Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yann Martel's Life of Pi

It is by chance that I got the e-book – Life of Pi.

Think I missed reading about this book until I heard that the movie is going to be shortly released. What interested me was an article that mentioned that it was partly shot at Munnar (mainly in Pondicherry). And now that I finished reading the novel, I just cant wait to watch the movie directed by Ang Lee. It may not be as arresting as the book but I am looking forward to it.

Ang Lee

I did not want to stop reading the book since the story was very interesting. There were times when it turned horrific.  But the entire tale though surreal, I somehow wanted to belive that it was a true story. While the author never really tells us if it is entirely fictious, I would really love to know the truth.
The protagonist of the novel Mr. Patel or Pi as he wanted himself to be called instead of Pissing is an interesting character. I liked the way he discovered the three major religions in India at the age of 16 and how he ended practicing all three. The people who introduced him into each believed that he had become one of their own. This was proved wrong when all of them meet together. 
After the "Hellos" and the "Good days", there was an awkward silence.

The priest broke it when he said, with pride in his voice, "Piscine is a good Christian boy. I hope to see him join our choir soon."  

My parents, the pandit and the imam looked surprised.  "You must be mistaken. He's a good Muslim boy. He comes without fail to Friday prayer, and his knowledge of the Holy Qur'an is coming along nicely." So said the imam. 

My parents, the priest and the pandit looked incredulous. 

The pandit spoke. "You're both wrong. He's a good Hindu boy. l see him all the time at the temple coming for darshan and performing puja." 

My parents, the imam and the priest looked astounded.
Then ensued a war of words between them and they slaughtered and  slandered each other’s religion while exhorting his own. Finally it was decided that one cannot be a Hindu, Muslim and a Chrisitian. This is when Patel  answers thus.
"Bapu Gandhi said, 'All religions are true.' I just want to love God," I blurted out, and looked down, red in the face.
How true!
For most of us religion is another tool to exhort favours or to exert power but seldom to love God. If only religion was used to love God and in turn to love what He created lovingly!
The author also writes the following about religious strife.
And that wasn't the end of it. There are always those who take it upon themselves to defend God, as if Ultimate Reality, as if the sustaining frame of existence, were something weak and helpless. These people walk by a widow deformed by leprosy begging for a few paise, walk by children dressed in rags living in the street, and they think, "Business as usual." But if they perceive a slight against God, it is a different story. Their faces go red, their chests heave mightily, they sputter angry words. The degree of their indignation is astonishing. Their resolve is frightening.  These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out.

The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart. Meanwhile, the lot of widows and homeless children is very hard, and it is to their defence, not God's, that the self-righteous should rush.
It is when Patel is cast away in the ocean with a man eating tiger that the novel grips you truly. From there you can do nothing else but finish the tale.


  1. I have been meaning to read this book, but haven't got around to it. After reading your excellent review, I will read it now! Thanks for the link!

    1. Thank u. But the book was passed by a frnd. Will forward it to u soon.

  2. going to get it many ways people want to tell it, but who understands it that being human is most important thing in life.

    1. Yes..none wants to understand the truth. I read that the movie OMG is also creating a ripple.

  3. HI A, I saw your ask in my blog , in Shakespearean way, "where the hell are You?" ha .
    It is just a vacuous, a feeling that do not give me the energy the will to read or write on the blog. I ve been into blogs , but seldom read them . It was today I decided to read and comment. Hope the phase is over. Thanks for the inquiry.

    I have been hearing about the movie and would love to read the book. Thanks for the write up.
    It is strange that people act as if their beliefs in their God is so fickle and frail that the conviction, the faith crumples at the slightest perceived criticism or what they call offense, blasphemy and so on. To hell with.

  4. Never... it was meant as Shakespeare himself meant :) and glad to have you back..

    I did forward you the e-book.

    Yes.. our faith is so fickle and our Gods are so vulnerable! Or the believers think that they are mightier than the Gods themselves.. else how do they think that God needs their support.

  5. hi hk..
    that was a great book, i think it requires a certain frame of mind to really enjoy it...really meaningful..

    1. You must have this book in your library? I enjoyed it and I am hoping to watch the movie.

  6. yes, i have it - in fact the movie is coming in 2 weeks time.


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