Learning digital security as a “non-techie”

A wooden duster came flying at 11-year-old me. I had misspelled my Venn diagram as “when diagram”, and the math teacher was teaching me an important lesson. Although not officially a part of the syllabus, my place within the classroom was clear. I was, as she called me, a pedhi. The front row benches belonged to the “toppers”, and I was already ashamed to open my lunch box.

Filled with neurotypical upper-caste teachers in authority, the school was a microcosm of the world outside. But there was an old Dell desktop there. We all took turns to use it. It ran on a pirated version of the Windows XP operating system. Once a week, our computer teacher told us to make dummy entries into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. We also copied content from our textbooks to create slideshows for our science teacher. And, on a lucky day, we even got to make the "Thank you" slide at the end that would swirl and disappear.

Orkut scraps, Winamp Media Player, public exam results loading slowly, and an ugly dick pic. The computer, to my 16-year-old self, was a portal. Eventually, I learned. To receive "scraps" and send more out. For a seamless listening experience, hit "loop" (on the latest Backstreet Boys' song). For exam results and dick pics look away, breathe, and click the red "x" on the top left corner of the screen before paying twenty rupees and leaving the cyber cafe.

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