Real lessons from reel life



    Mar 31, 2015

    Real lessons from reel life

    SOME movies connect with us only in the mind while others connect with us only in the heart. Then, there are those rare movies that connect with us in both of those ways.

    Life Of Pi (2012) is one such movie, for it delves seamlessly into the world of rationality and faith.

    To me, Life Of Pi highlights a number of valuable lessons through its main character, Piscine Molitor Patel, which are applicable to people from all walks of life.


    Piscine was the joke of his school as he was incessantly teased about his name. The next year, however, he was determined to start anew by introducing himself as Pi in an unconventional and imaginative manner.

    He symbolised his name through the use of the mathematical symbol "pi" and listed out a substantial amount of its decimal places, thus becoming Pi Patel, school legend.

    Often, we find ourselves in a similar predicament. Instead of instinctively raising our voices or our fists, why don't we try to be innovative like Pi?

    With his simple yet strategic move, he altered his identity from school joke to school legend.

    At times, the best solutions are the simplest ones. Most problems can be solved with a little imagination.


    After a torrential storm at sea, all hope seemed lost for Pi when the ship he was on sank and he surrendered himself to god as he drifted in the ocean.

    Later, he awoke only to find himself face-to-face with a mysterious island filled with meerkats. Initially, the island was a source of joy to him with its abundance of food and water.

    But one day, he came across a tree filled with the most amazing flowers. Driven by curiosity, he decided to peel back the petals of a flower.

    To his surprise, at the heart of the flower lay a tooth. It was at this very moment that he realised the island brought not only joy, but also horror in equal amounts.

    Had it not been for his discovery of the tooth, Pi would most certainly have spent the rest of his life on the island and be lost forever.

    He believed the tooth was a sign from god that it was time to move on. With that, he left the island and headed back towards civilisation.

    In our lives, we are constantly plagued with choices. What do we do when the least comfortable choice is obviously the one that would be more satisfying when achieved?

    It boils down to the risk aversion of the individual. Complacency adds to the problem. At times, we are so comfortable with the known that we become afraid to step into the unknown, so much so that it becomes a detriment to our personal growth.

    So shake off the chains of fear and complacency that hold you back. Adventure awaits when you dive into the unknown.


    "I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go," says Pi in one scene.

    These words are thought-provoking, for they remind us that nothing is permanent. By the age of 16, Pi had suffered a great deal. He had left so much behind: his childhood love, his family, the zoo and India. To make matters worse, he was lost at sea for 227 days (curiously enough, 22/7 is used as an approximation of "pi").

    It was truly a test for someone his age. However, Pi remained unbroken. He remained strong in faith and spirit. In the end, we find out that Pi picked up the pieces of his life and went on to have a wife, two children and a cat. Not bad for someone who had lost almost everything.

    Occasionally, life can be unfair. The loss of a job, a loved one or something we truly care about. Yet, life goes on. We must find it in ourselves to keep going forward, pushing past any doubts or obstacles that lie in our way. Persevere through adversity and you will taste the nectar of success.

    From this movie, I learnt that within each of us lies a power.

    The power of the human spirit. An intangible and unquantifiable substance that can push us far beyond our wildest dreams.

    As Pi says in the movie: "Above all, don't lose hope."