Mumbai, Jan. 13 -- It's a warm November afternoon in Kolkata's swarming Bara Bazaar. On Rabindra Sarani, the street named after great lyricist and poet Rabindranath Tagore, the only music you hear is blaring Bhojpuri pop and the incessant honks of cars and bikes. Sitting for nine straight hours at the counter of one of the many little stores, Milan Goswami, 26, is selling that rarest of commodities - hope.

"Bolo dada, bolo!" he calls out, teasing a middle-aged, comfortably pot-bellied regular. Unfazed by Goswami's gentle attempt at bullying, the man takes time to think, scratching his head for a few hesitant seconds before finally picking a stack of West Bengal State Lottery tickets for ~501. He takes the bunch and places it in his front s...