When Pi is fifteen years old, he becomes interested in Islam. He goes to the part of his hometown where there’s a large Muslim community, and he meets a Muslim mystic named Satish Kumar. In chapter 18, the question about Islam revolves around the bread. Pi is mystified and intrigued by the unleavened bread. He pokes it, flips it, and treats it as if it’s some mysterious foreign object. Pi’s inspection is interrupted by Satish. Surprised by Satish’s presence, the bread flies out of Pi’s hand and lands on a pile of cow excrement. The sequence propels Pi to inquire about the bread. “So you make these?” he asks. Satish takes Pi to his bakery and home, which isn’t described in a complimentary manner, and shows him how he makes the bread.
In chapter 19, Pi’s question about Islam is much more abstract and expansive. He sees Satish again and asks him, “What’s your religion about?” Satish replies, “It is about the Beloved.” Pi seems satisfied with the answer. In the next paragraph, he proclaims that anybody who tries to understand Islam will love it. “It’s a beautiful religion of brotherhood and devotion.” Pi reinforces the appeal and dedication of Islam by describing the openness of the mosque and the number of adherents deep in prayer.
In chapter 21, after spending much time with Satish, Pi poses a question to himself. He asks, “What of God’s silence?”