Thursday, July 9, 2009

God's gift to the world !

I was just wondering about the things about which we feel ourselves being extremely lucky to have been able to experience during our lifetimes. Things which we consider as God’s gift to us. Well, such things would surely differ from person to person. Although there are things which may be common to some people. Also, there may be some those are common to a whole country. But is there something that’s common to all of the human race, (well,…. almost) across borders and continents.

A simple answer would be music. Of course, music is not limited to certain parts or people. But, it connects people across the world.

And no one did that better than a certain Michael Jackson.

I wonder if there has been someone more popular than him around the world ever. Ok, at times for the wrong reasons rather than the right ones. But yes, he was ‘well known’. And so was his music. (well, you surely can’t have unbelievably huge crowds all around the world for concerts just for nothing !)

Wikipedia describes him as a recording artist, entertainer and businessman. (not as a singer/musician/dancer strangely) And an entertainer he was. In the truest sense. I wouldn’t consider him as a successful businessman though, having been in no less than about 500 million dollars in debt (if you would consider money as the basis for his business)

I first came to know about his existence sometime back in 1986-87. It was an audio cassette titled ‘Thriller’ that was presented to me by my friend Akshay on my birthday. I was rather fascinated by the image of the slim young man holding a cub that was on the cover of that ‘Billboard’ cassette.

And strangely, that gift coincided with my getting my first ‘walkman’. It was as if, destiny had planned well to introduce me to something that would be with me for ever. And for the next few months, I would listen to the cassette at least twice daily (the ‘Thriller’ track more than five times every day).

In the next summer, after a hard day’s cricket (we were in the middle of our summer holidays, of course) Akki suggested we watch the ‘Making of Thriller’ on tv (those were the days of the video cassettes) as he had rented the same from a library.

And I was mesmerized…. To put it lightly.

There was something…. something special in the way he presented the dance (if it was really a sort of dance) that I was hooked. And I hadn’t even seen any of his other videos. So, when he came out with ‘Black or white’, I would never lose a chance to catch it on tv.

Once again in 1995, I was presented his ‘Dangerous’ on an audio cassette (on my birthday as usual) and as expected, I couldn’t stop listening to it.

And then began all those controversies about him which would be obvious for any celebrity even of a level much less than his stature. But I didn’t get to hear or know much about all those except from the newspapers mainly because I had myself busy in rather important decisions of my life but also because I didn’t care.

As I found on the internet, “Jackson donated and raised more than 300 million dollars for beneficial causes through his Heal the World Foundation, charity singles, and support of 39 charities.” Making a sort of record in itself too. But even in his music, he had messages for everyone. ‘Black or white’, ‘Heal the world’ and the ‘Earth song’ were a few to mention. In fact, the ‘Earth song’ is considered to be an anthem rather than just a song. No wonder people were after his life.

He changed a lot in appearance. In fact, he had completely changed from those times of ‘Thriller’ and ‘Billie Jean’, but still, was special.

And suddenly, we heard of his passing away. I didn’t know how to react to it. So, I decided not to. But I was tempted to type in his name on ‘Youtube’ to check what I get. I had barely typed M, and I when it showed up results related to MJ. Maybe because of the increased traffic searching for videos about him since his death. There were some of his music videos, his interviews, personal compilations and some from his concerts around the world.

As I started watching one video after another, I realized why he was so special. Here is one such excerpt from his 30th Anniversary concert in New York in 2001.

And I watched on. From Munich, to Bucharest, to Kuala Lumpur, to Mumbai, to London, to the magnificent ‘Superbowl’….

Yesterday, I was showing my friend some of MJ’s music videos that have been in my collection since the time I had started downloading from the internet. And as expected, he reacted in just the way someone who hadn’t seen MJ perform before would. So, before long, he was wishing if he could see more. And so, I shared some of the amazing videos I had ‘favourited’ on ‘Youtube’.

As far as I gather from whatever I have seen and known of him, he was humble. Not full of that typical arrogance those so called famous artists carry. Tell me, which performer would allow his fans to come on stage and hug him right in the middle of the show. I doubt if any of them would risk it. But MJ did. And was always graceful.

We were soon onto a discussion about whether he was really special after watching seas of fanatical fans in each of his concerts (my friend hadn’t seen people crying and getting unconscious, being taken away on stretchers right in the middle of the songs too). So, we decided to check on the concerts of some of the other famous artists for the sake of comparison.

I wouldn’t name the other artists on whom we checked as people might have different preferences. But our instant reaction after watching those was…. Its not the same. 'Dry' was the word we both used in comparison to those by MJ. I can’t and wont say that he was a better singer, or dancer than other famous artists, or that his music was better, but surely he was the best entertainer. The best ever.

But still, there was a sense of loneliness about him. You could feel it if you ever followed him and his life. But he always smiled (at least that’s how I always saw him). I don’t know what people may think about him. Maybe I don’t even care. But for me, he provided the magic which would take me into some other world (even if for those few minutes) away from all the thoughts troubling my mind. And maybe that’s what he did for people around the world.

As for now, I’m obsessed with ‘Blood on the dance floor’ and ‘You rock my world’ which I have been watching regularly at least five times daily for the past week or so. And I will remain so till some other of his videos/songs catch me. They keep changing time after time. But, for me, Michael Jackson was and will always be God’s gift to the world…. always !

1 comment:

  1. bro...u wrote this in 2009 and now in 2011, you found a like-minded person...i boast with everyone i meet abt my fan-following towards this may check-



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