big ticket winners
Prasanth (left) and Sarath before they headed to the airport on Thursday night . Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi/ Dubai: Two colleagues from the south Indian state of Kerala will share the biggest lottery in the history of the UAE after they won the Dh15 million Big Ticket Abu Dhabi raffle on Thursday.

Sarath Purushothaman, 34, and Prasanth Surendran Nair, 36, who work as a fire alarm technician and an electrical supervisor respectively with National Fire Fighting Manufacturing Company Limited (NAFFCO), flew home on Thursday night to share the joy that came in the New Year with their families living in the same district — Thiruvananthapuram.

The duo, who have worked together for more than 10 years, rushed to catch the earliest flight available.

“We are on the way to Sharjah Airport as we got tickets on the midnight flight from Sharjah,” Sarath, in whose name the winning ticket No. 083733 was bought, told Gulf News.

For Prasanth, who stays in Jumeirah Village Circle, reaching home on Friday is a happier occasion as his family is celebrating the naming ceremony of his daughter who was born a month ago.

“I never imagined I will be going back for the ceremony like this as I had just come back on December 9 after my wife’s delivery. Our daughter has really turned out to be our lucky charm,” the jubilant father said.

Sarath, who stays in Jebel Ali Industrial Area, said the first thing he wanted to do was also to see his mother.

Okay... thank you

- Sarath’s first response when Big Ticket officials informed him about his bumper prize.

He said he was also longing to see his wife and seven-month-old child.

Though they had been buying tickets together and along with other colleagues and sometimes alone, it was only the purchase on December 12 that turned out to be lucky for them.

No plans

They said they do not have any immediate plans on spending the whopping amount. “I have always wanted to start a farm house when I wind up and go back home. But both of us have decided to continue working here as of now. We will come back after weekend and take all the decisions slowly,” Said Prasanth.


Sarath could not initially believe that he had actually become the lucky multimillionaire after being announced as the winner of the record prize money from Abu Dhabi Duty Free, at around 11am.

“Okay…thank you,” was his first response when the Big Ticket officials called up and informed him about his bumper prize.

As they tried to convince him that he was the real winner and it was not a prank call, he said: “First I will confirm and then I will inform you.”

Overwhelmed and also panicked, Sarath was not willing to talk to them or the media for several hours.

“Give me time please, I will talk later,” was his reply when Gulf News tried to reach out to him from Dubai.

It was around 4.30pm that he finally spoke to the Big Ticket officials, he told Gulf News.

“I didn’t know what to say. I was flooded with too many calls. They had called in the morning and sent me WhatsApp messages. So, I had to answer when they called again,” he said when he called us back.

With this month’s draw being its largest ever, there was a big anticipation with over 53,000 people watching the draw live on Facebook.

Held at the Abu Dhabi Airport every month, the Big Ticket Draw is the largest and longest running raffle draw in the UAE, with one raffle ticket coming at a cost of Dh500.

Thanks to its large winning returns, the draw is one of the most popular in the country with both residents and people living abroad taking part.

Residents will be able to try their luck again next month with the chance of winning Dh10 million when the next Big Ticket takes place.

What you can do with Dh15million

If you came into big money like today’s Big Ticket Draw winner did, what would you do with it? Here are some ideas:

1. Buy a plush, five bedroom villa on Palm Jumeirah.

2. Go on a space holiday — you can take 15 others too if you book with Virgin Galactic.

3. Get yourself a souped-up supercar like a Bugatti Chiron Sport or a Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta.

4. Invest in an overseas, risk-free fixed deposit and earn a handsome interest. Dh15 million parked in an fixed deposit in a private Indian bank for example can fetch you a yearly interest of Dh1.18 million.

5. Sponsor the annual upkeep and education of 6,250 orphans under Emirates Red Crescent, or even deworm five million children yearly under Dubai Cares.