Life of Pi: The Search for God

I fell in love with the Bengal Tiger when I was 16. I was working at Ontario Place (theme park) during the summer holidays and it had an Imax theatre within the re-known Cinesphere. I’ve watched several documentaries in that theatre, I think the first one I was watched was Everest. While I was working there one of the films that were playing was India: The land of tigers (it’s on youtube but I think it’s only available in India). I loved this film, for the beautiful scenes of India and of course the magnificent Bengal Tiger. I watched it 3 or 4 times that summer. Whenever I brought friends or family to the park I’d make sure they watched the film too.

That fall back in high school, when I picked up the book Life of Pi and saw that it was about a Tamilian boy from Pondicherry stranded on a boat in the pacific ocean with a BENGAL TIGER, I knew I had to read it ! Being 16 with very limited life experiences and pre-set understanding of God, I doubt I thoroughly understood the deeper meanings of Pi’s search for God.

When I first saw the trailer of the movie, I recalled vague memories of the book. However, the visually stunning trailer was sufficient to make me want to see the movie, which I did last week. It was only playing in 3D and the last 3D I watched was Avatar, I’m not a fan as it usually gives me headaches. But I barely noticed the 3D aspect of this film, I’m guessing it was there to make the tiger seem realistic.



The intro credits to the movie itself was magical, it was as if you saw a beautiful painting come to life. Add Bombay Jayshree’s soothing lullaby in the background and it took me into a trance. At first glance, one may assume that Life of Pi is along the lines of the book Hatchet, or the movie Cast Away, but it isn’t! The story is very well told with the right amount of seriousness and comedy.

Pi is an inquisitive boy that is on the search for God from a tender age. He experiments the three common religions in India, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. He practices all three with conviction. However, it isn’t until he finds himself alone on a life boat with a carnivorous Bengal Tiger in the pacific ocean that he truly finds God. Family dead, no guarantee of being rescued, the only companion is a tiger that is awaiting to devour him; he has no where to turn to except to the almighty up above. He has nothing but hope and faith left to help endure the 200+ days in the Pacific. Eventually, he tames the tiger and develops a bond with it. He ensures that it is fed and hydrated in return the tiger refrains from eating Pi.

Even though the survival from this ordeal is sufficient to instil the belief in God, Pi only fully understands that God is the only being that will always be there for him when the tiger he cared for leaves him so ‘unceremoniously’ .

‘…in the end the whole of life is an act of letting go… what hurts the most is not getting the chance to say goodbye…’