Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Robot Learns to Feel - II

A few months passed and one day Aniket came back home, sullen, tired and devastated. He was sacked. The enterprise software market was saturating. His company was loosing money. Someone at the top decided that downsizing was the solution. So thousands of programmers were sacked.

“We are sorry, but your services are no longer required. Best of luck with your future - Thank You.”

Riya, Aasma’s mother, tried to console Aniket. “You are a good programmer. You will find a new job soon.” She was right and she was wrong. Yes, Aniket was a good programmer but he didn’t get a new job. There were simply too many good programmers around and they all wanted jobs.

So time passed and then it was time for the last and final operation to be performed on Aasma. The doctor said, “After this you will be able to walk by yourself.”
“Will I be able to run doctor?” Ninkita Asked. “I want to run.”

The doctor gave one of the reassuring smiles they flash in such situations and said, “Yes dear but not immediately after the operation. But in a year or so, yes, you will be able to run.”

Aasma smiled. She was delighted. I never saw her that happy before. And somehow I felt I was never happier before. What was happening to me? I, a robot, could I become happy? At that moment it certainly felt so. All my logic told me that there was 100% probability that this was happiness!

Then I experienced what you humans call the destiny. According what I hear this destiny never lets you to be happy for a long time. If you are happy for a long time, then the happiness looses its meaning. So soon after the happiness the destiny brings you misery. And misery was exactly what the destiny had planned for me.

With Aniket jobless, there was no way the Patils could have afforded this operation, unless I was sold!

When Aniket and Riya told this to Aasma, she was angry. She was furious. She shouted and she cried.

“No. I won’t let Adi go. I want Adi. I have already lost one Adi before and I don’t want to loose this one. If you want to sell him for my operation, I don’t want to have that operation. I will sit in this wheel-chair forever but I won’t let Adi go. I don’t want to walk. I don’t want to run.”

The only way to put, what I felt then, in words is – I was moved. This kid till yesterday would have given her right hand just to be able to walk again. And now she was ready to let go her only chance to walk just to be with me. This is exactly why we robots refer to the humans as ‘the emotional fools’ when we confer between ourselves. Then why now I didn’t want to call her an emotional fool? Is that because I myself was becoming one?

I sat in front of her on my knees. Just like when I had first met her. I tapped slightly on her head and said, “Hey kiddo, look at me.” She looked, crying, tears flowing from her big dark eyes. “No don’t cry,” I said and wiped the tears with my hand. She sobbed. “You see you always ask me to do things for you and I do them. Don’t I?” I asked her.

“Yes,” she said.

“For once if I ask you to do something for me, will you do it? It’s the only thing I am going to ask you ever. And if you do it I will become happy forever. So will you do it for me to make me happy forever?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Then I want to see you run, run and run. Will you do that for me? Run, run and run?"

The tears started to flow again. This time faster. She tried to wipe them with her little hand. But in vain. She hiccupped and said, “Yes. Yes. Yes.”

Then, Boss, I was sold to you to bring in some money to support Aasma’s operation. Yesterday you told me that you wanted to completely wipe-out my memory since you wanted me as brand new. You are my master and I am your robot. It’s your right to ask and it’s my duty to fulfill. If I have a life, then serving you is its purpose. But Boss, I gave my word to Aasma. Her operation was successful and pretty soon she will be able to walk again and I really want to be with her when she walks for the first time.

Boss, if there is a death for a robot, then completely wiping-out its memory is it. So will you fulfill my last wish before I die? Will you let me be Aasma’s Aditya till she walks for the first time?
Thanking you,

Yours in service forever,



-A story by Agamya Sensible

Preface | Part I | Part II

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