Maybe I will go back to this book again someday for a clearer picture. All I do remember is that some of the narration struck a chord deep within my heart. Piscine Molitor Patel in his narration says some things that are just too wise to dispense without a thorough contemplation on the topic!
I shall only talk on the two most indelible points I took back with me from the book. One being Pi’s acceptance and practice of all three prominent religions in India and the other, the idea of the story having been regarding a boat full of humans and not animals. Naturally, you must desist from reading the second point unless you have already read the book.
Pi seems to be desperate to find God, and in that desperation he finds himself practicing and imbibing Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. He is in essence, what Secularism in the Indian sense really means. It is not just tolerance or acceptance. It goes a step further and respects what the other religion believes and tries to imbibe that into its practices too.
However, the line that really struck me was that which he said about Islam – “I challenge anyone to understand Islam, its spirit, and not to love it. It is a beautiful religion of brotherhood and devotion.” Pi talks about an Islam that looks at religion as a relationship with God and is personal and loving. Personally, I think if more people understood the religion, they would not be too quick to write off every Muslim on the planet as a terrorist!
During the course of the story, Pi tells two versions of how he survived at sea after the ship sank. One story involved Pi, the Zebra, the Monkey, the Jackal and Richard Parker. The other had him, his mother, the sailor and the cook. The story that transpires either way ends with Pi being the only person to make it back to civilization; however the Japanese men choose to believe the animal version.
I beg to differ. I think Richard Parker was just the alter ego of Pi and that the real story had human survivors in the boat. Maybe it is not exactly because it is more believable, but because it is the more inconvenient to accept of the two stories. We as humans refuse to accept the version with the humans because we loathe to even imagine that humans stuck in a life or death situation would actually stoop so low as to killing one another and eating each others’ body – in effect, resorting to cannibalism – to stay alive. It is less disturbing when the people murdering and murdered are part of the animal kingdom where anarchy or the laws of nature are the only laws that prevail!