Thursday, July 9, 2009

Can a legend ever die?

I was introduced to Michael Jackson's music by my brother. I can’t exactly remember how old I was, but I do remember that he and I were in school then. See, we both went to boarding schools, 28 kilometers away from each other, in the northern part of India. His was in a valley; mine was stuffed inside a hill station. My brother's really close friend, who lived in South Africa then, would download/ record the latest music releases on cassettes for my brother and bring them to school after vacation. Of course, I would listen to them on our next vacation when my brother brought those cassettes home. I pretty much lagged behind by a year. When people were dancing to George Michael’s FAITH, I was shaking it up to WHAM. Hey don't judge. India wasn't all that global then, and I was on a boarder’s budget. Plus, we went to Libya for our vacations since our parents lived there. In Libya, we got one TV channel—RAI TV, from Italy. I grew up watching Italian shows that I didn’t comprehend. I learnt *interesting* Italian gestures at a very young age. It wasn’t until I went to visit my brother in Milan (He was doing his MBA from SDA Boconi) that I realized how many “uh-oh” gestures I had learnt. So, unless there was an American concert happening in Italy, RAI TV didn’t think much about showing newly released American music videos. Or at least I don’t remember seeing it. Maybe my parents sneaked in “subtle-censorship?” Come to think of it, no country can play soccer 365 days of the year, and we always had soccer on that beloved channel.:-)

Anyhoo. Like most kids from my generation, I swooned over MJ. His music and posters were crazy popular in India towards the end of 80s and beginning 90s. Everyone who was cool knew the words to BAD. I remember a cousin of mine had this huge wall-size poster of MJ, from BAD, in his bedroom. The way the poster was positioned was a bit scary. That was the first thing you saw at the threshold of his room. The first time you entered his room, your heart would skip a beat. My aunt would always call MJ, “daraavna” (scary). I think it was one of the American publications that said, “It’s only in America that a poor, black man can turn into a rich, white woman.”

The music from BAD echoed with my generations’ heartbeat. He cried, we cried. He danced; we all tried making a fool of ourselves with decrepit steps. But we were all MJized the way my parents generation was ABBAized. I am still jealous of my husband because he got to watch MJ perform live in Bombay. How cool is that!

Until recently, I didn’t realize the impact MJ had on the generation after us. About ten days ago when I was talking to my ten-year old niece in Singapore, she brought up MJ. She genuinely sounded low when she said, “Bua, you know, Michael Jackson is dead.” She truly sounded devastated -- in a 10-year old sort of way. It’s not like she is into his music, but she knew him in a legendary sort of way. The way I know about bands that cater to her age (Jonas Brothers?) That was the moment when I truly accepted the aura of Michael Jackson.

My sentiments echo with Diddy - “Michael Jackson showed me that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life!! He made me believe in magic. I will miss him!”

More until next time.

Copyright © 07.09.2009


Anonymous said...

like humor for you. keep writing.

J said...

Brilliant writeup Sweta !
I love your sense of humour.
Beautiful article.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering, why your Blog has not covered this episode, so far. Well written as usual