June 29th, 2009
04:18 PM ET

Reflections on growing up with Michael Jackson

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/28/michael.jackson/art.jacko.gi.jpg caption="Singer Ne-Yo (L) and host Jamie Foxx pay tribute to Michael Jackson at 2009 BET Awards in Los Angeles."]
Mallika Chopra

It is with a sad heart today that I write this blog. My brother, Gotham Chopra, and my father, Deepak Chopra, have both written beautiful articles remembering our friend, Michael Jackson. I debated writing something or not, and in the end decided to write for my own healing process.

My brother and I had a magical childhood, and much of this was because of Michael. For us, Michael let us visit Neverland like it was our own – from movies to playing video games to bumper car rides to playing with the chimps to eating amazing chocolate chip cookies, we were able to take our cousins and friends to this magical place and just have pure fun. Eating meals with Michael in those days – almost 20 years ago now – was always an experience. He would start humming a tune and then excuse himself. When he came back, he would giggle with delight, explaining how music just came to him and he had to record it to save what came, he always said, came from some place else. Every moment we were with Michael, I would be utterly comfortable and utterly in awe at the same time.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Dawn

    Thanks for this article. Nice to hear the happy memories from those who loved him and knew him personally. Must have been hard for them to watch someone they love implode over the years and knowing they couldnt help him.

    June 30, 2009 at 8:25 am |
  2. Abby

    Love Michael's talent? Always. Question his reasoning? Sometimes.

    His life was obviously, always a struggle and few of us ever understood what formed the man he was at 50.

    The viewings I've experienced in the last 24 hours of his father's comments take me to another time, then snap me back to the now. The money making coverage of the questionable times in Michael's life are now focused on "why?". Michael's father is, obviously, a self-centered, pushy money grabber. It is obvious that Michael has always sought approval and probably mostly from his father. Certainly his father reaped fortunes from Michael's talent and wants to keep doing that at any cost.

    Michael is still being whipped, scorned and prodded. Any of us who participate in feeding his father's "new record company" are contributing to Joe's behavior with Michael, or suggesting that all talented children should be whipped, scorned and prodded to be what daddy wants, at daddy's price.

    It's time for Joe to go.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:31 am |
  3. Ileana Sosa

    I also grew up with MIchael Jackson, dancing and singing all of his songs, but after read all of your comments I feel that I love him even more and also I feel even more sad because he needed to know all the love that he created in our hearts, and now It's late lo let it know. But wherever you are Michael feel all the love that we feeling for you!!!

    June 30, 2009 at 4:23 am |
  4. Irene Allen Ft Wayne, In

    I grew up listening to all of Michael Jackson records. My girlfriends and i had our own dance group to the Thriller album. He was the best dancer i had ever saw. I wish he could of gave me dance lessen.

    "You would forever live in my heart"

    June 30, 2009 at 3:35 am |
  5. carrie

    I think Michael Jackson was and still is a wonderful person With a very big Heart.I Wish we had become friends.I love His Music and it will Live on I will remember the Good and his Kindness that he showed all over the world. I could care less Of he Owed Money or any thing else He brought a lot of happiest to me and I will only remember the Good he brought the World . I also Pray the Children His children go the Grandmother. We Love you and will not forget you.Carrie

    June 30, 2009 at 2:51 am |
  6. aimee, vancouver

    Thanks for this. Some of his true fans are just starting to grasp the world lived in. My heart breaks even more...knowing that he was constantly viewed and used by some as a ticket to riches.
    For those like you and Grace who knew and loved him, may God bless you for your loyalty, love and friendship. I never met Michael but I've been a huge fan for as long as i can remember and i feel that I've lost a small piece of my heart too...i can't image what it's like for those who were close to him.

    R.I.P. MJ


    June 30, 2009 at 2:04 am |
  7. Rachel

    Tonight my heart is aching over the loss of Michael, particularly for his children. I lost my mother 27 months ago and I am an adult in soo much pain over the loss that I know his babies are feeling...well I can't imagine. Thank you Mallika for sharing the side of Michael that we all wanted to believe in.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:04 am |
  8. Josefina Climes

    I grew up watching Michael Jackson.I am 54 years of age and i was looking foward to seeing his concert on tv until i heard of his death.He was my idle since i was a teenager.I was looking foward to hearing his new album.But now i will never be able to see the concert and i now i lost my favorite idle.To me you will always be the best entertainer that ever lived.Michael Jackson you will always be in my memories and my heart.R.I.P. Michael Jackson

    June 30, 2009 at 2:00 am |
  9. Gloria

    As Janet Jackson said last night on the BET Awards, to the Jackson's Michael was family. To the world, Michael was an icon. For you Mallika, Michael was a dear friend. Thank you for sharing insights into Michael's generous and caring spirit. In addition to his unparalleled talent, he truly was a remarkable human being. Thankfully, his spirit will live eternally through his music.


    June 29, 2009 at 6:56 pm |
  10. Sandra White

    Malikla, thank you for being a true friend to Michael and thank you for sharing the real Michael Jackson. I did not know him personally but I have seen a many of his concerts and enjoyed his music from the start. May God bless you and give you peace during this difficult time for all of us!

    Sandra White
    Milwaukee, WI

    June 29, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  11. Annie Kate

    Some interesting insights. Thanks for sharing. I would have never pictured Michael Jackson changing diapers.

    June 29, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  12. Susan

    Knowing there are probably so many wonderful stories yet to come makes the pain a bit easier to handle. I remember when my husband and I saw the "Jackson 5" in Las Vegas during the 70's they were all amazing I remember comenting on just how cute Michael was.
    We will all miss him in our own way and all those wonderful songs, videos the way he tranformed you into another world even for a few minutes. Then there was Thriller what can I say it was just amazing.
    I find myself humming his music a lot these days as I am sure a lot of us are doing.
    RIP Michael we all love you.

    June 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  13. wiserthanu

    The media is so desparate to put dirt on an angel' wings. Michael Jackson, in my belief, would NEVER hurt a child. He just had a super sensitive heart when it came to sharing his world with children, especially little boys. To the world at large, he was special as a little boy . He also lost his childhood while entertaining us. HOW could we not understand that he wanted to maximize any child's dream by allowing them access to the Neverland Ranch? Michael Jackson was an angel sent to help us view the world better and make it a safer place for us all. As we reminisce, let us reflect on ourselves and the mistakes we made while an angel was in our presence. It's surprising how many celebs will speak up for him now. I wish Mike could have sincerely known that we all loved him and believed his innocence.

    June 29, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  14. sunny

    Thank you for this beautiful tribute, I really appreciated reading it!

    June 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  15. Jeff Cole

    We grew up laughing, singing and performing to some of the Jackson 5 routines in the living room and kitchen of our childhood home, I still remember the dance moves as if it were yesterday... If I had purchased one of his European tour tickets..I would allow them to keep the money as a final farewell gift to my "KING OF POP" then I would frame the ticket and place it on the most favorite wall of my home to view forever!

    June 29, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  16. Phuoi Trinh

    Thank you, Mallika Chopra! You writing this article will hopefully put to rest some of speculation that everyone seems to think they knew of him. You knew him personal and worked with him closely, so you would be the one to lets us all know the man, that I thought he was. Thank you, you have helped me deal with my mourning. God Bless you!

    June 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  17. Joannie Aguayo

    Can we please get back to some real news? My son and others are risking and sacraficing their lives everyday in Afghanistan- that is worthy news!

    June 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  18. BettyAnn,Nacogdoches,TX

    P.S. Thank you for the lovely tribute to this gentle man

    June 29, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  19. BettyAnn,Nacogdoches,TX

    Hi Melika,
    I was a small child when I saw Michael appear on the black and white Andy William's Show. I remember it because I fell in love with the pop genius.
    I could not get enough. I bought every record with my allowance. I still have the 45's.
    I watched Michael grow and change and evolve into a mysteriously talented man, never dreaming he would be gone at 50.
    The fame comes with a price. I too believe that Michael's childhood was stressful and lost.
    He must have suffered a severe case of arrested development. My heart went out to the Peter Pan Man.
    I watched his life all the while his song and dance brought me such joy.
    I simply cannot believe as a fan that I haved watched Michael Jackson grow up, change pop culture, and die.
    It seems that some people are meant to create and not grow old.
    Such is the case with Michael. I know he has found peace at last.
    He left his mark forever~

    June 29, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  20. Cindy

    Thanks for sharing your story with us Mallika and for letting us see a different side of Michael that none of us got to be witness to. I bet no one imagined him changing diapers or really taking care of his kids for sure! That's interesting to know..and sad too since now he's gone and those three little kids are now all alone.

    On the whole sex abuse allegations I kind of thought that he was being set up too so that these people could get mega bucks from him. He just seemed like a kid in a grown ups body to me and that is why I assumed he liked being around children and didn't think he'd do anything to them like that.


    June 29, 2009 at 4:41 pm |