Page 1 2 THE NOVEL
[later on in the afternoon, we see the zebra lying listlessly on the stern as flies circle around him; Pi stands on the tarp and calls out]
Pi Patel: Hello! Hello! Anybody!
[Pi kneels and bangs the bucket against the hull, this awakens the hyena who emerges from under the tarp and goes for Pi, Pi picks up the oar and pokes the hyena to fend it off, the hyena circles about in frustration then stops and starts retching and sets its head on the edge of the tarp, as night time sets in, we see Pi looking exhausted as he watches the hyena, who suddenly attacks the zebra making Orange Juice react violently and screeching out]
Pi Patel: No! Stop it! No! Stop it! Stop it! No! No! No!
[at dawn, Pi is slumped in exhaustion over the oar, he slowly nods off and tumbles into the water, he gasps up out of the water in shock coughing, then he look over into the boat and sees Orange Juice looking seasick as she lies on her side]
Pi Patel: Sorry, Orange Juice, I don’t have any seasickness medicine for you.
[then a thought strikes him]
Pi Patel: Supplies! Ah, supplies!
[Pi pulls up the edge of the tarp nearest the bow and opens the rearmost bench and finds a ‘LIFEBOAT MANUAL AND NAVIGATIONAL GUIDE’ in a plastic bag along with a pencil lying on top of bags of supplies, he flips through the manual which shows an illustration of the boat and it’s compartments, he opens the next bench and finds life jackets, he tosses one to Orange Juice, who tosses it away not knowing what to do with it]
[later Pi finishes tying the rope on his makeshift raft which consists of three oars tied in a triangle around a lifebuoy tied on top of the banana net which has some life vests in it, as he tries to push the raft over the edge of the boat, suddenly the hyena comes out from under the tarp and gets too close to Orange Juice who starts screeching and she thumps him with her arm on top of his head and knock him out]
Pi Patel: Yes! Yes!
[but the hyena gets back up and attacks Orange Juice, going for her throat]
Pi Patel: No! No! No! No!
[Pi walks over on the tarp and the hyena backs away from the dead body of Orange Juice]
[Pi confronts the hyena in anger]
Pi Patel: Come on! Come on! Come on!
[suddenly, Richard Parker launches from under the tarp and goes straight after the hyena, killing him swiftly, Pi watches this horror and throws his raft into the water, as the tiger turns towards Pi and starts to go for him, Pi tries to use the oar to keep him off, but the tiger smacks it out of his hand, Pi then falls into a crouch position on the tarp waiting to be killed, but Richard Parker retreats and Pi quickly jumps into the water and swims towards his raft]
[as Pi tries to stay on his raft he sees a shark swimming around him, he goes back to the boat and sees Richard Parker is sleeping, so he finds the food supply in the boat, some cans of water and biscuits, as he eats and drinks he notices a rat crawling around on the tarp, suddenly Richard Parker attacks the rat terrifying Pi, the rat escapes and Pi watches the tiger as it scrambles around on the boat, then the rat runs up Pi arm and lands on his head, Pi grabs the rat and throws it at Richard Parker, as he eats the rat Pi jumps off the boat and back onto his raft, as Pi tries to untie his raft from the boat, suddenly Richard Parker appears at the bow and lunges at him, Pi manages to get away and paddles off on his raft and once he reaches a safe distance he throws up from the fear and stress; that night Pi weeps as he watches Richard Parker on the lifeboat, as dawn breaks Pi starts writing in the survival manual]
Pi Patel: [voice over] My name is Pi Patel. I have been in a shipwreck. I am on a lifeboat, alone…with a tiger. Please send help.
[he puts the message inside an empty water can, seals it and tosses it into the water as far as he can]
[after tossing the can into the ocean Pi reels himself slowly back towards the lifeboat, he lifts the tarp and inside, he sees Richard Parker snarling at him, they look at each other for a moment before Pi lowers the tarp and moves his raft back away from the boat; he looks up at the sky and prays]
Pi Patel: God…I give myself to You. I am your vessel. Whatever comes, I want to know. Show me.
[Pi sits on hi raft and looks out a foldout map from his survival manual which shows the ocean’s currents, longitudes, latitudes, and depths, he looks out at the ocean bewildered]
Pi Patel: There are no lines!
[then we see as Pi reads from his manual]
Pi Patel: [voice over] Set your house in order, and dig in for the battle to survive. Establish a strict schedule for eating, keeping watch, and getting rest. Do not drink urine or sea water. Keep busy, but avoid unnecessary exertion. The mind can be kept get occupied by playing card games, Twenty Questions, or I Spy. Community singing is another surefire way to lift the spirits. Telling stories is highly recommended. Above all, don’t lose hope.
[we see Pi indicating the passing of time by scratching marks onto the side of the boat]
[Pi continues to read from his survival manual]
Pi Patel: [voice over] Few things can sap the spirit faster than seasickness. Waves are more strongly felt when a boat turns sideways to the current. A sea anchor is used as a drag to keep the boats head to the wind. Proper use of them can increase control and reduce seasickness during rough seas. For castaways who must share their lifeboats with large dangerous carnivores it’s advisable to establish your territory as your own. Try this method. Step one: choose a day when waves are moderate, but regular. Step two: with the lifeboat facing into the waves, making the ride as comfortable as possible, blow your whistle soothingly. Step three: turn the lifeboat sideways to the waves, accompanied by harsh aggressive use of the whistle. With sufficient repetition, the animal will associate the sound of the whistle with the discomfort of seasickness. Similar methods have long been used by circus trainers, though they generally lack access to rough seas.
[Pi uses the suggested steps to reel the lifeboat sideways to the waves as he blows the whistle several times]
[as Pi reels the lifeboat towards him he starts shouting]
Pi Patel: Let the trumpets blow! Let the drum rolls begin! Prepare to be amazed! Here it is, for your enjoyment, and instruction, the show you’ve been waiting for all your life will soon begin! Are you ready for the miracle of it? Well, then…I give to you, the astounding Bengal tiger!
[Pi pulls his raft next to the tarp end of the lifeboat, the tiger is groaning from the rocking motion of the boat]
Pi Patel: Hello, Richard Parker. Sorry for the choppy ride.
[as the tiger groans, Pi pulls himself onto the lifeboat, he stands on the tarp and jumps up, but the tiger ignores him and instead goes and sits listlessly at the edge of the boat, Pi then opens his fly and pisses on the tarp then looks at the tiger]
Pi Patel: Mine! You understand? Yours! Mine!
[he blows his whistle and points to his territory then to the tiger’s territory]
Pi Patel: You understand?
[the tiger looks at Pi and lets his tongue hang out as if in distaste, then turns around, lifts his tail and sprays Pi with a bust of urine, Pi jumps back in disgust and then falls off the lifeboat]
Pi Patel: [voice over] Step four: disregard steps one through three.
[Pi uses a solar still to distill some water, pours some into his bucket, places the bucket in the boat and blows his whistle]
Pi Patel: Here, Richard Parker. I got some water for you.
[he blows his whistle again, the tiger comes out from under the tarp, looks at the bucket before sticking his head in it and drinking it greedily]
Pi Patel: [voice over] In the zoo, we fed our tigers an average of five kilos of meat a day. Richard Parker will be getting hungry soon.
[we see Pi trying to catch some fish as he sits on his raft]
Pi Patel: [voice over] Tigers are powerful swimmers, and if he gets hungry enough, I’m afraid the little bit of water between us won’t be any protection. I need to find a way to feed him. I can eat the biscuits, but God made tigers carnivores, so I must learn to catch fish. If I don’t, I’m afraid his last meal will be a skinny vegetarian boy.
[Richard Parker watches Pi as he tries to fish and groans at him]
Pi Patel: Patience!
[as Pi is still trying to fish with no success, Richard Parker stares at the fish swimming in the water, he leans over and suddenly jumps into the water swimming after the fish, but as the fish swim off the tiger realizes he can’t climb back on the raft and swims towards Pi’s raft, Pi quickly reels himself back towards the boat and quickly climbs into the boat, the tiger tries to get onto the raft but Pi hauls the raft into the lifeboat, Pi then finds a hatchet stands over the tiger as he tries to hold on to the side of the boat, and yells, as he goes to strike the tiger Richard Parker stares up at Pi and Pi can’t bring himself to kill the tiger]
Pi Patel: What am I doing?
[Pi tries to figure out a way to bring the tiger back onto the lifeboat, he then hears Richard Parker scratching at the hull of the boat]
Pi Patel: Wait! I’m thinking.
[as night time sets in we see Pi has tied the lifeboats provisions onto his raft and pushes it into the water, he then lowers one of the boat’s floorboard panels down the other side of the boat, then uses his whistle to call to Richard Parker, who looking exhausted manages to use the panel to climb back in, at the same time Pi climbs onto his raft and moves it away from the boat, still blowing his whistle, Pi and the tiger look at each other for a moment]
[the next day, Pi goes through the list of supplies listed in his survival manual against the supplies his obtained from the lifeboat]
Pi Patel: Thirty two cartons of biscuits, ninety three cans of water.
[later on, he manages to catch a fish using the banana net, he wrestles with the fish and throwing his full weight onto it to stop it from sliding back into the ocean, Pi then takes a hatchet from the raft and hits the fish with it over and over again until the fish dies and as Pi watches it die he begins to cry]
Pi Patel: I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
[he brings his hands together in prayer and bows in front of the dead fish and cries in grief]
Pi Patel: Thank you, Lord Vishnu! Thank you for coming in the form of a fish and saving our lives! Thank you!
[Pi throws the fish he’d killed earlier onto the lifeboat and blows his whistle, Richard Parker sticks his head out from under the tarp and takes the dead fish with him under to tarp to eat; later on at night, the ocean glows with millions of flecks of glowing plankton and lots of fish swimming past Pi’s raft, Pi brushes his hand over the surface of the water, enjoying the beauty, suddenly a whale thrusts itself from the water up into the air and the motion throws Pi off his raft and as the whale slips back into the water it creates a massive wave causing the raft to lose all the food supply that was tied to it, as the whale swims off Pi gets back onto his raft]
Pi Patel: [voice over] Of course, I brought all the biscuits and water on the raft with me to keep them safe. Idiot.
[during the day, Pi uses his knife to cut another scratch into the hull of the boat to count off the days]
Pi Patel: [voice over] Hunger can change everything you ever thought you knew about yourself.
[as the tiger is under the tarp, Pi climbs onto the tarp and using the boat hoot tries to free the gaff that’s tied to the tarp, as he wiggles the hook free the tiger comes out from under the tarp and snarls at Pi, just then Pi is suddenly struck by a flying fish that lands on the tarp, Pi grabs the fish and tosses it to the tiger]
Pi Patel: Here, it’s yours!
[as Richard Parker goes to grab the fish, the fish flies off, then Pi and Richard Parker look on the other side of the boat and see a mass of flying fish coming upon them which repeatedly strike Pi and the tiger and some land on the boat, as the flying fish also start getting attacked by the larger fish in the ocean, one of them leaps to catch a flying fish but instead strikes the side of the boat and lands inside, the tiger quickly goes for it but Pi suddenly in anger grabs the boat hook and hits the tiger with it and shoves it into his mouth]
Pi Patel: No! No! Mine! Mine! Aaaahhh!!!
[Pi shouts in fury holding the hook threateningly in front of Richard Parker’s face, the tiger backs off and Pi quickly grabs the large fish and throws it away from the tiger, Richard Parker then starts eating the flying fish that have landed in the boat; later on that night, after cutting up the large fish, Pi starts eating it with hunger]
[during the day Pi bandages a would on his leg using the lifeboats first aid kit]
Pi Patel: [voice over] I can’t risk my life every time I have to climb onto the boat for supplies. It’s time to settle this. If we’re going to live together, we have to learn to communicate. Maybe Richard Parker can’t be tamed, but with God’s will, he can be trained.
[Pi takes a strip of wood from the lifeboat, he then stands on the tarp and holding the long stick approaches the tiger, who backs off as Pi comes closer, the tiger tries to bat the stick but he’s unsuccessful, still holding the stick, Pi looks away, the tiger growls and tries to bat the stick away and then comes towards Pi]
Pi Patel: No!
[Pi gives the tiger a stern look which makes the tiger back off]
Pi Patel: Good.
[Pi then takes a piece of fish from the pouch tied behind his back, places it on the end of his long stick and offers it to the tiger, he puts the fish on the bench and the tiger eats it, Pi then taps the bench and throws another piece onto the bench, Pi then taps the other side of the bench and tosses another piece of fish which the tiger eats, he then tosses another piece of fish near the tarp making the tiger follow the direction, but Richard Parker hesitates]
Pi Patel: Go, Richard Parker. Go. Go on home, I’ll leave you alone. I’ll respect that, promise.
[the tiger still hesitates]
Pi Patel: Go! Come on!
[Pi then raises his arms and yells, chasing Richard Parker around the bench and under the tarp]
Pi Patel: Yes!
[as the tiger doesn’t come out from under the tarp, Pi realizes he’s won the battle]
[Pi sits on his raft during the day, under the canopy he’s raised to shield himself from the sun]
Pi Patel: [voice over] I never thought a small piece of shade could bring me so much happiness. That a pile of tools, a bucket, a knife, a pencil, might become my greatest treasures. Or that knowing Richard Parker was here might ever bring me peace. In times like these, I remember that he has as little experience of the real world as I do. We were both raised in a zoo by the same master. Now we’ve been orphaned, left to face our ultimate master together. Without Richard Parker, I would have died by now. My fear of him keeps me alert. Tending to his needs gives my life purpose.
[Pi uses his pencil to write in the margins of his survival manual, which are covered with his journal entries]
[Pi notices something in the distance]
Pi Patel: Dolphins. Hey, Richard Parker!
[Pi stands on his raft to get a closer look and see a stream of dolphins jumping in and out of the water as they go by, Pi then notices a ship behind them and yells]
Pi Patel: Hey!
[he grabs a flare gun from his raft, loads it and fires of a flare, he then loads another one and fires it, but no one notices it; as it starts getting darker, the ship is far off in the distance, Pi uses orange smoke to attract attention, but the ship is too far away to notice]
Pi Patel: [voice over] Above all, don’t lose hope.
[Pi looks at Richard Parker in the boat, then shoots off another flare into the dark sky]
[after some time has passed, during the night, Pi now looking thinner, lies on top of the tarp watching Richard Parker gaze into the distance]
Pi Patel: What are you looking at? Talk to me. Tell me what you see?
[the tiger turns and looks over the side of the boat into the water; Pi rises and looks over the side as well, staring into the water, we see his hallucination of the zoo animals floating in the water, he sees his mother and then the sunken ship lying on the ocean floor; then we see the boat floating in the sea with all the starts around it]
Pi Patel: [voice over] Words are all I have left to hang on to. Everything mixed up, fragmented. Can’t tell daydreams, night dreams from reality anym…
[the next day as Pi writes in his entry in his journal his lead in his tiny stub of a pencil runs out]
[as Pi lies on the tarp he hears a distant sound of thunder, he looks raises his head and sees the thunderclouds]
Pi Patel: Storm, Richard Parker!
[as the storm gets closer, Pi takes down his canopy on the raft and puts his gear away into storage bench of the boat under the tarp, as he goes to store his manual away the storm hits and the wind and rain sweep the manual out of Pi’s hand and Pi is knocked off the boat and into the water, Pi watches in despair as the manual is blown away]
Pi Patel: No!
[Pi manages to get himself back onto the boat and he ties himself to the boat, he looks up at the clouds and sees the lightning fill the sky, as he hears the thunder]
[Pi raises his arms and yells]
Pi Patel: Praise be to God, Lord of All Worlds, the Compassionate, the Merciful!
[a massive wave knocks Pi off the tarp and onto the floor of the boat, Pi looks under the tarp for Richard Parker]
Pi Patel: Come out!
[he bangs on the tarp to get the tiger’s attention]
Pi Patel: Richard Parker! Come out! You have to see this! It’s beautiful!
[Pi tries to open the tarp]
Pi Patel: Don’t hide yourself! He’s come to us! It’s a miracle!
[as the storm rages on suddenly a massive wave hits and takes the boat under water and then it pops back up to the surface, Pi manages to open the side of the tarp exposing the tiger to the storm]
Pi Patel: Come out and see God, Richard Parker!
[Pi looks at the frightened animal and as there’s another thunder and lightning Pi turns to face the storm and raises his arms]
Pi Patel: Why are you scaring him?! I’ve lost my family! I’ve lost everything! I surrender! What more do you want?!
[another massive wave knocks Pi overboard, but Pi manages to climb back onto the boat, he looks over at the frightened tiger, who is holding onto the bench at the stern]
Pi Patel: I’m sorry, Richard Parker!
[Pi crawls to the bow and sees his raft drifting away in the ocean then he manages to get the edge of the tarp hooked back onto the boat and he pulls himself under it, holding on to the edge of the boat, Pi watches the tiger on the other side, as the water hits it engulfs them both, the tiger is tossed against Pi, they keep getting tossed into each other as the storm continues]
[after the storm ends, Pi wakes up looking exhausted under the tarp, he pulls the tarp back and sees the sun is shining, then we see the boat floating in the water as time passes; one day as Pi drinks some water he looks ahead and sees Richard Parker lying on the stern of the boat looking thin and lifeless, Pi walks over to the tiger and pours some water onto his face, the tiger is too tired to open his eyes, Pi reaches out and places his on the tiger’s head and starts crying]
Pi Patel: We’re dying, Richard Parker. I’m sorry.
[Pi sits on the bench and places the tiger’s head on his lap, Pi weeps and turns his head up to the sky]
Pi Patel: Amma, Appa, Ravi, I’m happy I’m going to see you soon.
[Pi looks down at the tiger]
Pi Patel: Can you feel the rain?
[Richard Parker opens his eyes slightly, but remains listless]
Pi Patel: God, thank you for giving me my life. I’m ready now.
[Pi wakes up on top of the tarp, he gets up and looks around him, he sees he boat is pressed against the shore of an island, Pi call to the tiger under the tarp]
Pi Patel: Richard Parker?
[Pi gets off the boat and anchors it, he lies on the shore of the island and tears a piece of seaweed and tastes it, then he starts grabbing handfuls and eating it with hunger, then he finds a type of vegetable and takes a big bite, Pi then starts exploring the island, where he finds thousands of meerkats grouped all over the island, Pi walks slowly amongst the meerkats, pushing some of them aside]
Pi Patel: Excuse me. Move. Move. Excuse me.
[he walks to the edge of a pond and lowers himself into the water and gently swims across it, he lifts himself up to the edge of the pond, looks ahead and sees Richard Parker walking through the meerkats, catching them and eating them, Pi smiles as he watches the tiger]
[later on, Pi rigs a hammock on some branches and as the sun sets, Pi hears a commotion below and sees the meerkats running into the forest and Richard Parker running towards the lifeboat, some of the meerkats climb onto Pi’s hammock and Pi starts pushing them off]
Pi Patel: Hey! Hey! Hey, come on. Hey! Hey, get away. This is my bed!
[Pi lies in his hammock as he continues to shoves them off; later on as Pi sleeps and the meerkats doze off, Pi wakes up in the darkness and looks around him to see it that everything is luminescent and glowing green, he looks down at the pond below and sees it churning bodies of dead fish, Pi looks over to where the lifeboat is and sees Richard Parker sitting in the boat staring at the island as it glows green]
[Pi notices a fruit on one of the branches above his head and picks it, peels off the leafs and opens the center to reveal a tooth; back in adult Pi’s home]
Writer: It was human tooth?
Adult Pi Patel: Don’t you see, the island was carnivorous.
Writer: Carnivorous? Like a Venus flytrap?
Adult Pi Patel: Yes, the whole island. The plants, the water in those pools, the very ground itself. During the day, those pools held fresh water, but at night, some chemical process turned the water in those pools into acid. Acid that dissolved those fish, that sent the meerkats scurrying into the trees and Richard Parker running to the boat.
Writer: But where did the tooth come from?
Adult Pi Patel: Years ago, some poor fellow just like me must have found himself stranded on that island. And like me he thought he might stay there forever. But all that the island gave him by day, it took away again by night. To think, how many hours spent with only meerkats for company? How much loneliness taken on? All I know is that eventually he died, and the island digested him, leaving behind only his teeth. I saw how my life would end if I stayed on that island. Alone and forgotten. I had to get back to the world, or die trying.
[back on the island, Pi loads the boat with water, meerkats, roots and seaweed]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] I spent the next day preparing the boat. I filled my stores with fresh water, ate seaweed until my stomach could take no more, and brought as many meerkats as I could fit into the storage locker for Richard Parker. I couldn’t leave without him, of course, it would mean killing him. And so I waited for his return. I knew he wouldn’t be late.
[Pi blows his whistle and calls out to him]
Pi Patel: Richard Parker!
[Pi sees the tiger run through the forest, coming down towards him, Pi picks up the boat’s anchor as he waits for the tiger to arrive]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] No one has seen that floating island since, and you won’t read about those trees in any nature book. And yet if I hadn’t found those shores, I would have died. And if I hadn’t discovered that tooth, I would have been lost, alone forever.
[Richard Parker jumps into the boat and Pi climbs aboard and pushes the boat forward]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] Even when God seemed to have abandoned me, he was watching. Even when he seemed indifferent to my suffering, he was watching. And when I was beyond all hope of saving, he gave me rest, then gave me a sign to continue my journey.
[we see Pi jumping into the water, his feet hit the sandy bottom and he starts walking pulling the lifeboat along]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] By the time we reached the Mexican shore, I was afraid to let go of the boat. My strength was gone. I was so weak. I was afraid that in two feet of water, so close to deliverance, I would drown.
[as Pi reaches the coastline, he struggles to bring the boat ashore]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] I struggled to shore and fell upon the sand. It was warm and soft, like pressing my face against the cheek of God. And somewhere two eyes were smiling at having me there.
[after pulling the boat onto the shore, Pi collapses on the sand]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] I was so spent I could hardly move.
[the tiger jumps onto the shore and starts stretching, Pi lifts his head and watches him]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] And so Richard Parker went ahead of me. He stretched his legs and walked along the shore. At the edge of the jungle, he stopped. I was certain he was going to look back at me, flatten his ears to his head, growl, that he would bring our relationship to an end in some way. But he just stared ahead into the jungle.
[Pi watches the tiger as he stares ahead into the forest]
[back in adult Pi’s home]
Adult Pi Patel: And then Richard Parker, my fierce companion, the terrible one who kept me alive, disappeared forever from my life.
[we see Pi lying on the sand when a group of locals run down the beach towards him]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] After a few hours, a member of my own species found me. He left and returned with a group who carried me away.
[we see Pi sobbing as he’s being carried away]
Adult Pi Patel: [voice over] I wept like a child, not because I was overwhelmed at having survived, although I was. I was weeping because Richard Parker left me so unceremoniously. It broke my heart.
[back in adult Pi’s home as he continues]
Adult Pi Patel: You know, my father was right. Richard Parker never saw me as his friend. After all we had been through, he didn’t even look back. But I have to believe that there was more in his eyes than my own reflection staring back at me. I know it, I felt it, even if I can’t prove it.
[he looks at the writer with tears in his eyes]
Adult Pi Patel: You know, I’ve left so much behind. My family, the zoo, India, Anandi. I suppose in the end the whole of life becomes an act of letting go. But what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye. I was never able to thank my father for all I learned from him, to tell him that without his lessons I would never have survived. I know Richard Parker is a tiger, but I wish I’d said: ‘It’s over. We survived. Thank you for saving my life. I love you, Richard Parker. You’ll always be with me. May God be with you.’
[the writer looks at him as he begins to cry]
Writer: I don’t know what to say.
[Pi wipes the tears from his face and looks at the writer]
Adult Pi Patel: I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it?
Writer: It is a lot to take in, to figure out what it all means.
Adult Pi Patel: If it happened, it happened. Why should it have to mean anything?
Writer: Well, some of it is pretty incredible.
Adult Pi Patel: See, I was the only one who survived the shipwreck, so the Japanese shipping company sent two men to talk to me in the Mexican hospital where I was recovering. I still have a copy of their report.
[Pi gets up and brings a notebook from the bookcase]
Adult Pi Patel: They had insurance claims to settle, they wanted to find out why the ship sank. They didn’t believe me either.
[Pi hands the notebook to the writer and starts flipping through the pages]
[in the hospital as two men talk to Pi as he sits up in his bed]
Older Insurance Investigator: Thousands of meerkats on a floating carnivorous island, and no one has ever seen it?
Pi Patel: Yes. Just like I told you.
Younger Insurance Investigator: Bananas don’t float.
[the older investigator looks at the younger one and says to him Japanese]
Older Insurance Investigator: [subtitled] Why are you talking about bananas?
Younger Insurance Investigator: You said the orangutan floated to you on a bundle of bananas. But bananas don’t float.
[to the younger investigator in Japanese]
Older Insurance Investigator: [subtitled] Are you sure about that?
[the younger one nods]
Pi Patel: Of course they do. Try it for yourself.
Older Insurance Investigator: In any case, we are not here to talk about bananas or meerkats.
Pi Patel: Look, I’ve just told you a long story and I’m very tired.
Older Insurance Investigator: We are here because a Japanese cargo ship sank in the Pacific.
Pi Patel: Something I never forget. I lost my whole family.
[in Japanese to the younger investigator]
Older Insurance Investigator: [subtitled] Get him some water.
[as the younger investigator gets up to get Pi some water the older one addresses Pi]
Older Insurance Investigator: We don’t mean to push you. And you have our deepest sympathies. But we have come a long way, and we are no closer to understanding why the ship sank.
Pi Patel: Because I don’t know! I was asleep. Something woke me up. It could have been an explosion, I can’t be sure. And then the ship sank. What else do you want from me?
Younger Insurance Investigator: A story that won’t make us look like fools.
Older Insurance Investigator: We need a simpler story for our report. One our company can understand. A story we can all believe.
Pi Patel: So a story without things you’ve never seen before.
Older Insurance Investigator: That’s right.
Pi Patel: Without surprises, without animals or islands.
Older Insurance Investigator: Yes. The truth.
[back in adult Pi’s home, the writer looks at Pi]
Writer: So what did you do?
Adult Pi Patel: I told him another story. Four of us survived…
[back at the Mexican hospital young Pi continues telling the story to the investigators]
Pi Patel: The cook and the sailor were already aboard. The cook threw me a lifebuoy and pulled me aboard and mother held onto some bananas and made it to the lifeboat. The cook…the cook was a disgusting man. He ate a rat. We had food enough for weeks, but he found the rat in the first few days, and he killed it, dried it in the sun and ate it. He was such a brute, that man. But he was resourceful. It was his idea to build the raft to catch fish. We would have died in those first few days without him. The sailor was the same man who brought rice and gravy, the Buddhist. We didn’t understand much of what he said, only that he was suffering. He’d broken his leg horribly in the fall. We tried to set it as best we could, but the leg became infected and the cook said that we had to do something or he’d die. The cook said he’d do it, but mother and I had to hold the man down. And I believed him, we needed to do it.
Pi Patel: So…I kept saying, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry’, and he just kept looking at me, his eyes were so…I’ll never understand the point of that man’s suffering. I can still hear him, the happy Buddhist who only ate rice and gravy. We didn’t save him, of course. He died. The morning after, the cook caught his first dorado, and I didn’t understand what he’d done at first, but mother did, and I had never seen her so angry. ‘Stop whining and be happy!’ he said. ‘We need more food or we’ll die. That was the whole point!’ ‘What was the point?’ mother asked, ‘You let that poor boy die in order to get bait? You monster!’ The cook got furious. He started towards her with his fists raised, and mother slapped him hard, right across the face. I was stunned. I thought he was going to kill her right then. But he didn’t. The cook didn’t stop at bait either, no. The sailor, he went the same way the rat went. The cook was a resourceful man.
[Pi pauses and the two investigators look at each other]
[Pi continues his story to the investigators]
Pi Patel: It was a week later that he… Because of me. Because I couldn’t hold onto a stupid turtle. It slipped out of my hands and swam away and the cook came up and he punched me on the side my head and my teeth clacked and I saw stars. I thought he was going to hit me again, but mother started pounding on him with her fists and screaming, ‘Monster! Monster!’ She yelled at me to go to the raft, ‘Nee poda!’ I thought she was coming with me or I’d never have… I don’t know why I didn’t make her go first. I think about that every day. I jumped over and turned back just as the knife came out.
[tears well up in Pi’s eyes]
Pi Patel: There wasn’t anything I could do. I couldn’t look away. He threw her body overboard, and then the sharks came. And I saw what they… I saw.
[Pi starts crying]
Pi Patel: The next day I killed him. He didn’t even fight back. He knew he’d gone too far, even by his own standards. He’d left the knife out on the bench and I did to him what he did to the sailor. He was such an evil man, but worse still, he…he brought the evil out in me. I have to live with that. I was alone in a lifeboat, drifting across the Pacific Ocean, and I survived.
[back in adult Pi’s home, he continues the story]
Adult Pi Patel: After that, they had no more questions. The investigators didn’t seem to like the story exactly. They thanked me, they wished me well, and they left.
[the writer thinks for a moment]
Writer: So the stories… Both the zebra and the sailor broke their leg. And the hyena killed the zebra and the orangutan. So, the hyena is the cook, the sailor is the zebra, your mother is the orangutan, and you’re…the tiger.
Adult Pi Patel: Can I ask you something?
Writer: Of course.
Adult Pi Patel: I’ve told you two stories about what happened out on the ocean. Neither explains what caused the sinking of the ship, and no one can prove which story is true and which is not. In both stories, the ship sinks, my family dies, and I suffer.
Adult Pi Patel: So which story do you prefer?
[the writer pauses for a moment]
Writer: The one with the tiger. That’s the better story.
Adult Pi Patel: Thank you. And so it goes with God.
[Pi looks at the writer and smiles and the writer smiles back]
Writer: Mamaji was right. It’s an amazing story. Will you really let me write it?
Adult Pi Patel: Of course. Isn’t that why Mamaji sent you here, after all?
[the writer smiles; Pi hears a car pull up in the driveway]
Adult Pi Patel: My wife is here. Do you want to stay for dinner? She’s an incredible cook.
Writer: I didn’t know you had a wife.
Adult Pi Patel: And a cat, and two children.
Writer: So your story does have a happy ending.
Adult Pi Patel: Well, that’s up to you. The story’s yours now.
[Pi rises and goes to open the door, the writer flips through the pages of the report, stops at the last and reads the last lines aloud]
Writer: ‘Mr. Patel’s is an astounding story of courage and endurance unparalleled in the history of shipwrecks. Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long at sea, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger.’
[the writer smiles to himself]
[last lines; adult Pi walks into his home with his wife and two children]
Adult Pi Patel: We have a guest. Let me introduce you.
[the writer stands and faces Pi and his family]
Pi’s Wife: Hi. Very nice to meet you.
[the writer shakes hands with Pi’s wife, Pi introduces his daughter and son]
Adult Pi Patel: Adika. Ravi.
[as the writer meets adult’s Pi’s family we see young Pi smiling as he sits on his raft, then it cuts to the tiger as he stares out into the jungle before walking forward and disappearing into the jungle]
Total Quotes: 69
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