Kerala: Indian man who won lottery hours before selling house

It was a moment of relief when Mohammed Bava’s friend called him to give him some unexpected but delightful news.

The friend told him that he had won 10m rupees ($125,000; £106,000) in a lottery he had been trying to win for almost a year.

This was on 25 July. Four days later, Mr Bava has become a celebrity in his home town of Kasargod in the southern state of Kerala.

The lottery is largely illegal in most India states but a handful, including Kerala, allow it under strict oversight and regulations.

The win couldn’t have come at a better time for Mr Bava. He was under massive debts that he accumulated over the years. He had been struggling to repay money to his lenders and this had put massive financial and emotional stress on him and his family.

As a last resort, the family had decided to sell their house to repay the debt. Hours before the call came, Mr Bava had almost done a deal with a buyer to sell his house.

On 25 July, he was due to meet a prospective buyer at 5.30pm to confirm the sale of his house and accept advance payment.

But fate had other plans and he still remembers the exact moment when his friend Ganesh called.

At 3.20pm, he got the daily WhatsApp message from Ganesh about the the day’s results. His call soon followed.

“I was so relieved. I had run out of people to turn to for help,” Mr Bava told the BBC. “We were ecstatic, we had no words to describe our emotions.”

After taxes, Mr Bava is expected to get 6.3m rupees. It’s unclear when exactly he will be able to get the money. But he’s not worried anymore as lenders have stopped knocking on his doors.

“The debtors have been quiet after I won. People clamour for money when you have none. But once they knew I finally had the money to pay them back, things calmed down,” he said.

The Bavas were once a debt-free middle class family. Mr Bava worked as a contractor in the construction sector but work had begun to dry up in the last few years. Things only got worse after the Covid-19 pandemic hit India and the world in early 2020.

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