Mr. Kapasi sees Mrs. Das as a lonely housewife who could be a perfect companion to him in his own loneliness. He misses or ignores cues that she may not be interested in him for his own sake because, at some level, he wants her to be this companion. He sees many details about her, such as her bare legs and Americanized shirt and bag, but he passes over others, such as the way she dismisses her childrens desires and her selfishness with her snack. Such unflattering details do not fit with his conception of her. Likewise, Mrs. Das wants Mr. Kapasi to become a confidante to her and solve her personal and marital difficulties. She views him as a father figure and helper and misses or ignores indications that he may not fit those roles. Mr. Kapasi is “flattered” (55) when Mrs. Das views his job with such interest. She is “unlike his wife” (55) in that she reminds him of “intellectual challenges” (55) and it does not take long for him to begin a romantic adventure in his mind about her. He wonders if the two are mismatched because he recognizes the sings of a bad married from his own experience. These include the “bickering, the indifference, the protracted silences” (55). He even becomes intoxicated as he remembers Mrs. Das saying the word romantic. He checks his appearance in the rearview mirror and quickly becomes absorbed with her. As he gives his/her address, he imagines their correspondence and their relationship growing, giving him hope that “all was right with the world” (56). He is consumed with this image because he wants it to be real.
At the end of the story, Mr. Kapasi is awakened to the reality of what he contrives in his mind. In short nothing is at it seems and it takes the image of his address floating away on a breeze to understand how insignificant he is to Mrs. Das. He watches the Das family in the final scene, knowing this image of a disjointed family would be the one he remembers.
Truth affects us in many ways. We like to believe truth will set us free, as the old adage states, but the truth of that sentiment is that truth is more complicated than that. Part of the reason truth becomes problematic for us is the fact that we are human and emotional creatures. Truth is almost elusive as we try to find a way to make circumstances “true.” In the end, the people and the truth we think we know become strangers or, even worse, sources of pain. These stories reveal how truth does not set one free as much as it ravages the soul.