Then the elderly man said, “I have a story that will make you believe in God.”
When Francis Adirubasamy, or Mamaji, spies the author in a cafe and notes his line of work, he decides to share Pi’s miraculous story. His statement introduces the importance of faith, both in the novel and in Pi’s story. Pi’s survival of his long ordeal at sea seems almost impossible, perhaps only attributable to the existence of God. Further, Pi’s personal sense of faith gave him the will to survive.
The day I came of swimming age, which, to Mother’s distress, Mamaji claimed was seven, he brought me down to the beach, spread his arms seaward and said, “This is my gift to you.”
Pi recalls the moment when Francis Adirubasamy, or Mamaji as Pi calls him, first teaches Pi how to swim. Mamaji’s words gain in relevance because Pi’s ability to swim and his comfort in water will become lifesaving in his time as a castaway. Pi and Mamaji develop a close relationship based on all the time they spend together and their mutual love of the water.
He tells me that the camera did click regularly—on all the usual important occasions—but everything was lost. What little there is consists of what was assembled by Mamaji and mailed over after the events.
The author reflects on the photo album Pi shows him. The author notes that only a few pages exist to show the family’s life in India, and he learns that all of the photos came from Mamaji. This fact reveals how Mamaji represents the only connection Pi has to his boyhood in India. As such, Mamaji takes on the parental role of serving as Pi’s memory and chronicling his growing up.