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What it was like to go broke in gaming

July 30, 2013, 6:06 am | This story has an Influence Score of 1967

By riazhussain

He occupied the front seat and took to the steering; we sat behind him at the back seats. When the car reached the highway, he went crazy, ignored the speed limits and pushed the accelerator. He brought the car to its absolute limits. The vehicle was now misbehaving wildly on the road. The driver was mocking buses, semi-trucks, massive pick-up trucks and trailers with his extreme ‘Need for Speed’ skills. The other drivers on the road protested through repeated horns. It was, perhaps, a matter of great pride and thrill for the driver but for us, relegated the back seat, it was a matter of life and death. He did not care for our concerns. Even at multi-lane roundabouts, he would not slow down and the wheels would make horrible screeching and squeaking sound, thus multiplying our fears in a heart-rending way. I had seen such scenes in action movies. 

We began to have serious apprehesions that very soon we would be hospitalized as a result of some terrible accident. But, before long, this bloodcurdling nightmare ended and at last we safely got down from this ‘wingless plane’. Eight years have gone by but I have not forgotten experiencing the suicidal driving on that day when we were being taken to a local garage in the industrial area of the town we were in. On the way back, we opted to go home by taxi. This was my first encounter with 50-year-old Forhad. 

I met Forhad in the UAE through a friend who had had a dispute with him. My friend had purchased a used car from Forhad. Later, my friend discovered problems in the car which Forhad had not mentioned. Being dissatisfied with the quality of his purchase, he requested that his money be returned, and the car taken back. It was during this dissension that Forhad took us to the local garage. His extreme driving style aroused my fears. At the same time, I was curious as to why someone would drive so recklessly on busy roads. You must have heard the saying ‘curiosity kills the cat’. But this curiosity of mine was posthumous for I was 'reborn' after experiencing that suicidal and desperate driving. So I began to gather information from different sources about Forhad and this is what I came to know about him. 

Forhad came from a remote village in the neighborhood of Chittagong in Bangladesh. This community was surrounded with coconut and palm trees. The poetic landscape of the village was composed of azure sky, pure air, cool rivers, boats, boatmen, and houses made with mud and grass thatch.

In the village, he had seen action movies. He was fascinated by life in foreign cosmopolitans. He began to have high dreams in life. He wanted to earn a lot of money. Therefore, for better prospects, he went abroad to the United Arab Emirates as a labourer, working hard day and night.

It took him years to gain sufficient experience doing various jobs on construction sites. On the basis of this experience and his accumulated contacts, he became a contractor. His new position in the construction market brought him a substantial amount of money. His newly obtained riches won him many influential and well-offf friends. Now he aspired to be as wealthy as his friends. Moreover, familial expenses were increasing. His kids were now growing up. He needed more resources for their education. But, making true wealth could have taken years. The problem with Forhad was that he was desperate and could not wait for years. The world appeared to go very fast. He wanted to keep pace with the materialistic world around him. He was intelligent, experienced and capable. Why should he lag behind and wait like helpless people?

One day, one of his friends introduced him to a new type of commercial activity and a new form of investment which would reap him big rewards: table game.

Forhad used to play the table game in a 'house' with his 'new friends'. He found the table-game interesting. Unlike the hectic construction business, the wins at the table games gave him thrill and joy. The early wins motivated him to play more and invest more. He looked at the table game as a way of solving all his problems. But, then there came a streak of losses. But he did not give up. Whenever he lost, he had hopes of winning the next game. These hopes brought him to the table game again and again despite big losses. His family was surprised to know how much money had been lost. He was so overwhelmed by the game that he ignored his responsibilities. He had become addicted. In the long run, he went broke. But things did not stop there. He began to borrow from friends and business partners to keep alive his chances of winning back his lost amount. He was waiting for his lucky day but his lucky day never seemed to come.

When his friends demanded back their money, he would make false excuses and promises. He stopped answering their calls and began to hide from them. Over time, he was declared a defaulter and was arrested by the police. He remained in jail for six months.

After serving his time, he was released from prison.  He started things anew but now he was confused. His problem-solving powers had waned away. He began to suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. He became irritable and began to withdraw from social circles while under his mood swings. His rash and reckless driving reflected the psychological problems he had after losing all he had earned in life. One day, he said to my friend, ‘When I was young, I lived in my village in Bangladesh. I used to resolve my grief by shedding tears. Now, I have been undergoing years of unhappiness but I am unable to cry. I have not cried for years. The water in my eyes seemed to have dried’. Forhad’s situation reminds me of the last stanza of a poem ‘Tearless Eyes’ written by Carlstromct:

My heart understands I really cry,

though in silence with the driest eyes.

My innermost emotions run deep,

though others may think I do not weep.

But the very fact that he can drive his car recklessly fast shows that he still has energy. Should he find a way to utilize his energies in the right direction, he may be able to make amends. After all, all of us learn from our experiences. 

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