The most surprising reaction to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai over the weekend came from an acquaintance who said, I dont think of modern weapons and cars and luxury hotels when I think of India; I imagine swamis and elephants and maharajahs and all that, to which I replied, Where in hell have you been the past 50 years?
For those out there who may be, like my acquaintance, a bit behind the times when it comes to realizing what modern India is like, particularly Bombay oops, I mean Mumbai let me recommend some books that will give you a more up-to-date picture of that enormous, fascinating metropolis. Try Maximum City by Suketu Mehta for a startling, energetic non-fiction look at Mumbai in all its splendor, squalor, complexity, criminality and vigor. If youre more of a fiction person, try any of the following: Love and Longing In Bombay or
All these books are very well written and full of great tales and insight. It looks as if India is going to be a bigger part of our future than were used to, so go ahead and get up to date.
(Photo of Mumbai's Victor Terminus courtesy Anushruti RK at Creative Commons.)