How does the bonsai tree story in Life of Pi remind the reader of the two Mr. Kumars?

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Pi is a character who has an extraordinary desire to learn everything he can. Two of his greatest mentors are both ironically named Satish Kumar. One of them is a Sufi mystic with a deep and unshakable faith in god, and the other is a biology teacher who insists that god does not exist. While both are a source of invaluable knowledge to Pi, they are both very stubborn in their worldview.

The reader might be reminded of these two men when Pi has an exchange with the Japanese officials regarding the banana trees from Pi's story. When the officials say that the trees that Pi describes are botanically impossible, Pi, who has never seen a bonsai tree, claims that trees you can carry are impossible. By doing this, he illustrates the timeless lesson that there are more things in life than in a single persons perspective, and that one cannot judge universal truth by one's own personal experience alone.

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The bonsai tree is mentioned when Mr. Chiba tries to persuade Pi that the story he has told them is scientifically impossible. How he does this is by citing the authority of his uncle who is a "bonsai master." This plan of his backfires, however, when Pi shows he does not know what a bonsai tree is. When Mr. Chiba explains and says they are tiny trees that are incredibly old and can be carried in your arms, Pi responds by saying:

Whoever heard of such trees? They're botanically impossible.

Pi ripostes the claim that the island where he stayed is a biological impossibility by insisting that he only believes what he sees. This should make the attentive reader think back to the two Mr. Kumars and the way that they challenge Pi's understanding of life and the universe by stressing the way in which we should be reliant on our own senses alone rather than other people's ideas of what is impossible or not. 

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