Friday, March 06, 2009

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi by Yann Martel, is a riveting adventures tale about a shipwrecked teenager(Piscine Patel) son of Pondicherry Zoo keeper who is stuck with a Bengal Tiger and their never-ending journey of up & downs, tragedy and triumph,. Book walks through details of zoo-keeping, connections between animal & man, Pi's religious & spirtual beliefs.

Pi's family decides to relocate to canada by taking much of its menagerie with them and selling the others. Half the way their ship sinks and Pi find himself stranding in a lifeboat with bengal tiger named richard parker, a zebra, a hyena. i.e ofcourse everybody is on each other's menu.

what follows is 200+days at sea with series of adventure journey of Pi with uneasy truce with his companion to find home and how they(Pi & richard/tiger) manage various troubles, main-easting island,etc.. by calling upon everything he learned both in practical & spiritual sense. Pi become to believe that his & tiger's fate are interlinked and they develops an deepening relationship.
"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 unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild- mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread. Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear.Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you've defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you. The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. 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."
Book isn't about silly, meaningless adventure story but a mystery about man's relationship with life & faith. while the book does explains in some details about all major religious belief and how a sincer belief on something can make it happen but doesn’t offer answers or suggestions but many questions.

I like the fun tone of the book even while handling such heavy subject. Its not preachy but a fascinating tale which might or might not make you believe GOD but will make you wonder, questions your belief and awareness.

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