June 26, 2009

The Gloved One

“In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.” - Michael Jackson

This is the first time since I started writing that I am at an actual loss of words, but I can’t not write today. You can't blame me, because my day was one of the worst I've had in months now. Just last night, I had a conversation about Michael Jackson with my mother, and we were reminiscing. I listened to 'Smooth Criminal' and fell asleep with a smile on my face, not knowing he was going to pass in a couple of hours. I woke up to three texts telling me he was no more. I was totally numb while I brought out a to-do list I've made since I learnt how to write and scratched off 'Watch MJ live in concert' off it. That is when it hit me. So, I seek your apologies even before you start reading, if this sounds like rubbish, randomness, rambling or venting out.

My mother was a complete music lover. She bought me my first ever English music CD when I was about 7 years old. Since then, retro music has been the biggest part of my life. Back then when Spice Girls was the ultimate rage, no one understood my love for Billy Joel, Queen and George Michael. At that age, I didn’t expect anyone to.

One morning before going to school, my mother was watching the television while I got dressed and this song was playing. I fell in love with the beat, the voice, the dance... everything. Billie Jean. I saw pavement tiles light up, and it amused me. I asked my mother who the singer was; she told me it was one of the Jackson brothers. As a kid I remember thinking he has magic feet, because whenever he stepped on a floor tile in the video, it lit up. I thought he must be a god of a dancer to be able to light up tiles with his moonwalking. It made me think I wouldn't be a good dancer till I lit up tiles of my own :). That day in 1994, was when I got to know of him. I’ve been an ardent fan & worshipper since then.

I still remember the day I got my first computer. It was in 1996, back when Windows ’95 was ‘the shit’. I was so excited to boot it up. Windows ’95 media player came with this demo video. It had Michael Jackson standing on the crown of Miss Liberty singing ‘Black or White’. As usual, the beats got me. This guy was the same guy I saw in the Billie Jean video, but he looked... uhh white. I instantly fell in love with the lyrics, because it’s one of the issues I feel SO strongly about. This guy made sense. Let me tell you, if you can make ‘sense’ to a 9 year old, make her think about racism and how colour doesn’t matter, you’re a hero.

That very year, he announced his tour dates. India was on schedule. I was the most excited, but did I go watch him? A 9 year old at a concert outside the city is unheard of.

After the early 90’s, he disappeared from the music scene, and I was too busy growing up to really miss his music, to tell you the truth. Teenage years had set upon me, and well, the rap & hip hop phase was to be entered. Oh come on, don’t roll your eyes. Everyone goes through it before realising what utter rubbish it is. I had almost forgotten the sound of Jackson, ALMOST, but on October 30, 2001, I went out and bought myself the newest album, ‘Invincible’. I couldn’t believe he was back. After six long years, his voice floated in my bedroom and it was heaven. Eminem who?

As I got older, I was well aware of the scandals. But, that just never cancelled out the greatness that was him. I watched every interview, every documentary, and I’m one of those souls who refuses to believe anything except the fact that he is the most misunderstood person on the planet. His voice and his dancing is legendary. Hence, he is ALLOWED.

I quote, “And my goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive: the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance. He sure as hell did.

Every event, special moment or incident in my life, is related to an MJ track. Every time a song plays, it takes me back to that respective place, that time, that feeling, that moment, that magic. It truly teleports me, to happy places.

I have just realised how much he really was a part of my day. His songs were an everyday ritual, and hence, I took them for granted. I have seen a lot of family and friends pass away, and I'm not the kind who cries easily. The fact that I cannot stop today, makes me halt and think about how subconciously I did get really affected by his existance. It shocks me.

From being a girl of 9 years, who cried for a week because she was too little to go watch Michael Jackson perform live in India, to a girl of 12 who started practicing her moonwalk and perfected it by 13. From a girl of 18, who while creating her facebook account did not pause before entering ‘Michael Jackson’ in the field ‘Political View’, I transitioned to a girl who was all ready to finally make her dream come true this year and watch his magic come alive. Now, I’m a girl who knows but refuses to believe she’ll never get to see the original moonwalk, the signature gloves, the majestic black hat, the etiquette defying white socks with the black trousers, and hear the spiritual voice floating in a concert arena, ever.

I don't think he’s gone. Nope. He can’t be. Legends don’t die. They JUST DON'T!!