Study Guide

Sanjeev in Interpreter of Maladies

By Jhumpa Lahiri

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A little neurotic. Also kind of a neat freak. That's Sanjeev. He's the type who, instead of entertaining guests at his party, cleans up everyone's mess.

Case in point: his housewarming party. While everyone else is hanging with his wife, Sanjeev's off in the bedroom alone, putting his wife's shoes away "so that no one would trip when they descended" (TBH 111) the stairs. He's conscientious.

But Sanjeev isn't particularly open-minded or daring. Unlike Twinkle, he can't see the fun in displaying the Christian objects she finds. He keeps telling her that they're Hindu, not Christian, and that it'd be weird if his co-workers saw all that stuff at their housewarming party (TBH 62).

How he ends up with Twinkle at all is kind of mystery, especially when it sounds like all he wants is a traditional Indian housewife: "He thought with a flicker of regret of the snapshots his mother used to send him from Calcutta, of prospective brides who could sing and sew and season lentils without consulting a cookbook" (TBH 62).

Doesn't sound like a real winner, this one, but hey—he is an MIT graduate with a solid career and a beautiful house. Maybe that counts for something.

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