’t know how to get there. They urged me to come into their house because there was violence raging everywhere,” he said.
But somebody had seen Khanna enter their residence. In no time, a mob arrived at their doorstep and began asking about him. His benefactors claimed that he was their son – a Muslim.
The mob left, but a scared Khanna stayed with them for the next one-and-a-half days. The family also sent somebody to check on his brother in Ghatkopar, who turned out to be safe.
Khanna lost touch with the family in the years that followed, but the incident left a deep imprint on his heart. Since then, he has made it a point to fast for a day during Ramzan, praying for the strangers who helped him in his hour of need.
What an incredibly happy ending to a heartwarming story!