Most people who buy lottery tickets do so at a whim. While they may harbour a hope to win, they know it all depends on luck. But just how lucky should you be to win the lottery not once, not twice, but three years in a row?
65-year-old RP Manoharan, a retired employee of the Kerala Electricity Board, won Rs 70 lakh on Friday in a lottery, Nirmal, run by the Kerala government. Apart from the first prize, he will get an additional Rs 1,10,000 as he also owns some of the tickets which belong to the same series as the winning number.
And believe it or not, this is Manoharan's third jackpot.
"The first time I won a lottery was in August 2016. It was the Pournami lottery and I got the first prize of Rs 65 lakh. Earlier I had won very small amounts, not this big," the lucky man from Alappuzha tells TNM.
Later in November 2017, he once again won Rs 70 lakh in the Nirmal lottery. That's when Manoharan and his friends started taking his 'luck factor' seriously. So much so that people would ask him to pick a ticket for them, in the hope that they would win, too.
"People used to say that I was lucky and they would ask me to choose a ticket for them. They thought that the lottery ticket I chose might get a prize," Manoharan chuckles.
Now that he has won the lottery for an incredible third time, everyone in his village is convinced that he is the luckiest person ever. However, Manoharan is not so sold. He believes that he wins prizes because he has been a regular buyer of lottery tickets - a habit that has cost him dearly in the past.
"I started buying lottery tickets since 2009, soon after my retirement. In some months, I spent even Rs 5000 buying lotteries. So sometimes, after calculating the amount I spent in a year to buy lottery tickets, I'd get depressed. These jackpot hits are a solace to me, but I'm not so excited,â€ť he says.
Manoharan points out that lottery tickets don't bring only gains to people, the losses are not discussed enough.
â€śIn the initial years, I did not get any prize. I spent a lot of money on it. Sometimes, I really wanted to stop buying tickets but I was not able to. So when I won the prizes, I used to tell people who spoke about it that the gains come with the money I lose on this practice," Manoharan says.
He also recalls that when he won the second time, his family was surprised but that this time around, they are not as impressed.
â€śThey tease me by saying that it has now become a routine," he says, laughing.
Manoharan's lottery buying habit had its share of critics over the years. However, he says that those who complained have now been silenced. Besides, the lottery money was of great use in times of need.
â€śI got my daughter married using my first prize money. The second one was also used for certain urgent needs and now, I'd like to use the third one to provide a good future for my son," he says.
Of the Rs 70 lakh prize money, Manoharan will get Rs 44 lakh, after deducting tax and agentâ€™s commission.
Mr Lucky is, however, not sure if he will win yet another jackpot. But he has no plans to stop. â€śI will not stop, it is my hobby and I will keep doing it,â€ť he says, with a smile.