The Bet

The Bet

Adarsh had big dreams in life. He wanted to be a billionaire, own a palatial bungalow, possess multiple vehicles, invest massive amounts in properties pan India, and live a luxurious life. 

A person with such expectations in life, needed to have a matching grit and determination to work hard to achieve success. But, Adarsh was different. He didn’t believe in hard work but wanted quick access to money.  

He always preached and practiced that luxurious life was the byproduct of passive income only. Slogging for 1/3rd hours of the day would yield peanuts, and his desires would never be satisfied by them.

Since childhood, he intentionally avoided any kind of diligent work. Never studied. Never attended school for the purpose of an education. 

When his teachers asked, “If you don’t want to learn, why do you come here?” 

His cool reply was, “This is the place where you get honest friendship and a wonderful place to develop network.” 

Annoyed by his attitude, the teacher requested to rusticate him on disciplinary grounds, citing past experiences. But the attempt failed. It was well-known that Adarsh cheated to pass the examinations but no action could be taken against him. For he was never caught. His presence of mind was impressive. 

To unleash Adarsh’s malpractices, the principal summoned his closest friend, Dinesh, asking, “Tell me, what is Adarsh’s modus operandi during the examinations? Your co-operation will fetch you awards beyond your imagination. Be assured, nothing said here will leak outside of these four walls.”

Dinesh replied, “He doesn’t cheat, sir. However, before a day prior to the exam, he studies a few selective questions from the textbook, and the next day, only those questions appear in the paper. I have experienced it myself!”

“Where does he get these questions from?” asked the frustrated principal.

“He says it’s his sixth sense,” replied Dinesh. “Several of his other predictions have also come true, sir.”

The principal had no choice but to release Dinesh with a firm warning to keep mum about their secret meeting. If news of this meeting spread, he would personally rusticate Dinesh. This put the fear of God in Dinesh’s head.

–xx—

Adarsh tried his luck in various fields of life, but was never satisfied with the returns. He constantly explored different windows but his search never seemed to open the floodgates, he’d envisioned. In a blink of an eye, his bad judgements had resulted in huge debts. To fill the gap, he borrowed from private moneylenders, and the amount compounded exponentially. A barrage of threatening calls made him sweat.

He often relied upon Dinesh to rescue him, seeking his monetary help. As his best friend, he shelled the money out from his own pocket to save Adarsh. After each incident, Dinesh suggested Adarsh look for employment, but Adarsh would remind him of the help he had provided to Dinesh during their examinations.

Dinesh was now a senior executive at a multinational company that sold various products in the market under an umbrella brand. He knew it was due to Adarsh’s help that he had cleared all the examinations successfully and reached this position. He rationalized that minor amounts spent on this ‘specially blessed’ friend wasn’t a great loss either.

—xx—

One day, Dinesh received a call from someone claiming to be from the underworld, informing him that Adarsh had been kidnapped. They said that Adarsh had shared Dinesh’s number to recover the due amount. Frustrated with his friend’s behaviour, Dinesh’s intuition hinted at non-cooperation, but the emotional side of his nudged the logic over and he decided to help his friend. For one last time.

On reaching the predetermined location, he found Adarsh seated on a table at a distance. As he approached, he was thoroughly checked for weapons. Another person sat next to Adarsh, who introduced himself as the leader, and without much delay, demanded the ransom amount.

Dinesh pleaded with him by folding his hands. “I couldn’t arrange the entire amount. This is what I could manage.”

“This isn’t done! If the entire amount isn’t settled, both of you will lose your lives today,” retaliated the leader, thumping his fist on the table and making the crockery rattle.

While the conversation flowed around him, Adarsh, not particularly bothered, observed a cricket match was due to start at a stadium. A few men stood at the counter, betting.

Inspiration struck him and he requested the leader to finance him one last time. A very meager amount. 

Dinesh was bamboozled. His life was at risk and Adarsh was adding nails to the coffin. He couldn’t hold back his outburst.

“Are you insane? You’ve doomed everyone around and now you still you want to place a bet?”

Adarsh remained cool. “My sixth sense is tingling, Dinu. I’m confident. Trust me.”

The chieftain was amazed at the young man’s confidence. After an initial hesitation, he agreed to finance Adarsh.

Surprisingly, every bet Adarsh placed on every single ball, won. The amount doubled, then trebled and within a few moments he was a multi-millionaire. 

No one, including Adarsh, could believe what had happened except the fact that he won. And won a lot. The amount he earned in one single match earned him such high profits that it not only cleared his dues to the gang but also rewarded Dinesh with a large sum.

Adarsh stumbled upon the window he had been searching for all these years. He started betting regularly. Eventually, setting up a syndicate to handle it. He roped in Dinesh, alongside him. 

Their earnings were in multifold dollars as his instinctive skills led him book profits in every match. As every sunrise has a sunset, the special task force received a tip about their betting racket and set out in search of Adarsh.

They raided his place, when a live match was being played. Dinesh’s associated warned him about the police, so they were could cover themselves. The force had confirmed information about the betting but with no evidence, let them leave with a stern warning.

The next few months saw Adarsh soar greater heights. He was living a dream phase that he knew he was always destined for. A palatial bungalow, luxurious cars, and large amounts of cash at disposal were now a part of his routine life.

Betting provided all the luxuries in the world to him. His relationship and networking crossed boundaries and international community accepted him as an integral part of the gang. Access to late night private parties of the affluent personalities was an everyday affair for Adarsh. His photographs with the stalwarts of the game; their hands on his shoulders, laughing and chilling out, were published regularly.

One day, he had a private meeting with a business tycoon who had high stakes in the betting circle. The meeting was arranged to decide upon the rates on an ongoing live match. Adarsh’s well-honed betting instincts hinted that Team A would win the match, hands-down. 

The tycoon disclosed he had invested a massive amount in Team B and intended to turn the tables. He was ready to share a large percentage of the booty with Adarsh for an adverse result. Adarsh faced newer and bigger challenges at hand. He was at a stage of life where he took unlimited risk.

Within the next few hours, he called a few known associates, and was ready for a newer game of life. From ‘betting’, he moved towards ‘setting’.

Setting was a step ahead of betting. While in betting only the outcomes were contemplated and bets were placed, Setting would alter the outcomes of the game, and was decided by a few people behind the scenes. The nature of the risk involved was immense, but the number of players involved was very limited. The return on investment was unimaginable and the sponsors were all big names from the industry. Adarsh was in an elite company and exploited the game. 

In a matter of few years, his betting days were behind him. He left Dinesh in a lurch. Every morning saw Adarsh in a different country, travelling under an assumed name to conceal his true identity. 

Unable to handle the disappointment each passing day, Dinesh, who was adversely affected by Adarsh’s betrayal, decided to take revenge. He revealed the darker side of the game and the people involved to the apex body of cricket, sealing Adarsh’s fate. 

Adarsh was caught at a luxurious hotel, along with a fake passport and key evidence, busting the racket. Sadly, the big fish swum away to safety, except for Adarsh. He couldn’t decode the mystery behind the sudden developments. He was labeled an international traitor and prosecuted for his wrong deeds. His sixth sense had failed him. 

From jail, he tried calling Dinesh’s number but it was switched-off. Life’s lesson learnt on the altar of betrayal, was too late for Adarsh. 

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