Fort Kochi: The Kerala government’s Rs 65 lakh has gone to Israel! We aren’t talking about Israel the country but a man who was neck-deep in debt when lady luck smiled on him.
M Israel, who runs a restaurant in a rented shop opposite the taluk office at Fort Kochi, has won Rs 65 lakh in the Kerala government's win-win lottery. Raju, whose nick name is Israel, is from Radhapuram in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli. Though he is from Tamil Nadu, Israel has been living in Kerala for the past 22 years.
He began his Kerala innings with stints as a waiter in restaurants in places like Thrissur and Kottayam. He came to Fort Kochi a year and a half ago as a worker but later started running the New Annapoorna hotel. For the past few months he was finding it difficult to pay the rent.
Israel's financial condition was so bad that his co-workers say that he had to pawn his wife's gold chain to pay their salaries. Israel had brought his wife Sashirekha and daughter Darshini about two months ago to show them around Kochi. But he ran out of funds and he couldn't send them back. His wife now helps him out in the restaurant’s kitchen.
In Tamil Nadu too they are living in a rented house. Now, he plans to buy a plot and build a house, and improve his business. He had bought the Rs 30 lottery ticket from a lottery agent near jhankar jetty when he went to buy toffees for his daughter. The winning ticket has been deposited with the Mattancherry branch of Canara Bank.