My dad got us a computer in 2061 and also an internet connection. Since that time, I have been fascinated by computers. I was in the first standard and for me, that computer was like magic. Typing on a keyboard to the screen, moving a mouse and making a cursor move; everything was magical about a computer. My dad even told that with enough practice one could type without looking down at the keyboard. I didn’t quite believe him. There was even a paint application(MS-Paint), I could draw houses, and do a few edits on our detailed 2 mega-pixel photos(they seemed very high-res).

Forty gigabytes of storage, 352 megabytes of RAM, and Windows 2000 professional edition installed; our computer was a beast. I can’t seem to recall the processor and didn’t even care about it then. Yahoo mail was at a boom at that time. I remember my dad video chatting with a friend abroad; I was shell shocked by that. We could literally see another person; not only talk to them. I used to search ‘Free Online Games’ and play mini games for hours. I remember one time I asked my dad, “Dad I also want to make a dot com.” I was referring to making a yahoo address. My dad used to say that I was too young for that stuff and that needed at least two people to be used. I still made them. Creating a username, password; that had a joy of its own.

About a year or two, I came across two games that made me love the computer world even more. They were GTA Vice City and Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire. Playing Vice City on my computer was a bit of a hassle. My computer’s graphics could not handle water. Every Time it rained or my car got into water; the computer just froze. I had to open the game, pray that the weather was not rainy and enter the clear weather cheat just in case. Even when I drove around the city, I had to make sure that I did not crash with any water hydrant on the way. As for Pokemon, it ran just fine. I used to play for hours getting lost into the Pokemon world; sometimes kicking with Blaziken’s fiery legs and sometimes flying with Swallow to the ends of Hoenn.

I got really connected to computers from that time. I think I was at fifth standard when I used to buy a whole lot of bootable CD’s and try each one of them on my computer just for the fun of it. Installing an operating system for the first time is still one of the most exciting and thrilling adventures that I’ve ever had. There was a constant fear that if something went wrong, I didn’t know what to do. If the other drives were formatted, I had to get an earful from my dad. Still, I used to enjoy that. After possibly many tries, I got the hang of it. Now, even neighbours would call me to install an OS on their computer. That gave a sense of power and happiness.

Now, I just used to play games. We used to go to CD-Shops(there were a lot of CD-Shops) and buy a whole lot of games. We used to copy all of them into our hard drives and then go again to those shops. “This CD doesn’t work sir”, we used to say and the shopkeeper used to let us take another CD of our choosing. For every CD we bought, we at least copied three games out of it. I farmed at harvest moon, raised almost all the pokemons from Ruby/Sapphire and Red, and kicked my opponents on Roadrash. Using cheats were really difficult. We didn’t know what was the source of the cheats but used to have discussions among friends about it, sharing cheat codes with each other. ‘A44AFB0B6808D662’ the rare candy cheat of Ruby I can’t seem to forget but learning that was very interesting. A senior of mine recited that cheat to me on the bus in the morning. I asked him to write it down for me but he wouldn’t give them to me for free. So, he made me bring him a few thing things(I don’t exactly remember what.. probably candies/chocolates and stuff) for the cheats. I brought him those things and then only he wrote that in my book. For that entire day at school, I stared at the cheat sometimes reciting it, reading it and even writing it a few times. Till afternoon, I had already memorized it. After the school was over, I hurriedly went home and the first thing I did was open my computer and entered that on the gameshark console of the game. It worked! I had access to rare-candies(they’re pretty rare in-game and make your pokemon grow up by a level). After a month or two, the game started to be dull so I stopped using cheats; well only on Pokemon games. Still, I used cheat codes on GTA Vice City, NFS2 and many others.

It wasn’t until years later, I got the thrill of programming. I think I was at class 8 and we had MS-Dos on our syllabus. MS-Dos opened a whole lot of opportunities for me. The most amazing thing was, “I could edit any file.” At that time, I didn’t know about executable files and source codes. I began to think, “What if I opened a game’s file, edited my character’s money and then again played the game?” I opened up my games and wrote all the stats/money in a paper. One by one I opened all the files of those games trying to match the numbers hoping I could edit them. None of those files even made sense. Most of them were pages of weird characters with only a few English letters in them. I couldn’t even understand them, let alone edit them and make money in my games.

I consider that as my first step into the programming world. The thought I had of changing a file. It wasn’t anything special and didn’t even work but it was something that had made me wonder,” Editing a file and seeing the changes appear somewhere else.”