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Marriage is the union of two people who can communicate with each other, share their feelings and together search for the solution of the problems. Communication is one of the most important virtues in relationship. In her short story, “Interpreter of Maladies”, Jhumpa Lahiri discusses the effects of misinterpretations and how they can lead to failure of the marriage. Healthy family is one that has a healthy communication. When two people are connected by collaborative relationships, they both bring with them their personal past, culture, and style of communication. Two different styles of life, two life experiences, and two destinies merge into one. However, if either of the partners has no communication skills and no ability to understand the other, their marriage is fated to fail. Failed marriage might come from different reasons, like arranged marriages, early marriages, and not being honest with each other.
Arranged marriage is being supported in some countries, where future wife and husband do not see each other until the wedding day. Both newlyweds are chosen by the parents, after what they make acquaintance and get married. Such kind of marriage is presented in the short story “Interpreter of Maladies”, where one of the main characters Mr. Kapasi and his wife have an arranged marriage. The man is not satisfied with his life: his marriage is not successful and it is devoid of true love; his career did not justify the hopes that he had (he works as a tour guide and interpreter for a doctor); his wife blames him for the death of their young son. Mr. Kapasi dreamt to be an interpreter of diplomats and work with foreign countries and companies to find solution to their conflicts. Nevertheless, his dreams did not come true: he is a self-educated tour guide who shows the beauty of India, speaking to the tourists in foreign languages.
Mr. Kapasi’s marriage is arranged by his parents, it is devoid of true love and, as a consequence, it is full of misunderstandings between the spouses because they do not know each other well. The hero feels lonely and abandoned not only in his life, but also in his marriage. The ability to communicate with his wife and share with her his feelings and dreams is lost forever. This situation is caused by the traditions accepted in India, when marriage could be arranged by parents. Thus, Mr. Kapasi blames his fate for his unfulfilled dreams. As he is no better at communication with his wife, Mr. Kapasi feels that he is not capable to arouse women’s interest. Communication is always the development of relations; and as he lost it, he could not be confident in his own strength. However, his mind generates dreams and fantasies about Mr. Das, who is sitting in his car. This episode shows that the hero searches for attention and care outside the home, where he faces a lack of understanding and does not know his wife enough to trust. Conversely, he finds attractive the woman, who is a stranger, but gradually shares with him her problems and feelings.
The other case is early marriages that lead to unsuccessful relationships because the two newlyweds are still so young. Marriage is not just a romance, but also a huge responsibility, which can only be handled by a completely mature person. Early marriages restrain freedom and rights of the couples, when they face real difficulties. The beginning of living together starts with the period when the love and romance relationships begin to collide with everyday problems. An example of such unhappy life could be Mrs. Das and her life that is devoid of friends, understanding, and entertainment. She is a self-absorbed person, who isolates herself from children and her husband. Mrs. Das is concentrated only on her problems and needs and does not care of the people around. She looks at everyone as a means to satisfy all her needs and wishes, which estrange her from Mr. Das. Nonetheless, this is not the only problem of the married couple. Mrs. Das is also an unfaithful wife, who gave birth to her son after an extramarital affair.
Early marriages often do not last long. In most cases, early marriages are caused by the thought of feeing great and pure love. However, the personal ambitions of the young people have higher priority than the connection of the two lives into one. An early marriage is the union of lads and girls, who are unable to financially support themselves and learn to respect each other’s opinions. They pass through many difficulties: financial dependence, problems with accommodation, and child’s issues. Above all, the longevity of marriage depends on the social maturity of the couple, its strength, wisdom, and power of love. Rare pairs can overcome hard situations, experience the life’s troubles, and never move away from each other.
Furthermore, not being honest with each other brings on distance between couples. Honesty in a relationship between men and women involves two abilities: tell the truth and perceive it. Honesty in the marriage is the only possible way for mutual understanding and strong relationships. However, Mrs. Das did not learn this and deceived her husband. She is a selfish character, who does not care about the feelings of her husband and children. She openly laughs at her husband’s passion for tourism, emphasizing that there is no more love between them. Although Mrs. Das cheated on her husband, she did not feel guilty of their marriage’s strain. She does not want to fix everything and tell the truth to her husband. Instead of this, the heroine refused to recognize her affair and failed marriage. Mrs. Das is an example of a dishonest woman, who symbolizes disrespect not even for other people and their feelings, but also for other nations. However, such type of woman attracts the other character, Mr. Kapasi. He has different fantasies about her and their future correspondence. His feelings and desires are caused by the silence in relationship, which led to misinterpretation. This fact provoked a thought about cheating on his wife. Therefore, the displeasure of their own marriages led them to the search of delight with the other people.
Jhumpa Lahiri, in her short story “Interpreter of Maladies”, demonstrates the fact that all marriages are unique and depend on the communication between couples. People learn to communicate all their life; even people who know each other very well always find a new topic of conversation. Communication of spouses is the necessary condition for a successful family. Both wife and husband need to be ready for the conversation and have the ability to listen and appreciate the information. In marriage, it is important to ask, rather than tell. The couple has to be honest and open in communication. When he or she is open, they will find it easier to understand expressed thoughts or problems. When partners share with each other everything they feel, they are getting closer. Hence, men and women need to work on the shortcomings that hinder good communication. Moreover, they should develop a culture of communication in the family and sincerely talk about everything that concerns them at the moment.