When it comes to lucky draws, raffles and jackpots, we invariably tend to focus on the winners. The bigger the prize money, the bigger the deal.
The newly announced millionaires become the talk of the town, their phenomenal wins making for great copy, which everyone, everywhere almost compulsively wants to read. Their unpredictable gains are set against predictable pegs, which include, among other things, the shock and awe of the moment; the leap of faith; the end of an arduous life journey, may be; new purpose for the newfound riches; and of course, gratitude to the Almighty from the bottom of the heart.
As the media tell their spectacular tales, with their pictures splashed for all to see, there is also talk about the winning numbers, the time and place of the magic ticket purchase, the frequency at which the winner bought raffle tickets, and in some rare cases, how he or she got lucky more than once.
We also come across many analytical pieces that trace the onward journeys of jackpot winners, the complex math and probability of winning, the general trend to buy lotteries, the thrill factor, or even the fantasy element. As psychologists tell us, bumper draws and jackpots offer a welcome reprieve, allowing people the luxury to dream big while they cope with the pressures of everyday life. In fact, the dramatic, life-changing accounts of the big winners only reinforce such thoughts.
Strangely, however, these time-tested templates seldom zero in on the other participants of the draw when the winners are announced. It’s as if they are no longer relevant, their roles redundant, with even a fleeting mention deemed unfit for a footnote, let alone the main story.
Like tiny drops of water that make the mighty ocean, there is no denying that the contributions of these hundreds and thousands of unsung heroes are what add up to the millions that the winners so happily take home. Week after week, month after month, year after year, it’s not just random individuals who buy tickets to grow the bounty. Groups of colleagues, family members and friends actually plan to come together in varying combinations to pool in their resources and try their collective luck. And with every investment that is made comes a free and generous dose of faith and prayer, in the full knowledge that all that positivity could eventually serve someone else.
Yet, to the world at large, they seem like losers.
According to a survey in the UAE, a large majority of residents are keenly interested in lucky draws, albeit in varying degrees. Draws in the UAE also enjoy a high credibility with plenty of options available. So hope springs eternal.
As some millionaires let on, their participation in specific draws dates back two-three decades, sometimes ever longer. And when Lady Luck finally decides to smile on them, there’s no looking back. It’s a case of poetic justice, their long-drawn mission bearing fruition.
I am no jackpot millionaire. Nor am I a regular ticket buyer. But I can still relate to anyone who even occasionally takes the plunge and sees no tangible returns. They would perhaps count their losses, but not all would be lost.
As I see it, tribute or no tribute, there’s no taking away from the fact that they play a hugely underestimated, yet instrumental, role in the making of millionaires. Make no mistake about that.