Mumbai: Call from 'angel' saved student from Kurla restaurant fire

A call by a friend who asked her to wait for him, saved the life of Vanlyn D’Cunha, (21), who was headed to City Kinara restaurant at Kurla, that caught fire on Friday killing eight people. D’Cunha considers him her angel, for had she not waited for him, she would probably have met the same fate.

Also read: Mumbai hotel fire - I wanted to help, but feared for my life, says Kurla restaurant's manager

Vanlyn D’Cunha with (L to R) Akash Thapar, Bryan Fernando, Sharjeel Shaikh and Sajid Chowdhri. The picture was taken on Fernando’s birthday
Vanlyn D’Cunha with (L to R) Akash Thapar, Bryan Fernando, Sharjeel Shaikh and Sajid Chowdhri. The picture was taken on Fernando’s birthday

“On Friday I was on my way to City Kinara, but luckily I got a call and had to wait for a friend, Melvin, that made me about 10 minutes late otherwise I wouldn’t have been alive today,” said D’Cunha, a third year IT student, and a close friend of five of the students who got charred to death.

Before leaving for submissions and vivas, D’Cunha had met her five friends — Sharjeel Shaikh, Bryan Fernando, Sajid Chowdhri, Akash Thapar and Taha Shaikh — in the morning and never imagined that it would be the last time she saw them.

Their hangout
The Vakola resident further added, “Eating at City Kinara restaurant was routine for us, in case there was a change in venue then only we would notify everyone, otherwise it was understood that everyone was meeting there.”

“As it was a Friday, Sharjeel, Taha and Sajid were planning to go for prayers at 2 pm. So they left for lunch early. I was on my way, I had even stopped a rickshaw for the restaurant. Just then I got a call from a friend and had to wait for a while. He probably came as an angel in my life,” added D’Cunha.

Also read: Mumbai hotel blaze - A terrible tragedy that could've been worse

She waited for 10 minutes for her friend and then hired a rickshaw to go to the restaurant. By the time she reached, it was on fire. “I thought the kitchen area had caught fire, and after inquiring a bit with the cops, I left for college again. After my vivas got over, a teacher started inquiring about them, as the police had come to our college,” she added.

She and her friends visited the spot again and noticed their (the five friends’) bikes parked outside the restaurant, it was confirmed that the five boys were trapped in the fire.

“Since yesterday I have got nearly 200 calls enquiring about my well being, as everyone knew that I was a regular customer there. After they heard that a girl died in the incident, many people were sure that it was me, but I think God sent an angel to look after me,” she said.

Memorial service
There is an All Faith Memorial service at Don Bosco Centre for Learning, Mondini Hall, Kurla on October 20 at 9 am in remembrance of the students. All are welcome.

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