An Indian national who worked as a taxi driver in Dubai for nearly a decade has won the Dh20 million jackpot through Abu Dhabi’s Big Ticket draw.
On Saturday, Renjith Somarajan was announced as the new ‘Dh20 Mighty Millionaire’ during a live stream by the draw’s organisers.
The 38-year-old, who moved to Dubai 13 years ago, will share his winnings equally with nine friends who purchased the Dh500 ticket with him.
“I couldn’t believe it when my name was called during the jackpot,” he told The National.
“It’s always been a dream to win the lottery. I was earning about Dh5,000 as a taxi driver for eight years, then the salary was reduced when I started another job. It was always difficult to meet all of our needs, but now things will get better.”
Mr Somarajan and his friends will each receive Dh2 million after the funds are split equally among them.
He said the money would help him support his eight-year-son Niranjan and his wife, as well as his sisters in his home country.
“We are still in shock and haven’t really decided what we will do with the money, but I know it will help me take better care of my family, my sisters who are in Kerala, buy land in India and I might partner with a friend for a new business in Dubai,” Mr Somarajan said.
“Our lives were okay when I was working as a taxi driver, but then it became a little unstable. When the pandemic hit, the office I was working for closed for a while and we didn’t get a salary, so it was very difficult then.”
The friends who bought the ticket with Mr Somarajan are from Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran and moved to the UAE many years ago to support their families back home.
In January, another Indian national had won the Dh20 million jackpot through Abu Dhabi’s Big Ticket draw.
Abdussalam NV, who lives in Oman, was informed about his winnings a day after the draw, as he could not be reached.
The weekly Mahzooz draw has also been changing lives. Wendy Arroz, a Filipina office manager in Dubai, was recently reunited with her daughter, who she had not seen for two years, after winning Dh200,000 in a draw.