The Heroes of India’s Black Money Economy


The Heroes of India’s Black Money Economy


ne look at Kamlesh and you’d say he’s still 18. He’s about 5’9” and unnaturally thin. If I ran into him on the street, I’d probably peg him for a college boy who flunked a year or two. So it comes as a real surprise when he tells me he’s 24, married and has a kid on the way. He and his wife have been living in their one-bedroom apartment in Thakur Complex, Kandivali.

Kamlesh and I are drinking piping hot tea, which tastes like scalding hot ginger soup, but those tiny sips seem to be giving him the confidence to open up. Kamlesh is an apprentice in a secret society of angadias – the indispensable couriers of cash, jewellery, and gems – who are taught at the crib to always keep mum. Getting him to talk to me has been an endeavour that deserves its own story.