Michael Jackson, The Man in the Mirror and what he meant for me!

I first came to know about Michael Jackson when I was 10. A school friend of mine was a great, more so like a die-hard fan of MJ, who shared with me one of the most hit songs of his; ‘Smooth Criminal’ as he always tried to convince me about how MJ is and will remain the greatest of all the entertainers in the world.

That friend of mine, well…he danced and sang like MJ… I guess he still does, but back in those days, his obsession for MJ was at peak but at the same time it was very secretive and was shared with a very few of his friends and family, and yes of course I was one of those, who were very much allowed to enter into that space as we used to gossip about a lot of other related stuff as well.

At that time I was learning Indian Classical Music, so the world of music wasn’t too far away from me and he used to share some other tastes in music, but those always revolved around the American Pop culture and MJ. This was all around the year 2008.

In 2009, when MJ announced his last concert in London, this friend of mine came to me and told me about this wonderful thing that MJ is going to perform the biggest Live Show ever in the history of mankind, and yes he was true in that sense, if it somehow would have happened, then I guess it would have been the greatest of all the concerts as the ‘King of Pop’ was now gonna return back after almost a decade or so. He used to tell me some bits and pieces of MJ’s career and always used to boast about his popularity and how, in his concerts, they used to have a few ambulances ready to pick up the girls and guys who used to faint and cry and scream, whenever MJ used to perform, and indeed he was a 100% true. Michael wasn’t just some singer, artist or a public figure but he was something else, you can call it an emotion or an obsession or a phenomenon which got stuck so badly in all those hearts that some sudden ‘magical’ incident has just taken place.

I never saw any of MJ’s videos back then but just listened to a few of his very popular songs like ‘Smooth Criminal’, which that friend of mine somehow convinced me to hear and obviously ‘Billie Jean’ because of his ‘moonwalk’ and that ‘Aaou’, of his, at least in India, where for many, Michael Jackson was just that ‘Aaou’ and the ‘Moonwalk’. But much later did I come to know that he was really something more than his ‘Moonwalk’; he was actually that energy which created a shock-wave throughout the world and literally touched billions of hearts that too without the internet!

To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed at that time as a kid as much as that friend of mine was about MJ, as I was busy in my sports and cartoon movies and TV shows. MJ had been gone for almost a decade so really never had a reason to watch his songs, neither live nor on TV. Obviously his music was still there but the culture was slowly fading away, at least in the east.

I remember a few glimpses of that day in the year 2009, cause I was at my grandpa’s house. He and I used to play a ‘quick game’ of chess while having tea early in the morning, then suddenly he asked me with his soft voice that, “Do you know who Michael Jackson is?”, I replied, “Yes, like, not completely, but yes one of my best friend is a big fan of this guy”, Grandpa handed me a Marathi newspaper (Our state language) as I used to practice it with him, I read out loud the front page ‘bold headline’ and was shocked, as ‘The King of Pop’ was no more. I felt worse when I thought of my friend and kept on thinking about him. I felt really bad and sorry at the same time. Later on, when I met him, he seemed a little sad, but as a child, that unfortunate incident didn’t stick for too long and we all moved on.

Fast forward to the year 2015, I had learned quite a lot of classical music and used to listen to some amazing Bollywood (Indian film Industry) and English songs. I used to perform a bit here and there as well. But after the school days, there was no MJ in my list of ‘the top’, as that friend of mine moved to some other country because of his father’s business, and thus again, no reason to celebrate the MJ occurrence.

Again, fast forward to 2017, I was walking in a local library and find out a book on ‘Michael Jackson’ by the name ‘Moonwalker’ and suddenly all those memories about me and my friend flashed in front of me for a few seconds which made me realize that I really know nothing about Michael Jackson. My always curious mind quickly scrolled through a few questions such as, ‘Why Michael Jackson? and What was he for the world? Without any further doubts, I picked up that book, fortunately this time it was in English, and started to read. As I finished, like any child in the ‘Google’ era, I started to surf about him and his songs on YouTube and saw and listened to almost all of his albums within a few days of time. Now I finally realized that how music has really changed and taken a dip after his death.

My favourites now got filled with songs like ‘We are The World’, ‘Heal The World, ‘Man in the Mirror, ‘Earth Song’, ‘Black or White’, ‘Thriller’, ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Smooth Criminal’, all suddenly and very quickly got stuck in my mind. I researched a lot about him, saw his interviews, his videos, listened to his music, read articles and books on him and came to know how unfortunate incidents happened in his life all because of the monsters that surrounded him, greedy for power and money. We saw him as a powerhouse on stage and in the videos, but in actuality, he was a very shy, selfless and soft spoken person who used to always respect each and every fan of his. I really don’t want to dig into that part of his world and want to maintain the purity of his intentions, soul and the ultimate music he has given to the world.

I am really fortunate that I could be a part of an era in which such a legend was in, all because of his songs and eventually understood that, every song of his has some deep meaning within, which we all can connect with the present scenario around us, and that, how humans have really lost its humanity over the time. Just a message to ‘Heal The World’.

“R.I.P, Michael Joseph Jackson”

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