The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Two sides of the contest coin
Winner worth weight in silver

What can shedding a few kilos, at the prodding of his wife, possibly cost a man' In Sandip Kumar Chatterjee’s case, it cost him over Rs 1 lakh.

For, each of the five kgs he lost in the past few months following the “you’re getting fat” jibes from wife Mita, would have been worth their weight in silver.

They would have added a handsome amount to the Rs 14 lakh (Rs 9 lakh in hand following tax deductions) the man from Murshidabad won on Tuesday.

The calculation of the contest he topped was simple: the value of silver won would equal the body weight of the winner. At last count, 42-year-old Sandip weighed 70 kg, down from the 75 kg he used to weigh till a few months ago.

Still, the Rs 9 lakh coming his way thanks to a Sreeleathers contest is a real windfall for Sandip, who does odd jobs in a tax consultant’s office and earns a maximum of Rs 3,000 every month.

So, the prize money adds up to roughly 25 years of the annual amount he now brings home.

Devraj Bhattarai, who won and lost a Rs 5-lakh scholarship. Picture by Pabitra Das

A cash crunch had forced him to pull five-year-old son Souvik out of an English-medium school and also to keep changing rented houses.

“When I broke the news to my son he jumped with joy and the first thing he said was ‘amader nijer badi hobe (we will have our own house’). Once I get the prize money, building my own house would be the first priority,” said an ecstatic Sandip at the Sreeleathers Free School Street outlet on Tuesday.

The rest of the amount — Sandip opted for cash rather than 70 kg of silver — will go into the education and treatment of his son who suffers from a nerve disorder. “Due to the condition, Souvik often loses consciousness. This money will really help in his treatment,” said Sandip.

The happy twist of fate can be traced back to the pair of shoes he had picked up from a Sreeleathers outlet back home in Murshidabad for Durga puja. “I was completely dumbfounded when I heard that I had won the contest. My wife started crying... Even now, it is hard to believe that so much money is mine,” smiled Sandip, a trifle nervously.

Email This Page