Thursday, June 25, 2009

The One and Only - remembering Michael from India to New York

Of course, it's all about Michael Jackson today. Like him, love him, hate him couldn't ignore him. In the remote army cantonments where my Dad was posted in India, Michael was my first connection to American pop culture. We laughed nervously at his weird appearance but still put up posters in our bedroom and couldn't stop tapping and dancing to "Beat It". Boys in school walked around with the fingers cut off from the wool gloves their moms lovingly knot for them. I know Puneet permed his hair (he's going to kill me for this) and although he might not admit it, I definitely see the Jacko influence there. MJ came to India throwing the teens and parents of India into passionate frenzies - on opposing ends of the passion spectrum, but still. You couldn't just ignore it. I of course, could not even dream of going. But Puneet did and his Dad refused and prevailed. Oneof the first songs I remember watching when MTV came to India was Black or White. I loved the montage at the end - it was the height of artistic philosophy for me at that time.

In 2001, we finally got to attend a MJ concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. Puneet's cousin called and left us a mysterious message "I have good news. Call Me!" We speculated he had gotten engaged - but the news was better, much better. We had tickets to the sold out Michael Jackson concert. We had the worst seats in the hall - right BEHIND the stage where Michael was performing Eventually, we did make our way to the better areas and ended up having an AMAZING, UNFORGETTABLE night.
The next day, we planned to go to work and gloat in the fact that we were there - at Madison Square Garden in front of all colleagues, friends - anyone who would listen. our plans were thwarted - the next day was Sept 11, 2001.

Whatever else may have happened, Michael created some great music and for those of us that grew up on that music, this is a sad day.

Tributes and pictures are everywhere - I thought this slide show detailing Michael's life in People covers is interesting,,20213399_20356285,00.html essay - When Michael was cool

Also on Salon is the catalog of celeb tweets in response to the news of Michael's passing.

Rest in Peace..Michael.

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