Sunday, October 01, 2006

An excerpt from LIFE OF PI by Yann Martel

I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a cleve, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. it begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelied is a poorly armed soldier. doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread. fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while yoru sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear. Quickly you make rash decisions. you dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There you've defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an inpression has triumphed over you.This matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes to your foundation, such as you feal when you are bought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that your avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.


gulnaz said...

I just had to, had to, had to share this. perhaps it spoke to me too closely because i'm a scaredy cat...but i know it speaks to all of us.

Ye manzilen !! said...

Good Stuf Gul.
Well said....

E said...


mermaid said...

'So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it.'

So that's what I try to do. Nice to see it expressed so well here.

Misreflection said...

:-) read the book some yrs ago and found it to be both profound and inspirational, kinda book that needs to be read twice at least.Fear.. well if its there to remain for the rest of our lives in most of what we do and say then maybe we can only aim not to be total slaves to it.
ps I fear ;-) I'm having great difficulty in posting comments on your post..if this appears twice.. I'm sorry.

Cherie! said...

It does! Thanks for posting this!

M. Shahin said...

Thanks for posting it Gulnaz. I actually recently bought the book, and I want to start reading it soon. Everyone says it is really good.

Thanks for adding me to your links :-)

paddy said...

reading books not my cup of tea , but reading this extrract i remembered a song i wrote a couple years ago :
theres gonna be a time
u'll be running for ur life
and the devil's gonna strike again
u just cant run away from it
it always there with you
coz its right there inside you ...

gulnaz said...

ye manzilen- glad you liked it. :)

e- nice smile there, keep on smiling. :)

mermaid- yes i see that in your words...keep on writing!

missy- its a fantastic book, a page into the book and i knew i was going to love it...towards the end i didnt want the book to finish. blogger acts up regularly...what to do!! :(

Cherie- glad you enjoyed it! :)

m.shahin- oh you must start reading it soon then! :)

Paddy- that's a great song.....the devil is there within us, we got to keep it down...all of us can go bad if we allow oursevles to.

Cocaine Jesus said...

fantastic book! i read a whil back now and just loved the impossibility of it all.
also liked the way Pi, who is Hindu, decides to cover his options and becomes a Muslim and a Hindu and a Christian.
my kinda guy.
i also loved the bit in the boat with the taming of the tiger.
fanastic book.

gulnaz said...

CJ- i loved the book totally!!!
you can actually try your hand at writing a novel like that, i feel.