Luck is a thing that comes in many forms. Al Ain resident Rajeev Arikkatt won Dh15 million in a Big Ticket Abu Dhabi raffle draw with a free ticket number featuring the birthdays of his two children.

Rajeev, an Indian expat residing in Al Ain with his wife and children, bagged the grand prize with ticket number 037130.

“I have been residing in Al Ain for more than 10 years. I have been purchasing tickets for the past 3 years. This is the first time I have won a lottery. This time, me and my wife selected tickets with numbers 7 and 13, which are the birth dates of our children. Two months back, I missed Dh1 million by a whisker with the same combination but this time I was fortunate,” Rajeev told Khaleej Times about the ticket bought on January 11.

The 40-year-old Keralite was expecting to win as he had as many as six tickets in the draw and won with a free one.

“I got a special offer from Big Ticket whereas I got four tickets for free when I purchased two. While I have always been hoping to win, this time the expectations were high with six tickets in the draw.”

Recollecting the moments when the show hosts Richard and Bouchra called him, he said: “I was speechless. I couldn’t describe the feelings in words. I recognised Richard’s voice as I had been listening to it for years. I knew he called the winners but I never imagined it was the first prize. It was a surprise. This is a life-changing moment not just for me but for others in our group.”

20 members, a few lost jobs

Rajeev, who works as an architectural draftsman, will be sharing the winnings equally with 19 others.

“We have two groups of 10 members each. We jointly paid for two tickets and got other four tickets for free through the special offer. And it’s a paid ticket each for a group. Since we won with a free ticket, the amount will be shared equally. It’s a blessing.”

Rajeev noted that all members of the group hail from modest backgrounds, and everyone is over the moon.

“There are people working as office assistants and other low-paying jobs with monthly salaries ranging from Dh1,000 to Dh1,500. Some have lost their jobs and were staring at an uncertain future. This windfall has come at the right time for everyone.”

However, life remains the same for Rajeev and his friends, who are back at work.

“This is not going to change my lifestyle. I am at work today. I haven’t planned what to do with the money. But we will continue purchasing tickets,” Rajeev underlined.

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