My father was away in Texas for a science project he had been working for the past six months. He returned to India with a gift for us, which was a robot butler built by his team.
The robot looked like a doll from ‘American Girl’ with a thin metallic body with wires, especially after I dressed her up in my childhood clothes and a hat.
The robot could follow voice commands and we even had remote access. We named it Anne.
Soon, Anne became an integral part of the family as she could sweep the floor, wash the dishes, water the plants, mop the floor among other things. My mother used the robot every day to cook food and she would lie down on the couch and watch Netflix.
She wouldn’t let anyone use the robot, and even if she did, the robot was always preoccupied. Anne would press her legs, pour her a glass of wine, scrub her back and give her a manicure. Anne used to make very bad food but my mother made her only cook.
One day, when everyone was sleeping, I snuck up in my mother’s room and brought out the robot as quietly as possible. I came out, opened the electrical system of the robot and took out the wires.
When my mother woke up she asked the robot to bring her a snack, it did not respond. The robot was malfunctioning!
The robot began going round and round and was making a lot of sounds. That woke up everyone in the family.
My mother was sad that she had to do all the chores and cooking and had the responsibility thrust back to her.
My father saw her miserable state and divided all the household duties amongst all of us. Life was not same anymore!