A Life Measured Out in Tickets: The Story of a Lottery Addict

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A Life Measured Out in Tickets: The Story of a Lottery Addict

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

O

pposite Jambori Maidan, Worli, stands a four-storey building. It’s grey and brown, like countless other buildings in the city that have been denied a paint job for years. With a silent prayer that the roof doesn’t collapse over me, I walk through the rusty gate to be greeted by a wooden board on the lobby wall that lists the names of the residents – a study in Mumbai’s diversity. There’s a D’souza, a Qureshi, a Godbole, a Shah, and even an Arora. But the name I’m looking for is Champaklal M Patel.

Inside his dingy home, Patel is seated as if in a trance, on a small divan beside the door. I ring the bell and introduce myself again, and his wife has to tap him on the thigh to pull him out of his thoughts. At first, he is unable to recognise me, even though we met at noon. At 71, Patel finds it difficult to gather his thoughts.

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