FIFA World Cup and me share a great Bond…in 2006 I won a 42 Inch Plasma TV in a World Cup related ‘Guess the Winner’ Contest !…hopeful for some Good Fortune in 2010 too!

I Love FIFA World Cups….for more reasons than one!

Distinctly remember the Family excitement during the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany…. A leading Mumbai Tabloid was running a Daily SMS Contest on guessing the Winner in the Day’s matches… I have this habit of reading Mumbai’s two afternoon tabloids while having my lunch… and so I was on one Monday afternoon in June 2006…. June 19, 2006…. That day Spain was to play Tunisia and the contest was to guess who would win…. To take Chances is my Profession !… and I love entering such contests where you don’t have to exercise and stretch your Brain Cells and which does not taunt your IQ Level… and so reflexively I had send a sms that Spain would beat Tunisia that day and promptly forgot all about it… even saw the match till half time when Tunisia was leading 1-0….. next day Tuesday Morning I receive a wake up call on my mobile at 7 am !

Caller : ” Hello is this 98201…..?’

Me  (Yet to wake up  fully) :”Huh ?”

Caller :”Congratulations ! You’ve just won a 42 Inch Plasma TV in yesterday’s Contest!…..can you come to our office at 11 am for a photo shoot?”

Me (Still Sleepy): ” Contest ? ! It’s a bit too early…. can you please call later”

My wife : “Who was it ?”

Me (yet to sink in): “Somebody saying I won a 42 inch Plasma TV in a contest I entered yesterday”

Wife : “What !… and you told him to call later !…. you did not even give him your name !”

Me (now forced to wake up) : “Must be a Joke”

Wife : “It’s not April the First and who would joke like this on a Tuesday morning!”

Anyway, it being a Tuesday, my wife and I vist the Siddhivinayak Temple in Prabhadevi in Mumbai and the Shrine of Infant Jesus and St Anthony at Worli…. It was past 9 am and we were driving towards the Temple when the Caller called again

” Sir, I had called you earlier this morning……”

To cut it short, despite down 0:1 at halftime, Spain had gone on to win the match against Tunisia 3:1 and this tabloid had pulled my mobile Number from over Eight lakh entries as the Lucky Winner !

How’s that for Luck and Probability !!!

As I was unable to go at 11 am for a photo shoot at their Parel Office, I send them my standard serious (wife thinks Glum ) face passport size colour photo by email… and I suppose all of you will say that a Wife is always right !

My Mom… she was alive at the time…. was outright disbelieving…. till I showed her my Photo as the Winner on the Front Page of the Wednesday, June 21, 2006 Edition that my office staff had already purchased several copies of before I reached office… Diwali Bonus, however remained at the same level that year !… A Scan of the the relevant section of the Front Page with my Photo is reproduced above

I was kicked…. as I was featured next to my favourite Bollywood Actress, Madhuri Dikshit nee Nene and below me was a cheering and gorgeous German Woman Football Fan with the name of the Popular German Footballer ‘Ballack’ painted across her Bare Chest… The second Scan above is the original

Friends and Clients had called in to congratulate… apparently they too have the habit of reading afternoon tabloids !

As a kick, and it was a joint decision !, my ace multimedia professional wife removed the name ‘Ballack’ and inserted my name ‘Gaurav’ across the Woman Fan’s Chest and emailed it to all our friends !… It was Fun !… It’s the first scan above… You would be kicked too if you had been in my place !

However, I had to call the Tabloid several times  to force them to arrange the TV so I could view the Sunday Finals in July 2006 ! Since it was a Daily Contest for the whole Duration of the World Cup, it seems there were 30 Winners and therefore 30 TVs to be delivered… But my calls paid off… I got a call to collect the TV on  the Saturday just before the Sunday Finals.. only Two sets were ready for delivery and they were giving me one !

I told them that I was conducting an Intensive one day workshop on Equity Portfolio Structuring and Stock Analysis at the BSE Training Institute that Saturday, but could I send my wife, children and visiting nephews from overseas who were more excited and keen… ofcourse they said, as long as I send my Mobile for verification of the SMS and Number ! …… so while I was conducting the exclusive workshop at BSE, my family, five excited members, had gone to the Parel office, collected an authority letter and then marched to Big Bazaar to take delivery of a 42 Inch Plasma TV…. when I reached later that Night, my tech savvy kids and nephews had already assembled the TV and tuned it to the cable channels…. the technician actually came later after a few days…. we all watched the 2006 Finals on a 42 Inch Plasma Screen at Home

Touch Wood, four years to date, the 42 Inch Plasma is working just fine…. The Plasma Technology and the Wider Screen brings alive Movies, Music Videos, News, Sporting Events, Sitcoms, Comedy and Drama Serials and Reality Shows…. It’s become a Family member !

Two last points…..

…..We had offered to share our happiness with relatives and friends in that they could borrow the TV for weeks at a time to enjoy too… they were kind enough to decline !

…..There is always suspicion that such contests could be rigged… but my winning proved that atleast this Contest was genuine…. so every day, I had friends and family entering the Contest… in fact my elder sister would call me to ask who the winner would be for that day’s Contest Match!…… Alas, no one won any more TVs from Family or Friends !

Now I’m awaiting some Good Fortune in this 2010 FIFA World Cup too !…. Any Contest anyone know off that I can enter !?

If you think ‘Lucky’,you’ll get Lucky !… that’s a great positive Mantra to follow… Invest in this Theme !

Cheers !

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