Monday, 11 March 2013

Life of Pi – The Spiritual Adventure

When I finished watching Ang Lee’s film Life of Pi, I immediately jumped on the book like the hungry Richard Parker and Pi after being stranded in the sea for 227 days. I wanted more than what I had just gotten from the movie.

I could not agree more that the cinematography was stunning beyond any description. I said this, not only because I could save the effort of raking my dictionary to search for some divine words to describe it, but even that would not do enough justice. I also loved the soul searching and faith testing plot punctured with some humour. When the curtain went down, I was too stunned until I was literally transfixed in my chair, wondering what the hell was going on the screen for the past 2 hours. Maybe my brain was too slow for the 120 frames-per-second technology?

Thus, my journey on the award-winning and best-selling book began.

As with my previous experience, I had mostly enjoyed the books better than the movie adaptations. I believe the movie version of “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Memoir of Geisha” did not do the book justice. Elizabeth Gilbert and Arthur Golden are both astounding and amazing in their storytelling. But “Twilight Saga” movies are better because of Robert Pattinson. But despite Stephanie Meyer’s creativity, I still prefer Elizabeth Gilbert’s witty and bewitching style. Even as a Twilight fan, I bemoaned the fact it dragged quite a bit in the movie as much as in the book.

But Yann Martel is a marvel and a true master. He is superb and spectacular in his story telling and twisting.His words are never dull even when he was describing the slowest animal on the planet. He made the zoo came alive and all the animals jumped up and down for me. Yann Martel has a gift to make the mundane memorable, routine enjoyable, eccentric comprehensible, and the norms questionable.

I especially like the idea of the general perception that animals should be roaming free and wild in the jungle instead of being caged and restricted in the zoo. If that is the case, do we humans want to be chased out of our houses and roam freely in the jungle, expected to be eaten at any seconds? His metaphor is right on and it begs to challenge all our conventional thinking. And what about the uniqueness and differences between all the 3 religions that Pi embraced? Pi quoted Mahatma Gandhi  on All religions are true and asked a question comparing nation and passport respectively to God and religion –  If there is only one nation, won’t all passports will be valid?

And of course, one will never contemplate in a million lives to be stranded on a boat with a Bengal tiger. But instead of being a foe, the tiger became a saviour in the sea of emptiness. It is another metaphor for us to embrace our darkness because it can be our saviour and teacher when accepted as part of us. (By the time, I completed this post, I just finished reading “The Shadow Effect – Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self” and I realized this statement is very true)

And with most fictional books and movies, the ending gave us a twist and dwell on the uncertainties that are open to our interpretation based on our individual belief. I feel Life of Pi delivered this feat in a unique and truly successful way. Just a tiny speck of uncertainties, the ending was fulfilling and also left a question to ponder on.

Life of Pi, as I conclude, is a quest for freedom, told in a refreshing and emboldening way.

Since reading “Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, I felt I probably won’t find another great storyteller who seems to be able to weave the depth of spirituality into a story of an adventure in life.

Life of Pi changed my thought.

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