How many times have you been disturbed by a book?
You might empathize, you may eulogize, you may be at awe, you may cry, you might brood, you may forget, you might enjoy, you may laugh, you may think, you might discuss, you may recommend, you might stop halfway, you may fall asleep…
These are the few of the various possible actions one encounters when reading a book, whether that is a fictitious novel, a biography, a collection of essays or anything that can be written and printed in paperback, hardcover or whatever way. But the experience I had when reading Jarhead was jarring.
For those of who don’t know, Jarhead is a common nickname given and used for marines (A branch in US defense or USMC). I had rather still have this thought of joining SSC of Indian Army. I had mentioned it to very few friends around me, So one of my best friend in Bozeman, R recommended this book to me since she thought it might entice me with the thought of joining SSC twirling around my head. In fact, she hadn’t read it but she somehow felt like recommending it to me (though, I guess she regrets it now, which will too soon change..!)
So, I started reading this book(with the thought of Joining SSC in my head, BTW The thought of joining SSC was not sparked by any movie or any book, even I dunno the reason as of now and I will let you know..If I happen to find it) I finished it in a span of couple o’ days. When she gave the book to me, I finished the 1st chapter(its only few pages) before flickering my eyes and being completely absorbed.
The adrenaline was pumping, I got ready to read about the valor and heroism of Marines in the Iraq-Kuwait war in the desert. The first hand experience written in the form of chronicles (though its not chronological) was much more than heroism, It was about the brutality of war and about the men who fought those dirty, deadly wars. Not about victorious cries, but about death, loneliness far from home, of anticipation, of wetting one’s pants, of fear, of cowardice, of profanity, of manhood.. To sum it all its about life- about how worthless it can be, how bitchy it can get, how scornfully you can look at it, how contemptuously one can spit at it…
The book is satirical, but it clearly and honestly puts one in perspective, a perception where one can see how the war is perceived by one who is in it. What cleaning the rifle meant, what those corpses meant, what those flying metals overhead meant… When no reason makes sense, when no reason is good enough, when you don’t require any reason…The man fights with remote reasons, the man is made an animal may be he is finding his roots. I am put to think, to wonder whether life is that worthless…
It is interesting, but disturbing, but its still interesting to see life from its myriad viewpoints.
Anyways I am glad that I read a book which was not in my summer reading list.
-A man with fohawk hairdo.