Rarely does it happen that a film adaptation of a book does justice to the literary piece. More often than not, the book is way better that the portrayal onscreen, probably because our imaginations are richer and wider than the parameters of a movie will ever achieve. One grand exception to this is the recent film by Ang Lee, Life of Pi. Based on Yann Martel’s critically acclaimed novel, the story revolves around the life of Pi Patel, son of a zoo owner in South Delhi. What’s interesting about the main character is he is multi-faceted; in his teens he follows three religions, not to be annoying but because of his principles. When his family decides to resettle in Canada, they sold the zoo and brought some of the animals on a ship voyage. It was then that the ship sank and Pi lost his family, but he survived in a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra and an orangutan which all perished, until he was left with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Thus began the adventure of how Pi survived the perils of the ocean, and how he coped with the company of a dangerous predator.
If we ponder on it for a minute, most of us will probably lose the will to live if we were to be trapped in the middle of the sea with only an animal (who hungrily looks at you all the time) as companion. Nowadays, people can hardly survive without their smartphones or iPad. It’s hard to picture a life without looking at the latest YouTube videos, or having your daily dose of online games at Cheekybingo, or reading the most recent happenings on Twitter and Facebook. You can just imagine being stranded, and living in constant fear of being eaten alive. Actually, you need not conjure an image; if you watch the film, Suraj Sharma did a wonderful job of representing the scenario for you. How Pi conditioned the tiger to respond and fear him is very Pavlovian, and the bravery that he showed on the face of impossible times is very moving. If all of us have just one-fifth of his character, we will all have a meaningful life.
With little reminders from current events or movies that life is indeed fleeting, we must all learn to live each moment meaningfully, as much as possible. We should also imbibe Pi’s resilience in the midst of adversity, so we can go through our days without regrets.