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Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Kerala sanitary workers win big lottery !

Even a fervent Cine watcher may not  remember much about ‘Rakkayi Koyil’ movie, starring Selva and Kasthuri directed by Manivasagam in 1993!!

Joy and JaniMeraNaam –  I  remember them.  In mid 1970s -  chiclets, a type of candies hit the market.  Two of those brands were ‘Joy’ and ‘Janimeranaam’- costing 5 paise each.  The sales roared not because they were so delicious to chew,  more because of the captivating sales pitch  – everytime, one opened the cover, there was a no. printed – one has to collect them in serial [of three eg., 6,7 & 8] and some nos. individually were given pre-set prizes of notebooks, pens and the like.

Most of us are attracted to some form of gambling – in the neighbourhood small shop [nair kadai !], numbers concealed in a random manner, would be hung on a cardboard scheme.  You pay 5 or 10 paise, pull out one and depending on the number, you might get prizes ranging from a Rupee to Ten rupees and some items like spoon – hung in an eye-catching manner on the cardboard itself.  There were rankling doubts on whether anyone ever won that at all – those cardboards would change frequently showing that so many have tried their luck on it.

Visitors to Kerala would sure know this – at Bus stop, Railway station and common places, one sees Lottery ticket vendors – there are so many of them – people buy them large numbers and would hope for eternity that they would one day get a big boom changing their lives – as it occurred to this group of 11 women, municipal workers !!

Eleven women from Kerala, all municipality workers, have jointly won the coveted Rs 10 crore jackpot of the state government's 2023 Monsoon Bumper lottery. The women, who usually get Rs 250 per day for collecting non-biodegradable waste from households in Parappanangadi town in Kerala's Malappuram district, pooled Rs 25 each to buy the 250-rupee ticket for a monsoon bumper prize lottery in June this year. All the women work with Haritha Karma Sena, which collect non-biodegradable waste from households and establishments, and then sends it to shredding units for recycling. This is the fourth time the group bought the bumper lottery ticket. They previously won Rs 1000 in Onam bumper.

Even as private lotteries are banned in Kerala, the government runs its highly-publicised programme - Kerala State Lotteries, which is the first of its kind in India.  According to media reports, the women do not intend to end their jobs as sanitation workers even after winning the lottery and said they will still work to keep Parappanangadi clean. They are supposed to get around Rs 63.6 lakh each, after paying the taxes.

 Without getting into the good, bad and ugly of Govt running lotteries – this for sure would change the life of the winners – they can pay back their debts, and invest for the future, perhaps think of building house and the like.    The friends, some in their 20s and others over 70, all struggled to make ends meet, earning only a small salary as they collected and segregated rubbish in their town of Parappanangadi, in the south Indian state of Kerala.  An impulsive decision to buy a lotter ticket has changed their lives.   

In the single digit lottery - the ticket numbers must end from 0 – 9 and thus 10 wickets could well have to end  – 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. But as one would have experienced and going by the theory of Gambler’s fallacy – if you had bought say 5 tickets and the ending nos. had been 3,5,8,8,0 and if the winning no. were to be 4 – even if you are to buy 100 tickets more,  still you may not  get that ticket ending 4. For every new ticket  - be it your 1st buy or 231st buy – the probability still starts afresh and would give you the option of anything between 0 – 9.   Have seen mounds of paper left over by the gamblers searching for that elusive win – losing all their money and ending up disappointment.

The film  mentioned at  the start - ‘RakkayiKoyil’ had Goundamani & Senthil,  as hair dressers.  Mid-work, Goundamani gets to know winning 15 lakhs in lottery, immediately would start behaving differently,  prattle about buying everything from the Govt road, house, river !!  - would throw away things wildly .. .. .. in the melee would realise that the price winning lottery was kept safe by his wife in this toolkit, which Senthil had forcefully thrown into the river, the moment they heard of winning lottery.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1st Aug 2023


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