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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 05/01/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) With his wedding scheduled to take place next month, 30-year-old Indian air-conditioning technician Jayaprakash Balureddy chose the first day of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) to buy a gold chain and diamond ring for his bride-to-be Loga Ambica.

Like several blue-collar workers in Dubai, who struggle to support their families back home, Balureddy is no exception.

A native of a small farming village, Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, south India, Balureddy's family till the fields to earn their daily bread, and depend heavily on him for financial support.

"There is a need for money at home, especially since I am due to get married next month," he said. However, the wheels of fortune spun in Balureddy's favour on the first night of the DSF, when his coupon was drawn at the daily gold raffle, scheduled to take place every night for the next 30 days. Balureddy walked away with the first Expo 2020 gold coin weighing 1kg, with a current market value of a hefty Dh146,207.

"I can hardly believe my luck. For a long time, I thought someone was joking with me. I called my fianc and my mother, and they are very excited about my winning," he said.

Balureddy recalled the evening of January 2 in an interview with Khaleej Times.

"I purchased a necklace and diamond ring worth Dh6,000 from Atlas Jewellery. I made the purchase at 7.30pm and a little after 8 pm, I received a call from officials who informed me that my coupon was drawn at the raffle."

Speaking about what he intends to do with his winnings, he said he hoped to use part of it for his wedding - a typically expensive affair in India. "I have some debts I would like to clear as well," he added.

But he said he wanted to use a major chunk of his winnings to fund the education of a few children in his village. The eldest of four children, Balureddy has two brothers and a sister. "Education is still a privilege for children in Tiruvannamalai. I could not complete my education because I had to start working at a young age to support my family. I believe that education is very important." He added that he did not want other children in his village to struggle like his family.

Balureddy is now pursuing a distance education engineering degree from a university in Tamil Nadu. "We are a family of rice farmers, and my father still works in the fields. But I think education is very important."

He arrived in Dubai five years ago and has been working as an AC technician at a telecommunications company. "My salary when I began working here was Dh4,000 and in the last five years, I've received an increment of Dh150. I live in a sharing accommodation and every month I send Dh2,500 home to my family. But I've worked hard, and I have a good name in society and this winning is indeed a blessing," he said.

The raffle is organised by the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group.

Sunny Chittilapilly, chairman and board of director of the group, said: "Chances of winning are high. My advice to all people is that they buy gold and there is no better time than the DSF to purchase gold. It will always remain a wise investment."


Khaleej Times

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