I was in Sajha Shout Box when the news broke. Megalomaniac (hey, Mega!) said, â€œMichael Jackson died.â€ At first, I thought he was only joking, so I ignored his comment. Then he provided the link to the news, which I opened pretty rapidly. After I confirmed the news, my initial reaction was, â€œMaros! I donâ€™t give a shit about him anyway!â€ I think it was SONA 1 (hey, SONA 'baini'!) who commented, â€œPoonte â€˜daiâ€™, donâ€™t be so mean!â€
Huna pani hoâ€¦Michael Jacksonâ€™s recent distasteful eccentricity, and the numerous scandals he became infamous for, or, perhaps, just the fact that I am getting a little too old for his kind of music, provided me with ample reasons to care less about Michael Jackson, dead or alive. Even my wife, when she came to know of the news from me, was glued to the TV for more news. I was like, â€œWhat the heck? Whatâ€™s the big deal?,â€ and busied myself with something else in the other room.
I really thought I didnâ€™t careâ€¦until I was bombarded with the news of his death, and his songs, on NPR, BBC, and a number of my other favorite radio channels all day at work. Then the emotions slowly started to creep in. I think it was the tune of â€œBillie Jeanâ€ that started it allâ€¦Oh! The days of yore! The memories!
I was in high school, in my prime teens, when Michael Jackson became a phenomenon in entertainment. Thriller was released. The world was ghastly mesmerized by his moon walk. â€œKaale ko bachaa le ni garnu garera dekhaauna laayo,â€ even my dad would be â€œwowedâ€, though perhaps with a hidden wish of â€œmero chhoro chai yesto "punk" nabanos!â€
He couldnâ€™t have helped it.
One would not have been â€œcoolâ€ in those days if one didnâ€™t know who Michael Jackson was, or if one didnâ€™t want a red leather jacket like his, or his finger-cut gloves, or at least did not try his moon walk. Leniency towards acting even remotely like a â€œpunkâ€ was unheard of in my house, so I had to satisfy myself with a pair of gloves that I wore once ensured that I had left the house invisibly behind me every time I went out.
Iâ€™d hook up with the guys. Try, Try, and try harder the moon walk. Break dance, anyone? I could never even dream of doing a head spin, but I did try the â€œwind millâ€ numerous times. â€œSaalle! Michael Jackson ko new video heris? Kyaa harip foot work chha yaar!,â€ would be the talk of the â€œgangâ€. Yes, the video of Michaelâ€™s stage performance of Billie Jean would then be my secret prized possession. Iâ€™d watch it over again and again and try to imitate the foot work equally hard whenever I got the opportunity, i.e., when the parents were not home. â€œKhub ke ke na garumlaa bhaneko Michael Jackson le jasto? Eeeeeeeeees sapanaa maa!,â€ dijju and bahini would tease me relentlessly.
Then there were the girls to impress, especially at an age when one certainly would walk that extra silly mile to grab the attention of the opposite sex. â€œShe said I am the one!,â€ in a high pitch, would inadvertently be released from the vocal chord whenever one came across a group of girls waiting for the school bus, with seemingly trying to â€œbreakâ€ the hands and create a â€œwaveâ€. I even offered a poster of sober-looking Michael Jackson, sitting on a stool, as a gift to my sweetheart then, signed, â€œI love you! â€“Poonte,â€ just below Michaelâ€™s signature at the bottom right corner. Girls were as crazy about the man as the boys were, perhaps even more. And one would have had to do anything to make them go crazy over him instead.
â€œEat it! Eat it!!!,â€ weâ€™d yell at lunch time, to the tune ot â€œBeat it!,â€ even before whoever was it that came up with the song â€œEat it!â€ I think we should have sued him for a copy right violation! â€œMan in the Mirrorâ€ was my lipâ€™s routine everytime I â€œfullaawo-edâ€ my sukeko chhaati in front of the mirror. Michael Jacksonâ€™s duet with Lionel Ritchie, another sensation of the time, â€œThe Girls is Mine,â€ was, of course, a song to be lipped when another friend would hit on the same girl that one thought would be his. â€œWe Are the World,â€ as purposeful and as meaningful as it was soothing to the ears, was what I tried to teach little children at a vacation camp for their parentsâ€™ day.
Oh! Who can forget those â€œautographsâ€? We used to call them â€œTCâ€s (the meaning of which I still donâ€™t know!). They used to be fat â€œkaapiesâ€ turned into autograph books for friends. Almost everyoneâ€™s TC would have Michael Jacksonâ€™s picture cut and pasted (literally, in those days!) from various magazines onto the pages of the TCs! Nattra ta keti harule TC nabharidelaa bhanne pir! One would be expected to paste oneâ€™s photo along with the message in those TCs. Side comments from the girls would be â€œMichael bhandaa handsommmmeeeee! Waaahhhh!â€ or â€œChyaaaaâ€¦timi bhandaa ta Michael nai handsome!â€. Or the guys would paste Michaelâ€™s picture claiming â€œThis is meâ€ or write â€œMichael jastai laagyo?â€ besides their own.
Michael Jackson is gone now. I literally wept today, perhaps more due to personal nostalgia than with any feelings for the dead man. Nevertheless, despite all the controversies and reasons aplenty not to care about him, I realized Michael was certainly an epic that made a tremendous contribution to the lives of my generation in particular. He was a socio-cultural phenomenon. I cannot deny that.
Michael, rest in peace!
PS: Also, â€œChheeâ€, Yubae, Maamaa, Juli, Chhedup, Ranae, Dahree, Kumbheâ€¦and, of course, Binita, Poonam, Samjhana, Kishori, Anupama, Tajâ€¦..wherever you guys maybe now, and whatever you might be upto, I am thinking of you todayâ€¦..same goes to Sangeeta and Sushmaa too, whose souls are already resting in peace. I love you guys!
The world was ghastly mesmerized by his moon walk. â€œKaale ko bachaa le ni garnu garera dekhaauna laayo,â€ even my dad would be â€œwowedâ€, though perhaps with a hidden wish of â€œmero chhoro chai yesto "punk" nabanos!â€
LOL, this is a good one. Nice writing keep it up!!!
Hey Poonte, I feel you man. When I heard of his death all those memories of childhood came flooding back to me and I couldn't control my tears. I was about 11-12 when I first heard his song "beat it" and I was hooked on it. My friend had even bought that red jacket with 28 zipper on it. It felt like I had known him most of my life. I remember when Michael Jackson's "Thrillers" would come on MTV my brother and I would drop everything we were doing and run to the TV. I remember us watching when Thriller won 8 Grammies we were so wowed. And who can forget his white sparkly gloves and his shocks showing below his pants. And I do remember we practiced the moonwalk and I even keep practicing and practicing until I finally mastered the way that girl walks when she comes out of the movie theater on the Thriller video. He was so shy and soft spoken and he had such a wonderful smile. Whatever he did later in his life doesn't really compare to all the great things he did. I will always cherish the wonderful memories of Michael Jackson, his wonderful music that brought the whole world together.
Awesome writing and could feel all the nostalgia coming back to me too through your experiences which was expressed beautifully...
However.... even til now since i heard the news, i haven't swayed in emotion at all... is it because it hasn't sunk in or that my basic attitude is, "well, we all live and we all die" ...? I hear many people like yourselves here shedding some tears for him and such... but for me, i'm waiting to feel some kind of sadness in me or change in emotion.....let's see...
Poonte, awesome nostalgic memories (learning the moon-walk, slides, etc.)...And MJ's "pire pire" chant back in the 80s, which later in life I'd realize was actually "Beat it, Beat it". Fond memories...He truly was the best ever.
BTW, am enamored with MJ's "Heal the World"...Human Frailty at its best on the part of us all: Only in Death do us mortals finally end up giving a genius the respect that he/she truly deserves. RIP MJ. After Lennon, this has to be the only moment when time stood solemnly still: The Day the Music Truly Died.
Regarding Michale Jackson's "Beat it! Beat it!", I have my own personal story. It was around early 90's that I was blasting this song on the only stereo we had when my dad came to the room screaming â€œKya geet yesto. Banda gari hal. Birey! Birey! Po bhanchaâ€ remembering the famous chant during 90â€™s revolution â€œBirey desh chod! Birey murdabad!â€.
Scene #1: The old buspark in Ratna park. A 16 yr old in tattered jeans and a dirty t-shirt does a little hip jerk, a little robotic move with his arms and a spin around--makes a little old lady sipping tea at a chiya pasal nearby remark 'achel ka thita haru, afulai My-kull -Jyak-sonn nai bhan thanchhan.
Scene #2: A high school cultural event. Thousands of students jam packed into a tiny, smelly hall. A buzz going around the student circles, creating a feverish anticipation--- Anish aka "jackson" will be finally showing the whole school his break dancing skills-- something that had been so far oberved only by his class mates on "guru puja".
Scene#3: A very busy Ason on the days leading up to Bhai Tika. Faces lost in the crown amongst all the commotion and the bustle. One person that was able to stick out and get noticed by everyone, young and old. A dark complexioned teenager who had gone to extreme lengths to look like someone he apparently was influenced by. There was no mistaking the curly locks, the skin tight dark outfits with white gloves, the ankle high pants and white socks, and the sunglasses.
Scene#4: Dinner time for all travellers in Mugling. Everyone enjoying the Dal bhat tarkari and possibly some adult beverages before gearing up for the rest of the trip to their destinations. The din of men and women and children temporarily silenced by the intro music to a song that most were unexpecting at a place like this, but knew very well. "ta ra ra ra ra, ta ra ra .. ra....,ta ra ra ra ra, ta ra ra ra...ra.
Scene #5: The name of a popular looking hair cutting place in Lahan with a life size picture of the person who it was named after ----" Mykal Jyackson super fancy saloon".
All these posts made me Nostalgic. I am one of the great MJ fan. Lately I stopped listing to him.
I first listened to Michael was when my cousins brought some VHS of Michael's video when they return from US in '87. I was about 9 years old. Since then me and my cousins fancied MJ, sang his song, copied his moves and his dance. As we grow older we collected all those albums and his videos. I remember we had an account with Mon-Ami, and A-One Video in New Road, where we can find those videos. I don't remember any MTV being aired in Nepal that time. Because of the influence we used to perform in every occasions and family gatherings. I even performed in my school. Funny coz I don't know how to dance now.
I remeber a guy in our neighbourood looks exactly like him (when he was black), he even had his hair done same like MJ, wore leather pants and jacket same one like in "BAD" album cover.
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