$1m jackpot leaves former teacher wonderstruck

A former Dubai teacher can’t believe that her “most favourite place on earth” has made her richer by $1 million five years after she relocated back to her hometown in India.
Shanthi Achuthan Kutty, 55, received the news of winning the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Promotion draw on Tuesday.

Speaking to Gulf News over phone from her home in Thrissur, Kerala, on Wednesday, she said she was still in a state of disbelief. “I am really wonderstruck. It has slowly started sinking in.”
She had bought the ticket that won her the jackpot while travelling from Dubai to Kerala last month.
“My husband and I still have resident visas over there and we keep visiting Dubai three or four times every year,” said Shanthi.

Her husband, O.P. Achuthan Kutty, chairman of a nursing college in Thrissur, owns a chain of car repairing workshops in Dubai and a clinic in Sharjah. Their elder daughter, Sowmya, lives here, working as a digital media manager with a private firm, while the second daughter, Shweta, is a house surgeon in a leading medical institute in Kochi.

“We have a strong bond with Dubai and the UAE. Dubai is my favourite place on earth. I had a very good time over there. Whatever we have now, we have got from Dubai. We started with a humble beginning over there and we are always thankful to the country and its rulers,” said Shanthi. Her husband, 63, had landed in Dubai when he was 21. “I joined him in 1984. I had worked with New Indian Model School in Dubai as a primary schoolteacher for a few years.”

The former teacher said she never expected to be lucky enough to win such a huge raffle.

“Usually, my husband takes these lottery tickets. I never felt I am worthy of it after I didn’t get lucky once. But this time my husband insisted that we both should take a ticket each and that turned out to be lucky for me.”

She said the entire family and their relatives have been thrilled to hear the news of her win.

“My daughters have already started making plans to spend the money. Usually they do their own touring. Now they are planning the whole family’s world tour,” she said, laughing.

“We have been to Europe and the UK twice. I just wish to go to the US now.”

However, Shanthi said she would also spare a portion of the prize money for charity.

“Charity has been of prime importance in my life. I have already promised to help some poor children with cancer in Chennai.”

She said she was eagerly looking forward to the next visit to Dubai to collect the prize money.
“We have a lot of relatives over there. All of them are waiting for a big treat.”



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