Dubai: An Indian expat in Dubai is still reaping the rewards of his purchase during the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) – made five years ago.
Ratanlal Bairwa, 39, who works for a UAE signboards installation company, won a kilo of gold after his jewellery purchase entitled him to DSF raffle coupons in 2008.
The promotion was held by the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, a 600-member trade body that has played a key supporting role in DSF right from the start in 1996.
Bairwa used the gold bar’s price — about Dh103,250 then — to not only renovate his house back home but to buy some land there as well which appreciated in value and whose subsequent sale empowered him to buy yet more land.
Even village children in his hometown Morda, in India’s Jaipur state, have benefited as he donated Rs100,000 (Dh6,830) to build a school.
“I’m a Hindu but I donated the money to establish a Muslim school attached to a mosque because they weren’t getting enough help for repairs, let alone a new school. It was in my village, so it was my community, be they Hindu or Muslim,” Bairwa said.
“With the house ready and some extra land in my possession now, I feel very secure for myself and my family.
“I had to give something in charity when I won, and my family completely supported me. What’s more, many children now have a school.”
Bairwa has been living in the UAE for 24 years and making DSF purchases since 2006.
He recalled the moments leading up to his windfall: “When I bought a ring for myself in the 2008 DSF, I was entitled to 17 coupons each worth Dh500. I remember filling each of the coupons out and telling myself: ‘If I win, I will surely give to charity.’ Two hours after handing in the coupons, I got a call saying I had won.
“I didn’t think it was a joke, but the news wasn’t sinking in. I called up a friend who was at the draw, at Global Village, who said: ‘Yes, Ratan, they called out your name and coupon number.’ It was only then that happiness started to spread within me.”
He added: “I phone my family — wife and three sons — and they were overjoyed. This DSF I will get her a necklace and hope to win again.
“DSF has changed many people’s lives for the better, it’s a great event. Even if you don’t win, at least you get a good deal on the shopping you do.”