I wrote this post on 6th May 2010...it was my first year in Mumbai on my return from Melbourne, a time when everyone was still learning to live in a post-MJ world.
It is interesting to note how we think that legends and icons live forever. Overwhelmed by their mighty and purposeful existence, we tend to place them on so high a pedestal that we forget there is no mortal the good ol' Mr.Grim Reaper will not hunt down. Michael Jackson was the undisputed living legend and a world without his music and moonwalk seemed unimaginable. Millions of people have grown up emulating his singing, dancing and dressing style, barring one individual - Me. The universal fascination with the 'Silver-gloved Man' always eluded me. My exposure to and comprehension of the 'Jackson phenomenon' was limited and deprived. However, when someone scales popularity peaks higher than the Andes, one way or the other we are bound to cross paths with his great expeditions. Likewise, by virtue of being surrounded with Jackson fans, I was compelled to hear his songs and watch some music videos.
I confess, what the rest of the world hailed as 'music', I deemed it as 'noise'. Sheer noise. Allow me to share why. His songs - most of which bizarrely contain the sound of shattering glass - are just too deafening for my liking. Only if I concentrated hard enough on the song, would I finally comprehend the lyrics MJ was singing. To add to that, his voice always made me second guess if it was really him singing or in fact a woman. MJ's face changed colors and shapes that baffled my understanding of nature. Moreover, tales of his eccentric personality and lifestyle reinforced my belief that it is imperative to attain certain craziness levels in order to become an unparalleled and successful artist. As you can see, the King of Pop never impressed me.
With the spectacular reaction of my housemate to the news of MJ's death, I too felt a magnetic pull towards this ripple-generating occurence. So, famished as I became for more Jackson news, I made a wise switch from Facebook to the infamous 'idiot box'. Luckily for me that day, the local Australian news channel was in a mood to report stories more deserving than the sad demise of Shelly The Sheep at the Melbourne zoo. On TV with the dismal and near-cracking voice of the news anchor in the background, images of the dead Michael Jackson were being unforgivingly flashed. Striking details were emerging of how he died, where he died, when he died and even what he ate before he died. Faster than lightning, channels competed in churning out numerous 'exclusive' Michael Jackson documentaries and one-hour (even bumper two-hour) specials - each one promising more drama than the other. CNN apparently turned into a 24/7 MJ channel with stories from the troubled Iraqi region gladly taking a backseat. With bated breath, millions of fans were watching, people (like myself) who had never cared for MJ were watching, the aged couple living next door to me were watching, their pet kitten was watching, even the fly on my window was watching! Further heightening the sensationalism were conspiracy theorists who stated that MJ was actually alive and in hiding. While some fans chose to commit suicide, other gullible fans continued living in hope that pictures of the dead Michael Jackson might have been forged. But what really took the cake was a video that emerged proudly boasting the presence of Michael's visible ghost gallivanting around his Neverland mansion! Now really, how could I have missed all that drama!
Not surprisingly, my short-lived MJ fixation turned into a long relentless MJ obsession. I found myself pining to catch the latest that every TV channel, radio station or internet website had to offer on the deceased pop star. The number of MJ songs on my iPod catapulted overnight from 2 to 22. Blessed as I was with unlimited download, I would watch every MJ video uploaded on YouTube. Perhaps it was I that largely contributed to the many hits his videos received since he passed away. After intensive and extensive Googling, I even managed to find and read the online version of his 1988 autobiography 'Moonwalk'! At last, I was Jacksonified. Suddenly his 'noise' turned into 'music', the 'loud beats' turned into 'sweet melody', his face turned from 'damaged' to 'beautiful' and his voice turned from ‘puzzling’ to 'entrancing'. I was captivated! I discovered the genius that everyone had been harping on about all along. Sometimes, with much remorse, I repeatedly ponder over how I used to be so indifferent to the artist when he was alive. Indeed, you only truly realize the worth of someone once they are gone.
By now, countless articles have been written and infinite documentaries created in tribute to the popstar. For me though, the real tribute was 'This Is It', the movie; I watched it twice in the cinema and both times, I sat mesmerized by the man in all his brilliance, doing what he did best - entertain. Who knows in a studio somewhere, Kenny Ortega may secretly be editing the sequel, which if I could, I would name, 'That was not it -THIS IS IT'! And finally, who cares if you were 'Black or white', no one can 'Beat it' like you do...you are 'Invincible' Michael, and 'I just can't stop loving you'!