A young British schoolmistress, Adela Quested, and her elderly friend, Mrs. Moore, visit the fictional city of Chandrapore, British India. Adela is to marry Mrs. Moore's son, Ronny Heaslop, the city magistrate. Meanwhile, Dr. Aziz, a young Indian Muslim physician, is dining with two of his Indian friends and conversing about whether it is possible to be friends with an Englishman. During the meal, a summons arrives from Major Callendar, Aziz's unpleasant superior at the hospital. Aziz hastens to Callendar's bungalow as ordered, but is delayed by a flat tyre and difficulty in finding a tonga and the major has already left in a huff.