RIP Michael Jackson
I hadn't heard his music before. I heard of this guy MJ all right but for a 16 year old back in 1989, 200 bucks were a lot of money. To this day I don't know why I said "Yes!" to that store guy. I am glad I did.
I played Thriller endlessly on our Dyanora-National '2-in-1' Cassette player. Before long I had Bad too in the collection. My neighbours, who thought I was this nice kid that knew his manners, were in for a shock. They enquired about those strange, loud noises that exploded from my room. It was me practicing the MJ hiccup. Or the squeal. My mom proudly proclaimed to her friends "Vaadu Ingleesh paatalu paaduthunnadandi!" (He is singing English songs). The next thing I did shocked the shit out of everyone. I put some FEM facial bleach on my side locks and hey presto! I had light brown side locks. I cut my hair and ensured that one strand of it fell on my forehead. The strand became brown but refused to curl up despite hours of trying it.
I know that all kids go through this. But to do something like that in Chittoor back then was true rebellion. There was no real TV. There were no top 20 countdowns on the radio. There was no Internet. Heck, if you had a phone, you were considered a rich man!
I am sure most of the people thought I was a clown. They were right. I wanted suspenders, I think because I saw an MJ's picture in which he wore suspenders. Now, forget suspenders, Chittoor was getting used to trousers only then. I was way ahead of time. So I decided to make my own suspenders. I bought two thick strips of elastic and had my tailor stitch it to my new chocolate brown baggy trousers. Believe me when I say this: I wore those custom made suspenders and tried hitting on girls. In retrospect, it explains why I never got any.
I felt sad when I watched Chiranjeevi (I am a big fan!) dance for 'Kashmora kaugilisthey...' in Dhonga. It was a poor imitation of the legendary Thriller. When I whispered to my friend sitting next to me in the movie hall "That's a copy of..." He interjected "Impossible. Chiru doesn't tolerate copying." I mumbled "Right!" and realised that I was seeing, listening to, and understanding things that the average lower middle class Chittoor kid would never imagine existed. That's when I decided "I need to get out of this town." And I did. No no, not that I don't love that town... just that I knew that I had to get out and see other places. Bigger places.
MJ has provided 'inspiration' to quite a few movie music composers in India. I know composers that made a career out of Dangerous alone. One of the reviews of Dangerous said "...bound to provide content for the Indian movie music for years to come." And, you know that is the truth. Before long MJ was a house hold name. I can't think of any 'western' musician that achieved the same distinction. Of course, when Prabhudeva was given the dubious title 'MJ of India' I laughed.
I think MJ is the only western musician my grand ma tolerated. I think she actually liked his music though she doesn't understand a word of what he sings. I am quite sure my granny is sad today. So am I. I know I'll forget this day and move on to grapple with vicissitudes of life. But I want to pause and pay a little to tribute to dear MJ. Thank you for the music MJ. Rest in peace.del.icio.us| Digg| Reddit| StumbleUpon| Technorati