The Woman Who Won a Pot of Gold
Reader's Digest India|July 2020
The Woman Who Won a Pot of Gold
A serial winner of consumer contests tells her amazing story
Indu Balachandran

BEFORE me was a blank entry form for a slogan contest: “I love shopping at Vivek’s because ...”

I filled in the empty space with an off-the-cuff rhyme:

Every time I watch TV, Grind, cook, clean or bake, I keep saying, secretly, “Thank you, Vivek!”

My daughter counted out the words. “Make ‘every time’ one word, Ma, and it’s 15 words exactly!”

This was in September 1997. Two months later, we jostled for space in a packed hall of excited families in Chennai. The letter from the popular household retailer simply said “You have won one of the top 15 prizes in Vivek’s Diwali Mela”. A grand line-up of household appliances greeted us. We wondered excitedly which prize our slogan won. My daughter had set her sights on a mini Solidaire TV; a VIP Strolly suitcase was my big hope.

With each drum roll, the prizes went out—crockery sets, gleaming TV sets and washing machines. Once a family of eight rushed to the stage when a name came up. The audience whooped— perhaps ours would come next! Over 400 prizes were handed out. Time for the Big Three: all of them gold—yes, real 22-carat gold.

Two women wheeled in a grand display: chains, bangles, earrings. The cheering was deafening as the judges announced the prizes: for 3rd place—250 grams of gold jewellery; 2nd place—500 grams of gold. My daughter and I nearly stopped breathing. “This is like the Miss World Contest,” she whispered, when you pray your name is not announced— who wants to be a runner-up?

Finally, first prize. Who in this vast hall of shrieking people would it be? And then we heard it. My name. We won! We actually won one kilo of gold!

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July 2020