Shyamchi Aai (Marathi: श्यामची आई; English: Shyam's Mother) is hailed as one of the greatest tributes to mother's love in Marathi literature. It was written by famous author and social activist Sane Guruji.
Shyamchi Aai is an autobiography of Sane Guruji belonging to a Brahmin family in Kokan region of rural Maharashtra during British Raj. Sane Guruji (now an adult), fondly called Shyam during his childhood, is narrating his memories to a group of children in a nightly sitting.
Chapters in the book are named ratra meaning "night" in Marathi. They are named first night, second night and so on. Every passing night the story takes you into the family setting in rural Konkan and its beautiful seaside landscapes with adjoining ranges of Sahyadri. This book is representation of the love of mother for her child.
As the title suggests the central character is Shyam's mother and the kind of enormous influence she has on Shyam's life and upbringing. It involves sticking to one's ideals even though one is neck deep in abject poverty.
The narration is flamboyant and involves readers in the setting smoothly. As the story progresses, we come to know the deterioration of Shyam's debt-ridden family. The communication between father and son, mother and son, and siblings is exemplary. It shows if love is present a person's life can be content no matter how poor he is.
The book starts with Shyam's mother getting married into a wealthy family, its slow progression into debt-ridden poverty, and ends with illness and death of his mother.
In popular culture
Shyamchi Aai is available in English, translated by Aaditi Kulkarni, who is a Canadian national residing in Mississauga, Ontario. The publication ceremony of the English edition was held 22 May 2008 in Pune, India.