Monday, April 8, 2013

IN A NUTSHELL : The life of Pi

“The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity; it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can.” - Yann Martel, Life of Pi
Life of Pi, interesting book, followed by quite a good adaptation of it as a movie.  PI, religious beliefs, Richard parker, endurance and survival forms the main content of the story; the interpretation left to the reader at the end.
Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel's father owns and runs a zoo, where he watches and learns the ways of the wild and other animals. He finds himself drawn towards three different religions and believes they are just different ways of loving god, and that's exactly what he wants to do, "love god".
The actual story though, starts when Pi's family sells the zoo and shifts to Canada. The Japanese cargo ship aboard which Pi's family and the animals travel, sinks in the Pacific ocean. He loses his family in the ship wreck and ends up on a lifeboat along with a hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, an orangutan and his nemesis, "Richard Parker", the bengal tiger.  The rest of the story is about how he survives 227 days in the sea with a tiger.
It is amazing to see how a person can adapt to survive. Pi is a vegetarian who eventually survives on raw fish, turtle blood and even algae. The book does provide a graphic description of the entire ordeal.
Towards the end of the book, Pi explains his story to the Japanese officials who try to find out how the ship sank. They do not believe the animal story, so Pi changes the story and tells them a new one where the people on the lifeboat are the cook, a sailor with a broken leg, his mother and himself.
In comparison, we can understand that the cook is the hyena, the sailor is the zebra, his mother the orangutan and himself Richard Parker.  Richard Parker, here, is personified as "fear of death".  Its that fear that keeps him alive. And he has to keep that fear alive, that is, Richard Parker alive to survive the ordeal, and he does. 
“I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always ... so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.” -Yann Martel, Life of Pi
Do read the book atleast once..for it has some really good quotes and lots of other gyaan. If you dont have the habit or the time to read the book, do watch the movie. It has some amazing visual effects and ofcourse, the tiger is brilliant!! Worth a read, worth watching.

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