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Friday, 7 February 2014

Not so happy DSF raffle story

It was a recent story assignment on DSF raffles that got me wild and all wound up. Who would think that winners do not want to reveal their identity. This was beyond me.

A guy who won 1 kilo of gold begged me not to reveal his identity because he is worried his bosses would find out. "Madam last time when the main paper carried they (bosses) missed it somehow. I cant be sure if they would miss again. They are people who read your paper regularly," he said in trembling voice. I let him go thinking he is just a weird chap and there will definitely be others who will want to spill their joy.

Though I couldn't stop wondering who his bosses are? A bunch of bullies in red ties and black coats? Who will come and snatch your wealth and joy? A bit weird but soft-spoken, that guy reminded me of an old colleague who would stay so worried at work that he almost made it quiet sure that his bosses thought he did not even take his bladder breaks. May be these two suffer bossobia (which can mean phobia of bosses, are you reading?)

Then I spoke to various nationalities as per editor's direction that we need to cover a mixed bag. The following call burst a myth that I had been carrying all the while - that expats from certain countries feel threatened and live such horrible lives anywhere they migrate to and never truly live a happy life they deserve. 

I was completely wrong when another winner, not from the countries list I had in my ignorant mind, mentioned why she wasn't happy  to get publicity on the raffle win. She did not want banks to chase her. Did she owe them money? My profession does not allow me to pry too much. Well I would not want to think so even if journalist around the world are looked down upon for their nosy nature.

With nothing better to do than sulk I deduced a formula to figure out why some people live in fear. My understanding is that some centuries back, during the colonial eras probably, politeness was mistaken as meekness and then with passage of time it resulted in an epidemic called bullying. Some still fancy calling it racism. But I don't think it is the right word.

The third candidate, the grand raffle winner, who went home with two infinity cars said he doesn't want his family to know so to please omit him from my story. I could not but quickly ask him where he is hiding the cars. He said matter of factedly, of course 'I had to' encash them. Are people living dangerous lives here in the UAE. If your family is your enemy then God save you.

The next winner was a complete loser. I am sorry to use such harsh words, but really you must read this to know why am so frustrated. She was so worried she cut the phone after she heard that I would like to feature her in a news story. She finally answered my persistence that was under the pressure of a close deadline. She said, "Can I please think you are my friend and tell you the truth?" She begged me and made me promise, like we do in high school, never to reveal her. And said something to the effect that her father-in-law will spot her picture again in the paper and it will create much chaos. I think the lady needs to call the police.

If the raffles are bringing so much heart burn than joy I think DSF should reconsider the prize strategy.

Or is it something else that fails me? Like the sheer need of protecting your interest from public eye. After all it is big money. In an internet age and time when people can do a facebook search to locate you, one can only imagine where the fears are all rooted, and how deep and far they might be linked.

After making 22 calls, all exhausted, on a weekend, before questioning it once again that if all this is worth what am paid for, I was forced to think beyond that. I said a silent prayer for these people. I prayed they get at least 10 percent of the  joy we readers think a raffle draw winner must be enjoying.

Anyway, I shall ask my editor for an extra day to submit the 'happy raffle story'. And I honestly want to wish these winners better luck. 

PS: Many calls later found few people who spoke and the story was submitted. DSF got over on Feb 2, but that story with winners who spoke is here if you want to read:


Nisha Sanjeev said...

Have u heard of a plastic surgeon being paid a whopping sum to straighten a dog’s tail!

bluvian said...

lol. hell no! poor dog!

Nisha Sanjeev said...

Yup...thats it. U can only pity them. No matter how big the windfall such ppl will only peep through a hole