Uit: Life of Pi
“My brother Ravi once told me that when Mamaji was born he didn’t want to give up on breathing water and so the doctor, to save his life, had to take him by the feet and swing him above his head round and round.
“It did the trick!” said Ravi, wildly spinning his hand above his head. “He coughed out water and started breathing air, but it forced all his flesh and blood to his upper body. That’s why his chest is so thick and his legs are so skinny.”
I believed him. (Ravi was a merciless teaser. The first time he called Mamaji “Mr. Push” to my face I left a banana peel in his bed.)
Even in his sixties, when he was a little stooped and a lifetime of counter-obstetric gravity had begun to nudge his flesh downwards, Mamaji swam thirty lengths every morning at the pool of the Aurobindo Ashram.
Scene uit de film “Life of Pi” uit 2012
He tried to teach my parents to swim, but he never got them to go beyond wading up to their knees at the beach and making ludicrous round motions with their arms, which, if they were practising the breaststroke, made them look as if they were walking through a jungle, spreading the tall grass ahead of them, or, if it was the front crawl, as ifthey were running down a hill and flailing their arms so as not to fall. Ravi was just as unenthusiastic.
Mamaji had to wait until I came into the picture to find a willing disciple. 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.”
“And then he nearly drowned you,” claimed Mother.“
Yann Martel (Salamanca, 25 juni 1963)