India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Growing up with the ‘Moonwalker’


It was the late 80s and I was in school, contemptuous of rules and looking for a cause to rebel against parental interference. I was too young to run away and wise enough not to push it so as to end up without dinner.

I was itching for an icon, a just cause to let out my angst, when I saw him for the first time on our black and white television one night.

I could have sworn Michael Jackson was looking straight at me and I stared right back, unabashed, mesmerized. “He knows,” I remember thinking.

Back then we had no cable connection and only a single channel — the government-run Doordarshan — that like a venerable grandfather took our education in its hands, combining crop rotation with calculus and regional films with Indian classical music.