They say, at times, it takes just a minute for life to change completely. For Anoop, it took 24 hours. Short of Rs 50 to buy a lottery ticket on Saturday, the next day, the 29-year-old autorickshaw driver from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram was the proud winner of Rs 25 crore in the Kerala State’s Onam Lottery Bumper Draw.
As News18 spoke to Anoop, excitement over finally getting a chance to fulfil his dream of setting up a restaurant was palpable in his voice.
Recounting how he struggled to buy the Rs-500 ticket, Anoop told News18 over the phone: “I was falling short of Rs 50. I went back and broke my two-year-old son’s piggy bank to pay for the ticket. My wife shouted at me saying I was getting addicted to buying lottery tickets. She was saying it was not just his piggy bank, but his future that I stole from. She would always scold me for spending money on lottery tickets.”
At first, Anoop had picked another ticket and put in in his pocket. Then, he changed his mind and took the “lucky one” — TJ 750605.
MALAYSIA WORK PLANS
Driving an autorickshaw until two months ago, Anoop decided to go to Malaysia to work as a chef to give his family a better life. He had even applied for a Rs 3-lakh loan to fund his Malaysia trip. “That loan got passed just a day before I bought the lottery ticket,” he said.
Anoop was earlier a cook at an eatery, but he had to switch to working as a driver to make ends meet. He didn’t have high hopes from the lottery ticket. “I was actually was in the process of packing to go to Malaysia when the lottery ticket numbers were being announced… At first I did not believe my ears. I asked the woman to read out the number again. It was mine. I could not contain my happiness and called my wife to tell her.”
Six months pregnant with their second child, Anoop’s wife did not believe him. “I had to actually show her the ticket to make her believe that I had won. She has not stopped smiling since then,” Anoop said.
When asked what he would do with the money, Anoop said he would first clear his debts. He also wants to give some money to the poor and help a few students with their education.
“We will plan everything slowly. My wife will take a call on what to do with money. We are waiting for the government to send us the amount after tax deductions. I don’t want to rush into anything now,” he said.
NOT THE FIRST TIME
This is not the first lottery that Anoop has won though. He has earlier won Rs 5,000 in another lottery.
“I will continue to buy lottery tickets. It’s not greed, but I want to see how lucky I am,” he added.
News18 also spoke to last year’s Onam lottery winner Jayapalan, who incidentally was also an auto driver. He won Rs 12 crore, but continues to drive the autorickshaw. He has just one advice for Anoop.
“Invest wisely. Put the money in a fixed deposit. It is overwhelming at first, but you can secure your future with it,” he said.
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