Explain the relationship between Mrs. Das and Mr. Kapasi in Jhumpa Lahiri's "Interpreter of Maladies." Why does Mrs. Das feel comfortable with Mr. Kapasi?

Mrs. Das and Mr. Kapasi are, initially, simply a tourist and a driver. However, when she learns of his job as a translator in a doctor's office, she begins to warm to him. He interprets her friendliness as romantic interest. He is wrong. She feels comfortable telling him her secret because of his interpreter job: she wants him to suggest a remedy for her own emotional pain, not accepting that what she feels is guilt for her wrongdoing.

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Initially, Mr. Kapasi—a driver for tourists—observes Mrs. Das with some reserve. She is not interested in her children very much, and she is dressed somewhat provocatively. She also does not appear to be in love with her husband: "They were all like siblings, Mr. Kapasi thought." Mrs. Das doesn't say much until Mr. Kapasi reveals that his main job is his work in a doctor's office. Although the doctor was not able to save Mr. Kapasi's son, who died, Mr. Kapasi took a job in his office as an interpreter: the doctor does not speak Gujarati, but many of his patients only speak Gujarati. Because Mr. Kapasi's father was Gujarati, he is fluent in the language. Patients will explain their physical symptoms to him, and he translates for the doctor so that they can receive the proper treatment. Mrs. Das finds this to be "so romantic," and she "break[s] her extended silence" and lifts her sunglasses for the first time. Suddenly, she begins to treat Mr. Kapasi like a person, sharing her gum...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on August 12, 2020