So I am at the metro station today and a gleaming LCD display shows something in Danish. It has Michael Jackson’s photograph on it and I immediately assume ‘Whacko Jacko’ is making a trip to Copenhagen thanks to my serious limitations with the Danish language. I then come into work, as always, and go to Times of India to see what chaos is breaking loose in my blessed nation when, it hits me like a ton of bricks – Michael Jackson is dead. I immediately find myself saying, despite never having been a hardcore fan of the big MJ – ‘O shoot! Damn….!’ I then spend the next few minutes reading the article and letting this absolute surprise sink into me. There is something about this news that just doesn't fit. Michael Jackson is not supposed to die. I am not sure why, but it just doesn't fit.
I guess it is with this unnerving stab of unprecedented wonder that the entire world (or at least most part of it) will react to the sudden exit of Michael. As a teen I still remember going crazy about the bass heavy beats of his ‘Thriller’, ‘Bad’, ‘Dangerous’ albums that somehow seemed to ooze with the ache of a human being who genuinely cared for others. Like him or hate him you could never ignore him – a cliché that has been oft used with over hyped and ridiculously revered B-City demi-Gods. But sadly, not one of them had either the magnetic appeal or the worldwide recognition like Michael did. If not for anything else, he will definitely be missed for being that one singular idol who, despite the variations of his life in the last decade, was always making news for all sorts of reasons. I am sure there are millions still out there who admired him and stood by him in times when he was accused of a dozen heinous crimes. Good, bad and ugly – Michael had seen them all.
There was a certain sense of being surreal that he always pulled off with aplomb. A factor that inspired various dancing styles (like the moonwalk), a dozen flashy attires and even the crotch grabbing frenzy that became synonymous with being able to dance like him. Our own local celebs like Prabhudeva and even Govinda for that matter were often compared, albeit quite unfairly, with Michael since that was the sort of benchmark he had created for himself. I say unfairly since I have always believed that any form of art is truly subjective. Each one has its own flair, its own charisma and its own worth. A fact that we Indians rarely acknowledge.
But then that is that. After half a century of what is easily one of the most eventful lives of our times, the King is dead. An era of what was possibly a historic time for music in humankind's existence, is now over. The man who was possibly the most favored piñata of the media who never missed a chance to bash him up till he was shivering with pain, is now going to be once again their feed for one last time. But all I hope now is that even in this untimely departure the King has taken, there is still some sense of respect that is given to his life and his achievements. One cannot weigh Michael against the scandals because rarely has there been a celeb who hasn’t been involved in anything outrageous. Heck, isn’t that why they are called that? But even so, I think its time to turn our backs to the stage, grab our groins and sweep back in the moon walk one last time saying ‘Michael, you will be missed you crazy freak.’
I am reminded of a popular joke we used to have in school that even after a nuclear holocaust the only two things that would survive would be a cockroach and Michael. I guess the roach won.
Rest in peace Mike.
One of my all time MJ favorites - JAM!