Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel
Mumbai: The gateway to India

I arrived in Mumbai scared. It was a little after midnight, not an hour when I like to make the acquaintance of a foreign city. I had asked my hotel to send a driver to meet me at the airport and had no good reason to think they would. It was my first trip to India, a country that, by all accounts, stands alone in its ability to bug-eye visitors. And I had read "Maximum City." No book read before visiting a place had so successfully made me want to stay home. "There will soon be more people living in Bombay than on the continent of Australia," Suketu Mehta portentously begins, before presenting a tableau of the more colorful residents: religious gang leaders,...