Swami’s mother has been in bed for two days and he misses the attention that she usually pays to him. He sees her lying in bed looking unwell and speaks to her coldly, thinking that she “seemed to be a different Mother.” His Granny tells Swami that he will soon have a baby brother, but he is not excited about this news.
Swami’s confusion at his mother’s changed appearance highlights the fact that he cannot yet tolerate the truth of his family’s complicated identities. His indifference at the news of his brother also shows a lingering self-centered immaturity.
Swami sleeps in Granny’s room, listening to people moving around throughout the night and seeing a female doctor entering his mother’s room. Although Granny asks, they get no news of what is happening. Swami feels safe and comfortable with Granny and does not worry about what is happening to his mother.
Despite the change occurring all around him, Swami does not think to feel fear or anxiety. His ability to feel completely safe with Granny stands in contrast to his later realization that his family cannot necessarily keep him safe.
In school the next day, the class grows restless during a boring lesson. Swami sits next to the Pea and tells him about the birth of his new brother early that morning. Swami tells the Pea that the baby is “hardly anything” and “such a funny-looking creature.” The Pea laughs and tells Swami that the baby will grow up quickly.
Although Swami cannot yet comprehend the role that his brother will play in his life, the Pea’s words underscore the fact that, again, identity is far from constant. His emphasis on the speedy passage of time also foreshadows how quickly life will change for Swami in the following chapters.