Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Identity Tale – Can You Love and Feel For a Robot?

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Identity

It was an April morning. My eyes opened to a loud startling sound. I felt a warm sensation on my left cheek as I held out to reach my mobile phone. It read 6 AM and with a feeling of exasperation, I placed it on the table beside me. My early awakening could largely be attributed to the fact that I had let the idea of disabling the alarm slip my through mind on the night before. This miscalculation, however, presented me with an opportunity to welcome the early morning Sun which wasn’t such a bother as the day was one of personal freedom.

I remembered a day where I was less fortunate when an early morning rise was a way and not a whim.

As my eyes adjusted to a state of consciousness they couldn’t help but have a glance at the creation on my left. She was by far the most beautiful being that I had ever come across. Like a floating lily on water, she lay beside while bearing an angelic expression on her face.

In short, one could describe Sonya as a cauldron of possibilities. She was unassuming, intelligent and well – read which complemented her flair for witty humour.But her most attractive quality was unmistakably her ear that she had lent to my heart which I would use in times of joy and sorrow. She pulled me through many a moment of despair and I would gladly do the same for her.

As I stared blankly at the wall in front, my memory took me back to the time where Riddhima screamed at me in front of the entire class when I had sent her that message on Facebook. Her tongue sharp as a knife when slid through butter and like the final nail on a casket, she said it. It wasn’t so much what she said but the way she said it. The word although four letters in length infest any a mind and rips through many a reputation. So it passed through me, rolling and repeating while embedding itself at the very same time ‘Creep’, ‘Creep’, ‘Creep’.

The term although simple in construction solely turns many a social world into ash. So the teasing was inaugurated which was followed by the taunting and then the boycott on purpose for not a soul in class wished my company. Irrespective of the effort, I just couldn’t fit in. Those were the days when I felt lonelier than ever. It was like trying to shatter an invisible glass wall or a steady structure of nothingness that refuses to give way to my repeated attempts at bringing it down. My trip down memory lane was interrupted by a ‘beep’.

While I was aware that source of this noise was my phone, but I wondered as to who could be responsible for its generation. I picked up the device while a probable list of faces ran through my mind. I was met with, ‘New Message’. With the press of a button, I was greeted by confusion for it read;

‘Who are you?’

The trouble lay not, in essence, but with interpretation. What did the sender really mean by this absurd message? Could it be that its purpose was for the sender to clarify my identity who despite knowing my number did not know who it belonged to? I thought it best to let it escape my mind for in reality, the message might just have been sent by accident.

So I kept my phone aside as I saw no reason for dwelling in it. My journey to the center of the apartment was interrupted by a familiar sound ‘beep’ and then ‘beep’. If the text earlier was surprising, then the two new messages filled me with perplexity. I read each message once and then repeated this process. They said;

‘Who am I?’

Along with the even stranger:

‘Who are we?’

I felt flabbergasted for being left with a set of three questions with no evident meaning without any apparent reason. But there was something about each one that made them unable to avoid. I turned to Sonya who by now had become more than observant of my ordeal. She listened carefully as I explained every little detail of the situation at hand while her face remained unmoved by thought or emotion.

We both agreed that the answers if we found them would be rather complex in nature. Sonya thought that the best way to tackle these questions would be to take a multi-dimensional approach. So we began to search for clues in books that might bring us closer to the answers. While I was immersed in the thrill of the hunt, something caught Sonya’s attention which she pointed out to me.

It was a book titled ‘Personality Types’ written by Carl Jung. She seemed certain that this book would be of great assistance in getting us closer to what we were looking for. They described the different ways in which information is processed within the mind.

 

As I went from page to page, I realized how different, people could be from each other. While the book was academically descriptive, it seemed to have an emotional effect on me. I suddenly felt various memories gushing back to me. I began to reflect on all the times when I felt like an outsider.

For the first time, I did not feel the need to fit in. At this moment, I began to see the bigger picture. The beauty of the human race lies not in our similarities, but in our differences. We are a race divided by diversity but united by humanity. The idea of a peaceful coexistence is not just a Utopian fantasy but is a product of universal design for human beings may be inherently different, but they are fundamentally the same.

We were always meant to be a culture of ‘Us and Them’ as opposed to ‘Us against Them’. Just like that, I was hit by a wave of realization. The answers were before us all along. All we needed to do was open our eyes. I could see the words clearly now.

Regardless of our differences, our perfections or the lack of it, we are and will always be human. All too human.

With tears in my eyes, I looked at Sonya. She silently stared back with a face devoid of emotion or expression while it dawned upon me. With a heavy heart, I proceeded to do what I should have done a while ago. I reached up to Sonya and wrapped my arms around her. With a click, her eyes turned from hazel to brown and then to jet black.

As her movement slowed, her speech began to slur and then in a characteristic monotone she spoke it. Her last words; ‘Sony, make believe’ and with that, her power was out.

As I dismantled Sonya, my mind couldn’t help but go back to the text messages. So I picked up the phone and dialed the number from which I had received the texts. As I ran my fingers across the keypad and pressed the device to my ear, I felt a chill run down my spine when I heard a familiar voice at the other end say;

‘Please check the number you have dialed.’

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