Life of Pi – Yann Martel


To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.

It was enough to scare the living vegetarian daylights out of me.

Life will defend itself no matter how small it is.

It is a religion as swift as a swallow, as urgent as an ambulance.

Why, Islam is nothing but an easy sort of exercise, I thought. Hot-weather yoga for the Bedouins. Asanas without sweat, heaven without strain.

She was pleased to see me with my nose buried in a book, any book, so long as it wasn’t naughty. As for Ravi, if Lord Krishna had held a cricket bat rather than a flute, if Christ had appeared more plainly to him as an umpire, if the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, had shown some notions of bowling, he might have lifted a religious eyelid, but they didn’t, and so he slumbered.

That voice. Strange in a familiar way, familiar in a strange way.

I had no idea how deeply those words wounded me. They were like nails being driven into my flesh.

Moving a zoo is like moving a city. The paperwork was colossal. Litres of water used up in the wetting of stamps.

It’s a joke in the zoo business, a weary joke, that the paperwork involved in trading a shrew weighs more than an elephant, that the paperwork involved in trading an elephant weighs more than a whale, and that you must never try to trade a whale, never.

Father walked out into the urban jungle of Pondicherry and bought a cow with dark wet eyes, a nice fat hump and horns so straight and at such right angles to its head that it looked as if it had licked an electrical outlet.

You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.

It’s a long, nasal and softly whining Hellooooooooo , with the ooooooooo reaching for me like a tap on the shoulder or a gentle tug at my pants.

When your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival.

The expression was haughty and severe, like that of an ill-tempered old man who has complaining on his mind.

My heart began to beat like a merry drum and blood started flowing through my veins like cars from a wedding party honking their way through town.

His teeth-an entire army battalion in a mouth.

… elongated scrotum and pinpoint anus.

Plan Number Three: Attack Him with All Available Weaponry. Ludicrous. I wasn’t Tarzan. I was a puny, feeble, vegetarian life form.

So what was all this commotion? With just one glance I discovered that the sea is a city. Just below me, all around, unsuspected by me, were highways, boulevards, streets and roundabouts bustling with submarine traffic.

It was a labour that demanded feats of strength worthy of Hanuman.

As the cartons of survival rations diminished, I reduced my intake till I was following instructions exactly, holding myself to only two biscuits every eight hours. I was continuously hungry. I thought about food obsessively. The less I had to eat, the larger became the portions I dreamed of. My fantasy meals grew to be the size of India. A Ganges of dhal soup. Hot chapattis the size of Rajasthan. Bowls of rice as big as Uttar Pradesh. Sambars to flood all of Tamil Nadu. Ice cream heaped as high as the Himalayas.

“You speak with warm marbles in your mouth. You have an Indian accent.”
“You speak as if your tongue were a saw and English words were made of wood. You have a French accent.”

In this respect, the island was Gandhian: it resisted by not resisting.

What a terrible thing it is to botch a farewell. I am a person who believes in form, in the harmony of order. Where we can, we must give things a meaningful shape. For example-I wonder-could you tell my jumbled story in exactly one hundred chapters, not one more, not one less? I’ll tell you, that’s one thing I hate about my nickname, the way that number runs on forever. It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.


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