The betting game
In modern, “refined” days, if there is a sporting contest, you can bet there is someone betting on the outcome. Sums reach huge amounts and a lot is at stake. So the practice of betting has given rise to controversies about fixed matches, where the gamblers pay off teams or players to “take a fall”, or lose, in the common tongue. Those who remember names like Hansie Cronje and Mohammad Azharuddin will remember the devastating toll match fixing took on Cricket.
Anyway, back to the point. Humans love to throw money at chance. And to feed that love, giant money sucking buildings [commonly called casinos] have sprung up in the big cities. Though, if you look closely, you can probably find a gambling joint on some tucked away corner of your home village. The purpose of casinos is to juice every penny from every mortal that walks through its doors. Of course, most of those sad mortals know that the casino has SOME advantage over them. But very few know to what extent. And of course, the casinos are so good at playing innocent, that no matter how calm and cool you are, it'll have you racing after that elusive shonar horin. Business is so good, that an entire city has been dedicated to cater to the human intoxication with gambling. And this paradise city goes by the name Las Vegas.
So, what drives people to this madness? What drove Judhistir, that great king in Mahabharata, to bet his kingdom, his possessions, his brothers and even his [actually their's…long story, nevermind] wife? Well, a recent study conducted by a group of scientists led by Mathias Pessiglioneat University College London, UK, seems to point towards dopamine. It appears that when we guess correctly, or happen to win a bet, we get a sudden surge of dopamine. What does dopamine do? It gives us a “high”. Cocaine and amphetamines creates artificial dopamine surges in the body. So, when people say gambling is addictive, they're not too far off.
This study also explains why people taking dopamine inducing drugs as medication [such as Parkinson's disease patients] are prone to gambling addiction. When they pick out a winning combination, they remember it better and are quicker to recognize another winning combination. However, please don't walk away with the notion that snorting cocaine will help you clean up a casino. Dopamine doesn't help you realize losing combos. Also, the effect of dopamine surges may explain why people suffering from schizophrenia have some delusions and mistakenly connect events that are completely ordinary and random.
We love our readers and would hate for them to go to Casinos, lose all their money and not be able to buy our paper. So our advice to you: stay away from Las Vegas and stick to Facebook poker. Ten bucks says you won't make one million points in the first two weeks.
By Kazim Ibn Sadique
MY eyes opened to the utter brightness. It was difficult to see and wearily I lifted my eyes to shield them from the burning glow. It was hard to get accustomed to all the lights and my head was aching, further emphasized by the brightness. Where was I? I thought to myself, trying hard to recollect previous events that had led me here. My mind was blank, I could remember nothing at all. As my eyes managed to bear the lights, i scanned the room. It seemed my every movement was echoed all around me. I could almost see sudden motions as I moved. Then after my vision returned almost fully, I could see that the room was entirely covered with mirrors, large standing mirrors and mirrors on every inch available on the walls. I could see no windows but I could see a door handle, placed firmly on a mirror. I lifted my eyes towards the ceiling and immediately shut them, blinded by the light emanating from perhaps thousands of high-watt bulbs. Their presence led to such luminosity.
Concentrating hard, I tried to relive events occurred before my present predicament. I remember that it was snowing and I was walking home at night, having just left a party. But was that a re-collection of yesterday or last month? I wasn't too sure. All the bulbs made sure the room was warm. The floor was carpeted in some sort of wool. It was quite comfortable.
Slowly, I began looking about more carefully and my vision cleared. Every mirror reflected me and the room and other mirrors that reflected the same thing. Though the room was almost dinky, the constant reflection made it seem endless. My image was seeming plastered alive, on all four corners of the room. I suddenly noticed that I didn't have my clothes on. Suddenly, a sense of fear washed over me and instinctively I brought up my slender arms to cover myself. The images in the many mirrors did exactly the same. I concentrated on one of them and saw myself fully. Jet-black hair fell all the way down my shoulders, concealing parts of my exposed frame. My eyes traveled down from the forehead to my toes, pausing momentarily as if to savor the beauty of my reflection. It lingered most on my eyes, which sparkled and seemed ablaze. Devoid of options, I tried to ease my mind and contemplate a way out. Lazily, pulling myself up, I approached the turned and tried turning the knob. I was locked. Defeated, I went back and sat in the middle, feeling like a stage-actor, participating in an intense play, being scrutinized by millions of eyes, all of which were familiar. Attempting to relax and calm my nerves, my eyes wandered around the room. A hint of drowsiness remained over my mind and it assisted in dulling my thoughts.
Suddenly, I spotted an envelope lodged between two mirrors. Tenderly approaching it, I tore it open and out spilled the contents. There was a key, attached to a note. 'For years, I have been enslaved in your beauty, worshipping your pure image, blinded by my love for you. Caging me in your charm, you suddenly decided to leave. Thus, I have brought you here, so that you too can witness the be-witching beauty you possess. I leave you the key, incase you ever get tired of it. But, I know, that you will never be able to love. Your arrogance, your narcissism and your pride will complement your love for your beauty and you will be imprisoned here forever. You will be yet another victim but of your own beauty.' It was signed 'David'. A smile spread across my lips, oft described as 'luscious'.
I was flattered indeed. But how could I be trapped here by my own beauty? It was such a ridiculous thought. Of course, I was beautiful, so beautiful my pride was justified. My presence was of course mesmerizing, my features heart-breaking. I was god's own masterpiece, why should I bother about David? Thinking that, I gingerly proceeded towards the door, followed by my phantoms all around. But suddenly, I stopped and glanced at my reflection. I was truly beautiful. Maybe I should sit back and admire myself a bit more. Maybe I can stay here forever and admire myself for eternity. True beauty can never die…no I was much too pretty to face the inevitable. I was surely immortal, otherwise why was I created in such formations? Yes, I was trapped forever, but this isn't ridiculous. You would believe, only if you saw me…. I would give in to my last temptations. Myself.
By Osama Rahman
As I walk down the street
When I start to laugh
When I am so tired of them
By Tannaz Tasnuva Ali
The sound of a bird,
The sound of a bird,
By Imaan Khasru
Sitting alone amidst everyone,
| Issues | The Daily Star Home|
© 2009 The Daily Star