Swami and Friends

Swami’s mother appears in the novel only occasionally, usually in the context of providing Swami with something he wants or backing him up in an argument with his father. She is presented as a mild woman who is mostly concerned with her family and managing the household. She loves Swami deeply and also gives birth to a baby boy, Swami’s brother, who occupies her attention for much of the novel.

Swami’s Mother Quotes in Swami and Friends

The Swami and Friends quotes below are all either spoken by Swami’s Mother or refer to Swami’s Mother. 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 5 Quotes

‘You had better prepare something very nice, something fine and sweet. Rajam is coming this afternoon. Don’t make the sort of coffee that you usually give me. It must be very good and hot.’ He remembered how in Rajam’s house everything was brought to the room by the cook. ‘Mother, would you mind if I don’t come here for coffee and tiffin? Can you send it to my room?’

Related Characters: Swami (speaker), Rajam, Swami’s Mother
Page Number: 36
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 Mother Character Timeline in Swami and Friends

The timeline below shows where the character Swami’s Mother 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
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
...home studying at his father’s orders, trying to understand the meaning of a poem. His mother brings him a snack and then, finally, his father leaves for work at the court.... (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 Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Swami continues to prepare for Rajam’s visit, demanding that his mother make good coffee and something “fine and sweet” for the afternoon snack. He also tells... (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
Swami’s mother has been in bed for two days and he misses the attention that she usually... (full context)
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...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... (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
...that his Granny doesn’t feel like talking to him. He goes to look at his brother, who is now six months old. Swami now finds his brother charming and “love[s] every... (full context)
Chapter 10
The Political and the Personal Under British Colonial Rule Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...first, but she has no money to give him, even though she wants to. Swami’s mother and father also refuse his request. Unable to find any coins in his house, he... (full context)
Chapter 11
Education and Oppression Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...cloth to clean off his dusty books, Swami grabs a cloth from under his baby brother, causing his mother to scold him. His father sits with him while he attempts to... (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
...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 he does... (full context)
Chapter 16
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...he also 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
...worried about Swami and had only gone looking for him to “please his wife and mother.” He checked Swami’s school, as well as Rajam’s house, and was unable to find Mani’s... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...home, imagining all of the food the cook makes and thinking of eating with his mother. As the sun begins to set, Swami rests and then decides to go home. He... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Fluidity of Identity Theme Icon
Innocence, Family, and Growing Up Theme Icon
...concern that 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... (full context)