This is another entry from 2007 during my time in Costa Rica.

For the second time in my life, I am reading Yann Martell’s novel Life of Pi. It’s
a fantastic story of a 16 year old Indian boy who finds himself the sole human
survivor of a sunken ship and alone on a life boat for 7 months. Well,
alone except for a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a Bengal
tiger. Now this is no fairy tale where they all get on splendidly
singing sea shanties to keep up morale and taking shifts watching for
land. Not to spoil the story for you, after a few days the remaining
castaways are the tiger and the boy, Pi.

I
have to say that reading about the boy’s choice between staying on
board with the tiger, or throwing himself to the sharks, doesn’t take
me to the blissful haven of distraction that I usually seek in a book.
Now a book about eating one’s way around Italy, or restoring a house in
Italy, or growing olives in Italy (notice a recurring theme here?),
that’s a nice place to take my head. Instead, this book instilled a
definite sense of anguish within my poor soul, which is already in a
period of limbo between two chapters in my life. But do I put the book
down? No, of course not.

Since I am a tiny bit of a control freak, I
think I felt that if I didn’t hurry and finish the book, the wretched
situation would continue to plague Pi and the tiger called Richard
Parker, which in turn would torment my little heart. But then I was
always the softie, compassionate one. When I was a kid my sister would
trot a toy horse over the edge of a table and I would go to great
lengths to ensure the safety of this poor plastic toy. Still,
compassion isn’t a bad thing now is it? It’s compassion that led me to
become a vegan, which has in turn opened my consciousness. And if being
compassionate means that at my ripe old age of 30 I am still concerned
about the well being of my companion creature, which happens to be a
soft purple heffalump called Lumpy, as well as other living beings, then so
be it.

Reading
the description of Pi’s gratitude of finding supplies aboard the
lifeboat (it took him 3 days before getting to a state that if he
didn’t brave the tiger to look for supplies then he would die anyway)
really made me think about life and how fragile it is. The whole
capitalist system got a bashing that evening. In my head that is. And
if reading about being lost at sea for 7 months, alone save the company
of a tiger, doesn’t make one think about our own personal and spiritual
sense of isolation and the fears we must conquer then I guess one must
read something that spells it out more clearly!