The Interpreter of Maladies Short Summary
The Das family is on a trip. It is made up of the parents and their three children: Tina, Ronny, and Bobby. As Jhumpa Lahiri begins the narration, the parents are arguing who would guide Tina to the available bathrooms. Their mother offers to take her while the father has to stay and keep Bobby and Ronny under close watch.
While Mrs. Das is away, Mr. Das finds a chance to narrate to Kapasi their origin. Both Mr. and Mrs. Das were born from Indian families that lived in America. Their parents went back to India, and the Das family has to visit them occasionally. Mr. Kapasi is a driver and has done that job for five years while Mr. Das is a teacher in New Jersey.
Tina comes back without her mother. Mr. Das makes inquiries of her whereabouts in a way which sounds disrespectful in Mr. Kapasi’s view. Mr. Kapasi has seen that sort of uncaring behavior in American tourists and finds it shocking that the same can be seen from an Indian family.
Mr. Kapasi notices other characteristics from the Das family that are similar to American tourists. For example, the family members fail to confront Tina when she damages the locks of the car, they do not advise Tina about sharing her snacks, and they keep complaining about the lack of an air conditioner in the car. Moreover, they demand to take photos of peasants on the road.
Later on, Kapasi finds out that Mrs. Das is interesting as he interacts and takes photos with her. He notices how beautiful she is and keeps fantasizing about her. The children, together with their father, proceed to the abbey and leave their mother with Mr. Kapasi. She reveals to Kapasi that Bobby isn’t Mr. Das’ son but a product of a relationship she had with Mr. Das’ friend. Additionally, she reveals that her relationship with her husband isn’t good and that she finds family life uninteresting to her. She wishes that Kapasi can make her have a better feeling. The revelations, however, make Mr. Kapasi lose the romantic feelings he had for her.
Bobby gets attacked by monkeys. Mr. Das has no idea what action to take. Mr. Kapasi scares the monkeys away and frees Bobby. Mrs. Das cleans Bobby.