Life is beautiful, finds KBC winner’s family

By Imran Khan, IANS,

Patna: Neighbours have suddenly become courteous, shopkeepers are eager to help and long-forgotten friends have started calling again — the family members of Sushil Kumar, the first contestant to win Rs.5 crore (Rs. 50 million) on “Kaun Banega Crorepati”, are trying to make sense of all that is happening around them.

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Life has not been the same since Sushil Kumar, a 27-year-old computer operator and tutor who earns Rs.6,000 per month, won the top prize in the show hosted by megastar Amitabh Bachchan. The episode will be aired on Sony Entertainment Television Wednesday.

Sushil’s father Amarnath Prasad is the first to notice the change.

“All visitors respect me and are touching my feet for my blessings. It was not the case four-five days ago. I was just another poor man for most people here,” Prasad told IANS on phone from Motihari in East Champaran district of Bihar, some 200 km from here.

“Thanks to Sushil, people now respect and honour me. It is money that matters, not me,” he added.

Prasad, who candidly admits to not having seen “even Rs.1 lakh in cash” in his life, said a wide assortment of people — from bankers to businessmen and even complete strangers — have started dropping in and enquiring about when Sushil will be back and what he will do with the money.

Even happier is Sushil’s father-in-law Krishna Prasad, who runs a small shop selling litti-chokha (a traditional Bihari dish).

“With my son-in-law suddenly becoming a millionaire, my status has increased in society. People who used to neglect and sideline me due to my poverty earlier are now giving me respect and honour,” he gushes.

Krishna also prides himself on selecting Sushil for his daughter Seema.

“Only a goldsmith can identify the real diamond,” he explains.

Sushil’s elder brother Sunil said his old friends and relatives who have kept a safe distance from the family now congratulate him.

“Everything has changed for me. Now people recognise me and want to talk to me,” Krishna told IANS.

Sunil said that after some local Hindi dailies reported that his mother Renu Devi wanted to construct five houses for her five sons, builders and contractors have started approaching him.

“They visited us and assured us of quality work if given the opportunity,” he said.

At present, Sushil’s joint family lives in a small house in Henry Bazar in Motihari.

Officials of several government and private banks too are visiting the family. “But it is for Sushil to decide how to invest and spend his money,” he said.

Not only that, the family has for the first time received many gifts on Diwali this year.

“I was stunned that we were flooded with sweets, a first for us,” Sunil said.

Sushil, who married recently, will return from Mumbai after around 10 days, his family said.

To a hero’s welcome no doubt, and to the inevitable comparisons with “Slumdog Millionaire”, the fictional tale of Jamal who rose from the slums to win a KBC styled show. Sushil and Jamal – truly a story that blurs the lines between fiction and fact, reel and real.

(Imran Khan can be contacted at [email protected])