13 June, 2021

Dial-Up Your Network Connectivity And Ping Me

The Cyber and the Indian sexual landscape. From lad mags to e-voyeurism, VHS to MMS scandals.

Illustration by Sorit
Dial-Up Your Network Connectivity And Ping Me

The measure of the alpha male in a Delhi boys school was not how many girlfriends he had, it was his access to copies of Playboy magazine. The popularity of one classmate hinged solely on the fact that his father had a coffee-table Illustrated Kamasutra. As for VHS videotapes, well, by the time they had finished providing every boy enough material, the hard plastic was sticky and the picture dispiritingly unintelligible.

The internet changed everything. I first accessed it in the mid-1990s when I was in Class XI. Yes, it cost Rs 15,000 for 500 hours of full-fledged Net time, even though it was through a screeching 28.8 kilobit per second connection. And yes, the pictures took forever to download. Still, at the click of a mouse, one could, if one was perseverant, access a whole new world of pornographic images. Access to the Net made me the alpha male; classmates came over to my home to, for lack of a more representative word, dick around.

The internet also changed the way Indians accessed and viewed pornography. Going to the rather seedy Palika...

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