“My best friend, Dhairya was back from USA. I was elated – we were finally meeting after months! He’s always been, my go-to person. Even when I was about to get married, I went to him for advice. He said he’d be there for me no matter what.
On 28th December 2017, his aunt had set up a dinner at 1Above in Kamala Mills. It was all banter and laughter, until midnight, when someone saw smoke rising out of a corner – the tent above us had caught fire. All I remember was the yelling as everyone started running for the exit.
The fire just kept rising! The beams of the restaurant were falling and the exit was overcrowded with frantic people. Some of us decided to enter another door, hoping that it was another exit. But we rushed in to find that it was a washroom. Dhairya, his aunt, his brother, me and my husband were in there together.
I was so scared – I couldn’t speak. Dhairya saw that and he told me that I’d be okay and we’d get out of this. The washroom began to fill with smoke and more people entered. We were in constant contact with the ones outside who were reassuring us. I was so claustrophobic – I couldn’t take it anymore.
I ran to the basin to drink some water and next thing I know, I’m running out of the washroom into the flames. I could hear my husband yelling and he started running after me. My feet hurt and there was fire all around me. But I didn’t care, I kept running, and I got out.
I turned around and saw that my husband had followed me. My soles were burnt and I needed to be rushed to the hospital. I could only ask about my best friend – he was still in that washroom. My husband told me that they’ll be okay as we left for the hospital.
It wasn’t until later that we found out that Dhairya, his brother and aunt had suffocated – help didn’t reach them in time. I was devastated. How could he be gone? I spent months after that hoping that he’d just walk into my room and surprise me. It took me a long time to come to terms with reality.
Every single detail of that day is imprinted onto my brain – I’ve played it a thousand times in my head, hoping to change one little detail. Anything that could bring my best friend back. In the following week, I saw the BMC’s approved plan for the restaurant in the newspaper — which was completely different from the actual place. There were no fire exits!
Because of this, me and all the other victims of that night have to bear the consequences. Now, I won’t ever forget his face, when he said to me that I’d be okay. Because I was, still am, and will continue to be – I know he’s always looking out for me.”
“My best friend, Dhairya was back from USA. I was elated – we were finally meeting after months! He’s always been my…
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