I am a fairly good cook. There are a variety of different dishes that I make and they are delicious too. It's just this one dish I am unable to nail. My most dreaded raspberry apple pie. And I have no plausible explanation as to why I can't get it right. Every time I try, something or the other goes haywire. I really don't know why it always goes wrong. The pie when replaced with pi stands true to its nature of being an irrational constant.
The fancy Greek letter is introduced to us in childhood as a mystery in math. Little did we know that this ratio of circumference to diameter will haunt us for our entire school life! The first thing that would prop up by looking at pi was 22/7 which is not pi but just an approximation of pi. So pi is not a number, not a constant but a symbol for uncertainty, an irrationality.
Just like the power puff girls created from sugar, spice and everything nice is incomplete without chemical X our lives adorned with science technology logic and reason is incomplete without a pinch of pi. Irrationality, fear, doubt, approximation, ceaseless possibilities are all ingredients of pi. We are the generation of this 21st century. Everything that we think or do is supported by rational thinking fueled by our scientific temperament. We boast that we think and act rationally but there arise many a situation where irrationality takes over and the ropes are held by pi.
Pi is something that you cannot support with rhyme or reason. So, everything and anything that happens, which you are unable to explain is nothing but pi. You miss the bus you were supposed to board by a second, meets ghastly accident. There was no reason for you to miss it but you were destined to. You study hard for a year but fall sick on the day of your exam. This is an incident you can call pi personified. So pi here is fate, destiny or luck may be good may be bad. Right from a flower blooming from a bud to the elegant butterfly hovering over it, every miracle, every magic that leaves you speechless can be called pi.
Pi is when you stop thinking and plunge into a bungee jump only for that adrenaline rush. Pi is when you feel the rush of wind against your face when you are speeding your bike. Pi is when you shout your guts out rolling around in a roller coaster. Pi is the joy being thoughtless but spontaneous. Every smoker who knows that every cigarette, every puff could take a toll on his life but still smokes, every tree that we cut knowing that we are harming the environment is a sign of the thoughtlessness, a sign of pi.
With all due respect to Yann Martel for his imagination and Ang Lee for capturing it perfectly on camera, I found the plot of ‘life of pi’ pretty unconventional. However, it later dawned on me that everything about it was about pi. Pi which has no certain limit, no certain definition. Everything about pi has to be different and should lack reason altogether just like the protagonist PI survives mid-sea building boats and taming tigers simultaneously.
"Many great ideas, great love stories and great achievements are born from a healthy irrationality."
Like Maraboli said things that we feel are not possible today could be a reality tomorrow. Some actions performed in the spur of the moment could turn out to be the best decisions ever made. Pi is the uncertainty lurking in the dark but it could turn out to be opportunity in disguise.
Emotions are a piece of pi too. The most mundane routine act which makes you smile today may upset you tomorrow depending on your mood. Your mood which changes with each passing second is something you hardly understand, you can hardly explain. Strongest of all emotions love, is also deep-rooted in pi, pi which encloses fear and doubt. Lovers elope and marry to defy parents who reared them all their life. Lovers die for each other when society opposes them. These are actions you cannot explain or even understand.
Faith is also a form of pi. Most people in India place their faith their beliefs in the stone statues of gods and goddesses praying for wealth, money and what not. So, idol worship is also an irrationality constant synonymous with pi. Also, when you come to think of hatred, religion, castes, it’s the darker side of pi. Discrimination over colour and ancestry can never be supported by any reason any logic. When we learn and see wars we would like to question as to why this practice came about and why it continues to loom over the world still. So, war is another pi on the canvas of the globe.
So, pi is all that you cannot define. Mathematicians all over the world are trying to find the exact value of pi. Will they be able to decipher what pi is, ever? They are so deep-down in search that they might have forgotten where they began. As they say the world is round and so is a pie, I feel the answer to to pi is at the beginning of civilization, hidden within our very existence.
Title image: Richelbilderbeek