Thursday, July 02, 2009
Michaelness - a tribute!
Last Thursday, while on a domestic long distance call with my Sister in law, Santu my brother called me on the second line and dropped a little bomb of sorts. "Michael Jackson is dead" he announced - without even caring to say hello - in a voice that sounded low and shocked. The emotion was coming from a confirmed MJ fan and was rightly justified.
I let out a sigh and felt a surprising gloom, since I did not know MJ either as the world class entertainer or the eccentric wacko he was alleged to be. MJ was a rage when I was growing up. Every person in the Indian film fraternity were in some way influenced by him so much so that there was a mass flattery of MJ that went on for decades together - flattery as in imitation. All his beats and moves were diligently copied and his costumes and backgrounds were passionately plagiarised by all directors, choreographers, music directors, their assistants, competetors and neighbors:-) MJ was known more far and wide than Amitabh Bachchan was perhaps, since the remote villages of regional India doesn't watch much Hindi movies but their regional stars and lyrics chanted "MJ" like a mantra and made him well known across the subcontinent, language and literacy no bar!
A friend form high school used to listen to his songs more religiously than he'd say his daily prayers. Once he wrote the lyrics of "Beat it" for me to consider the depth, pain and emotion in them. I saw where the friend was coming from but it did not occur to me how huge this Michael Jackson guy really was.
One of the first gifts my hubby (then beau) sent me was a CD man with a remote control and a pack of MJ cds - this was when CDs were still not a rage, at least in the small town I hailed from. Slowly MJ fire caught in our household and thus the die hard loyal fan in Santu was born.
After migrating to the US and making it my home, I'd seen MJ on the covers of all tabloids while waiting in line at Safeway and killing time watching E! channel. The wacko Jacko seemed to have offered more drama, sales and TV ratings than the divinely versatile talent of Michael the King of Pop. The analysis was more about his looks, nose, hair and the skin tone that changed form a radiant light brown to albino white. There were theories and anti theories about his skin disease, his 'not accepting' his race, his suspicious attraction towards children and numerous plastic surgeries. America Loved Jacko, Loved to hate him that is - till his death last thursday.
Suddenly, the icon was gone and the whole nation seemed to be in a mass mourning. All his 'in the closet' fans emerged out proclaiming their love for his talent and their belief in his innocence. The Internet experienced a melt-down with all the love and curiosity everyone suddenly has for him. I am guilty as charged to have done my share of MJ googling and viewing his 2002 interview given to one of those Pakistani media persons. (forgot his name) Every other video on YouTube featuring MJ had more than a ten million views overnight and condolences poured in from far and wide across the planet. It's a week since the legend departed and the world doesn't seem to have come over him or his death yet! Suddenly and ironically, MJ is being noticed for his multi talented personality, his genuine love for children and his troubled childhood that left a deep impact on who he became later on. If Larger than life has a mortal form, it most definitely, certainly, without a doubt looks much like an athletic six foot frame that moved like a machine, sang like an angel and wrote lyrics like John keats. A frame that bore a 'bleached of pigment' face, permanent eyeliner and a head full of long, black tresses, A form that looks strikingly like Michael Joseph Jackson who was mistaken for Wacko Jacko till he breathed his last.
It is very sad that MJ was not around to see the impact his departure had on his well-wishers and fanbase that spreads across the globe. MJ is as universal if not more as Jesus himself. MJ the moon walker, MJ the singer, MJ the lyricist, the dancer and the composer shall stay here marking his territory across the planet much like William shakespeare or Thomas Edison long after his demise.
The power house of talent shall be deeply missed by all his admirers and live an immortal life for generations to come.
The whole thing just reminds me of a few things - the fact that what matters in one's life is not how one lives it but how much one is missed once one leaves and the fact that we are not here for ever and we should live our lives like we mean to live them and the fact that Michaelness is a mass madness that the world will never overcome.