Swami and Friends

Swami’s Grandmother / Granny Character Analysis

Swami’s paternal grandmother, whom he calls Granny, is an old woman who lives with Swami and his mother and father. Swami views Granny as ancient and sometimes embarrassing, but she is also a source of comfort and security during times of change, particularly when Swami’s brother is born. Granny sometimes tries to tell Swami stories about the family’s past, but he usually refuses to listen, indicating his preoccupation with his own present concerns. Swami grows more concerned with Granny’s needs over the course of the story, beginning to see himself as a caretaker for her and making more of an effort to meet her needs.

Swami’s Grandmother / Granny Quotes in Swami and Friends

The Swami and Friends quotes below are all either spoken by Swami’s Grandmother / Granny or refer to Swami’s Grandmother / Granny. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the University of Chicago Press edition of Swami and Friends published in 1980.
Chapter 3 Quotes

‘His father is the Police Superintendent. He is the master of every policeman here.’ Granny was impressed. She said that it must be a tremendous office indeed. She then recounted the day when her husband, Swaminathan’s grandfather, was a powerful submagistrate, in which office he made the police force tremble before him, and the fiercest dacoits of the place flee. Swaminathan waited impatiently for her to finish the story.

Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 18 Quotes

Swaminathan had a sense of supreme well-being and security. He was flattered by the number of visitors that were coming to see him. His granny and mother were hovering round him ceaselessly, and it was with a sneaking satisfaction that he saw his little brother crowing unheeded in the cradle, for once overlooked and abandoned by everybody.

Related Symbols: Cricket
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:
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Swami’s Grandmother / Granny Character Timeline in Swami and Friends

The timeline below shows where the character Swami’s Grandmother / Granny appears in Swami and Friends. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
The reader learns about Swami’s grandmother, who lives with him in a passageway of his parents’ house and whom he calls... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Swami becomes suspicious that his grandmother is not listening to him and that she does not believe how wonderful Rajam is,... (full context)
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...his father is gone, Swami runs out of the house to visit his friends, ignoring Granny when she calls to him. He goes first to Mani’s house and then, together, they... (full context)
Chapter 5
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...can host Rajam in his father’s room, pretending that the room is Swami’s own. Swami’s grandmother is also excited about the visit and asks Swami to bring Rajam to see her,... (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...and, in order to distract Rajam from asking about his own possessions, he mentions his grandmother. Rajam says that he would love to meet her and Swami runs to see Granny,... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami sleeps in Granny’s room, listening to people moving around throughout the night and seeing a female doctor entering... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami arrives home feeling bored and is disappointed that his Granny doesn’t feel like talking to him. He goes to look at his brother, who is... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...find six paise, which the coachman says he needs within six hours. He asks his Granny first, but she has no money to give him, even though she wants to. Swami’s... (full context)
Chapter 14
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
One day, Swami’s grandmother calls to him during the brief time that he is at home between school and... (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Later that evening, Swami arrives home feeling guilty for abandoning his grandmother earlier. He goes to see her, worrying that she might die because of his neglect,... (full context)
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...morning. His father thinks that he is well enough to go to school, but his Granny and mother support him and convince his father to let him stay home, even though... (full context)
Chapter 16
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...feels unable to return home without finding news of his missing son. Swami’s mother and grandmother are at home, “dazed and demented” with worry about Swami. (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...Mani’s house. He returned home after an hour without news, which made Swami’s mother and grandmother even more nervous. Eventually, their worry began to rub off on him and he became... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...his family and other visitors feel for him. In addition to his delighted mother and grandmother, Swami is surrounded by friends of his family, all of whom are glad to see... (full context)