This post was originally published on 6 March 2017.
A 33-year-old Indian expat residing in Abu Dhabi has become a millionaire after winning a lottery worth Dh7 million (Rs 12.7 crore) in the Abu Dhabi Big Ticket Draw.
The results were announced on March 5 which declared Sreeraj Krishnan Kopparembil, a shipping coordinator as the winner.
“I just went blank for a minute when I got the call from the Big Ticket. I still cannot believe it has happened,” Sreeraj told Khaleej Times.
His doubts about a possible prank call were cleared when he cross-checked his Dh500 worth ticket number 044698.
Though a regular buyer of Big Ticket, Sreeraj said he has never won anything before.
“This time when I bought the ticket, I had decided it would be my last try. And as luck would have it, this is definitely my last buy,” said Sreeraj who earns Dh6,000 in monthly salary.
Upon confirmation, Sreeraj immediately called up his wife, Aswathi Sreeraj, but she was not convinced.
“Then I sent her the screenshot of my name as the winner, appeared on big ticket’s website. Then only she believed it,” he told Gulf News.
Sreeraj has been working in the UAE since 2007. Hailing from the south Indian state of Kerala, he got married two years ago and his wife joined him in Abu Dhabi eight months ago. Aswathi works as administrative assistant at a private firm.
The couple said they want to continue working in the UAE. “Why would I leave this country where we got lucky?”
“My first priority is to pay off my housing loans back in India. That is what my wife also wants me to do,” he said.
“I am a matured person who wants to stay grounded. I don’t have any extraordinary plans for life as of now. I will let the excitement settle and think it through.”
“Obviously we are very happy. However, it does not make any immediate changes in our life. We will continue working here. We will think about investing the money later,” he added.