There are some things in life that you take for granted: oxygen, the Pyramids of Egypt and Michael Jackson.
Symbols of culture are meant to last forever, irrespective of the fact whether they are made of marble, stone or flesh and blood. They are compasses around which we function. A comfort to us through jokes and references. It's enough to know that they are there. It’s taken for granted that they’ll live forever, larger than life.
I remember the 4 year old me watching my older friends handling a precious copy of the 'Dangerous' album. I stared back at those famous eyes on the cover, wanting to be let into this seemingly prohibited adult world of pop music, wanting to be released from nursery rhymes. And soon enough, I was.
For 8 year old me, Michael Jackson was MTV and MTV was Michael Jackson. Sure, there was Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Puff Daddy (way before he changed into P.Diddy) etc. But there was no one BIGGER than the soft-spoken, twirling dervish with the fascinating music videos. He was not only the best dancer I had ever seen, or the singer of the relentlessly catchy songs but he was also THE definition of the music video.
It was not just the combination of phenomenal talent and charming personality. He was an assurance of the fact that something extraordinary existed beyond the uncomplicated beauty of movie stars or the pure and simple talent of other musicians. Michael Jackson pushed the boundaries of our senses, leaving us awestruck. That was true entertainment-where our questions were silenced and our senses surrendered.
We borrowed our icons from generations past. Elvis was far too gone for us to call him our own. Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Freddie Mercury far too ghost-like to be missed. Our idols were young and full of life, Michael Jackson being the embodiment of energy.
Our generation is one that took things for granted. We were convinced of our immortality-the generation of living in the moment, of Eminem's offensive lyrics and Paris Hilton's frivolity.
Now, we come face to face with our fragile humanness. The person who seemed to live forever, who seemed to live it all, has moved beyond his physical state.
His extraordinary life and aura make his existence seem almost mythical. The controversies and stories that surrounded him earned him reactions from ridicule and disgust to sympathy for the child-man who was most probably just misunderstood.
As the music channels flood us with images of the energetic young Michael dancing like there was no tomorrow or urging us to make a change, as fans across the globe shed tears and make shrines for the King of Pop, as music legends grieve and as music lovers vow to not mourn him but celebrate the existence of such an icon amongst us, one wishes that MJ would see the love that we have for him and know how much he meant to us, the generation whom he shaped.
Was he a child prodigy teaching us 'ABC', a teen dance icon who warned us against 'Billie Jean' or the King of Pop who was one of the few who successfully used music to 'Heal the world'? Whatever hat he donned, all we now have is the burning memory of a mythical legend who rocked our world in more ways than he ever imagined.