why i love plane rides

My day-to-day 6am to 12am life is hectic. This includes the weekends where time is split between family, passion and giving.

I don’t hang-out (for the heck of it). I don’t space out (you get to do that when dementia sets in). I don’t watch the idiot box or the big silver screens. I don’t admire the work of visual merchandisers – I shop only when I absolutely need to. I don’t read novels or newspapers, and almost never leaf through coffee table books and leisure/ hobbyist/ fashion magazines.

Everything for me is delivered in summaries – ESPN highlights, TIME/ Newsweek (which is presently on the back burner due to their pro-US news and nothing else – much the same case as National Geography which I have stopped over the last 3 years when I was fed-up of reading the 50th version of the Pharoah in Egypt over the last 20 years of my life), RSS feeds of all news channels and Tweets of select authors, economists and anyone who has something useful to say. If I need to know more if something intrigues me, I deep dive.

So plane rides are liberating experiences for me. It’s the only time I sit back and catch up on movies.

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I’ve had this Yann Martel‘s book for a few years now. One of those RM14.99 bargain bin finds. Flipped a few pages and thought, yes, I could read this, not knowing whether it was more Indian, British or French judging by the author’s name and the story of a boy from Pondicherry.

Speaking of names, just so you know Piscine Molitor exist for real – it is an abandoned swimming pool complex located in Porte Molitor, 16th arrondissement of Paris, Île-de-France. And Richard Parker is by far the most famous (as in frequently adopted) name by authors in shipwreck related stories; victims mostly.

I never got around completing the Life of Pi, even on long road trips or train trips, simply because I’ve taken on the bizarre (by my own standards) taste for Robert Ludlum‘s thriller novels, day dreaming of a career as a spy. In addition, (and if I could say more inline with my character of being a  masochist) I’d bring along boring, outdated classical literature by the likes of Leo Tolstoy, J.D. Salinger, Emily Brontë,  Fyodor Dostoevsky, F. Scott Fitzgerald,  Charles Dickens, Anton Chekhov … trudging along in most cases, determine to complete the books before the trip is done and dusted.

It also never crossed my mind once to even watch the movie; figuring it will be in the same league as the Flight Plan (although, I’ve not watched Flight Plan either) from the perspective that one involves being film on an airplane and another on a lifeboat floating adrift.

But with nothing really exciting to watch – I typically go for drama (if audio is good), romantic comedy (coz is fluffy and entertaining) and action (only if there’s a Gerard Butler, Vin Diesel, Robert Downey Jr, Hugh Jackman, Matt Damon, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino …) – the Life of Pi was a no brainer choice.

Ang Lee did a good job injecting surrealism along the way by means of projecting Pi’s thoughts that otherwise would not have been possible. Since it’s really a story of questionable realism with heavy theological undertones throughout the length of the story – I can’t tell if “god” was said more than “Richard Parker”  though this seems academic as Richard Parker symbolically represents something larger than life, and definitely more than a Bengal tiger.

In any case, I somehow felt that M. Night Shyamalan had a hand in creating the twist at the end of the movie; perhaps as a creative director/ consultant. This is me and my own obsession with M.Night Shyamalan of course, that brought me to Pondicherry pondering what’s so cheery about a place with some remnants of French architecture on one side of a typical Indian town divided by a huge garbage choked monsoon-like-looking-drain, some years back.  Without digressing further, I took it upon myself to find a copy of the Life of Pi in a bookshop in Subiaco, plonked my ass down and read the last bit. The end, was not a Yann Martel thing. And definitely not an Ang Lee movie director thing – from as far as I can tell.

Being the geek I am (and thanks to free wifi), I promptly google-d reviews which appears to be like me, fixated with the ending. However, unlike me, the fixation is a tat different, taking on the theology course, daring us humans to make a choice that has a direct reflection on how we as individuals view the world, our lives and issues that are larger than life.

The end for me on a personal level was when Richard Parker proceeded on without even a backwards glance or an ear twitch when they both landed on the Mexican beach. By then, I’ve had my glasses down on my lap, shamelessly wiping my uncontrollable tears with the back of both my hands!

I started crying (not sobbing) publicly when Richard Parker laid limp on Pi’s lap as he coax the poor furry bugger to have a drink of fresh water.

I have to say I quite like how the end ended, save to the point where Pi’s woman (of his dreams) appears with their children! which by the way I don’t recall him having a love interest in the book before his family set sail.

Oh well, it was a good break from my normal routine. As for the movie, I won’t necessarily rank it high. It really doesn’t matter since it’s moons now and most would have watched it.

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courtesy MAS inflight entertainment KUL-PERTH

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2 thoughts on “why i love plane rides

  1. I like the way it ends too.. A deep question, “do you believe what actually happened or do you believe the more believable story.. “

    • Like Yann and the Japanese I’d like to challenge the convention, dream of the impossible and embrace God’s gift of a broad empty mind ripe for ideas. Definitely Richard Parker. Else there won’t be Pi. Else there won’t be hope and dreams. No one can rob anyone else from imagination, dreams and hope.

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