Short Story: Virtual Memories

I opened my eyes to look at the alarm clock which was waiting eagerly with an evil grin on the table, kept exactly beside my head to wake me up with its irritating frequency of sound that it emits. It was 6.30 AM. The seconds hand was sweeping the clock’s face with intermittent pause for each second tirelessly to count the time that ticks right away.

Mom and dad were packing up bags. My vision was hazy, eyes still laden with the gravity of sleep. They were actually starting for a mini pilgrimage tour which was arranged by one of our neighbors in his Travel Package.

“Ashwin, wake up. We are leaving for the tour. We’ll be back tomorrow. We may reach late. Milkman will come at 7.30, get the packets and keep it in the milk tray. I’ve made breakfast and it is in the kitchen. Get up and lock the doors”

“Ye….aaaah (**Yawn**)”

I got up and slid the door latch and came back to bed. Closed my eyes and tried to sleep. But I was not able to sleep. I felt lonely and this loneliness was not allowing me to sleep. So I quickly got up and logged into my system to check mails.

There was a forward mail containing rare images of the some deity. I kept scrolling and in the end there was a message which asked me to forward it to at least 20 people, ignoring this mail may bring ill fate to me. On forwarding the mail, some miracle may happen in 1 hour. I usually don’t believe in these chain mails. And I hate spamming friends’ inbox with this kind of mails. I just thought for a moment and didn’t know what struck me, I pressed the Forward Button, entered few mail IDs in the To List and hit the SEND.

I launched iTunes & played some music track, so that I don’t doze off. Just then, I heard someone knocking the door. I remembered the milkman. I got up, walked towards the door and opened. There was no one. I came out and looked in all directions in search of milkman. There was no one. I looked disappointingly into the mailbox which was tugging the grill gate outside. Someone patted me on my back.

“Who are you?”

“I’m God”

The man appeared very simple in his white pyjamas. Well shaved. Well kept hair. I could not believe that he is God. I felt, he is talking rubbish early in the morning.

“Wh…What?”

“God! I said”, repeated the man-in-white

Well, I assumed this guy is gone mad or an escapee from an asylum. He looked harmless mature to his age that invited some dignity in his speech. I thought he must be from the neighboring house and is playing with me.

“Can we go to terrace and stroll for a while. It will be a good breathing experience in this morning”, he offered.

“Errr…OK in a minute”, I said and entered the house, put the system in Sleep mode, locked the doors and we walked up the stairs. By the time we reached the terrace, he went straight to the wooden cot which was there and offered me a seat. I hesitantly sat beside him.

“You are…errrr” I started again

“I’m God my son. The almighty! If you don’t believe me let’s have a conversation and in the end it is up to you to believe me or not.” The deal seemed to be vague. How can one believe one as a God with mere conversation? But I somehow wanted to get rid of this man. He must either be a neighbor or a jerk or a jerk neighbor.

“Hmmm…fine” I said

“Son…Tell me what you do?

“I’m a Software engineer” I said.

Click the “Read more…” link below to read the rest of the story


“Well…What does that mean?”, asked God (God from here after) puzzled

“I create Softwares. Do a lot of coding….and that’s it” I ended abruptly assuming that more technical details may not help him to understand what software engineer is all about.

“Now I understand. So you create things as I do!!?” He questioned me back

“As you do?.”, I was puzzled.

“Yea I create human beings who thrive in this earth”, God said with pride.

“Oh I see. So you are the one who create humans”, I said. I was not able to digest the statements he was making to me. I was trying to understand his words. It didn’t make any sense to me. I was laughing at his ignorance and his state of deliberate volunteerism in him to explain the concept of creation!

“What if there is any problem in your software which you create?” asked God.

I was bit interested as he was asking me things about software. I replied back, “There will not be any problems. We do a round of testing before implementing….”

“Implementing??…”, he interrupted.

“Yea….errrr…I mean running the software in real time”, I clarified.

“I too test humans, but after creating them. Not before creating them as in software”

“Oh I see. So you too test them. I test software for errors, functionality, bugs and more.” I said

“I test humans for endurance, perseverance, faith, responsibility, sincerity and much more”, He responded back.

“Hmmm…”, I nodded.

“What if, there are any problems in the software you deliver?”, asked God. I didn’t expect such a question from him.

“mmm….that’s called a delivered defect. We usually don’t deliver such a product. In case, we found any, we put a fix on it, by reworking on few of the codes”, I completed.

“My creations do have defect. But its not my fault. They are purely the fault of human beings. I see many of my creations are born crippled, deformed and with defect in their eyes or health. This is the human’s responsibility to take care of the progeny. The child should be nourished and taken care of in the proper conditions of healthy growth. Many children are born with diseases and with worst HIV +ve conditions. These do not fall under my control. I always create good humans, it is the living conditions and surrounding that makes him good or bad”

“Well, I can understand”, I said. I was almost in tears.

But his speech was so artificial. He did no sound the normal way. I was feeling uncomfortable. The information that my mind was registering seemed to be something different, which I haven’t heard before. He was justifying things on his side. He says humans are responsible for everything. I couldn’t respond.

I started, “Well then, I’m getting too much of information. I’m feeling strange”

God said, “What happened to you?”

“Don’t know. Something is wrong, I can feel. My mind is getting blank. I’m not able to think”

“Everything will be alright. Don’t worry my child”, God said.

“Child?? …”. I got confused. My vision was getting blurred slowly. The man, who designated himself as God, stood up and disappeared in the thin air. I was losing my balance and was about to touch the ground with THUD.

***

Scientists from all over the world were staring at the big TFT display placed in the Biogene Human Incubation Research Lab’s simulation hall. The world’s first Indian Robot, iHuBot was being tested for human emotions and being subjected to real time human interaction. The research center chief scientist Ramanan was monitoring each and every movement of the robot and its reaction in his laptop connected to the monitoring system. It was his invention and his dream of designing 99% Human like bio machine was about to come to reality.

The robot was designed using the human tissues which were specially made for designing robots with human characteristics. The skin was etched with the special nano sensors which can detect touch, heat, moisture and other human feelings like pain and tickle. The robot’s main memory consisting of 200TB storage can cache 87 thousand independent applications each doing the process of millions of cells and tissues that operate in human body and a secondary memory of 16000TBs which can fetch data stored in the main memory, gathered from human interactions and push it to the real time server that keeps running in the memory and will help the robot identify things and humans which it had interacted in the past, and the data is stored in the database. There is a heuristic engine application designed exclusively for the robot which can develop relational program and data from the past interactions and relate it to the current course of action and help robot identify persons or places or streets or even smell like that of real humans.

All of them were active in monitoring various events and busy in gathering data from the interaction. They were testing for bugs in the software which controls the robot mainly. The heuristic program which can develop itself in real time, keeps track of everything that the robot encounters.

Ramanan has noted and validated every emotion of humans with that of the Robot’s. He selected TEST PASSED checkbox in the validation software and waited for next emotional action.

It’s been 2 hours of conversation. The iHuBot was showing all sorts of emotions and expressions like that of human, but it isn’t showing the most expected one in the list. Everyone was waiting anxiously for the last test case to pass.

The human like figure was still having a conversation with the robot to induce various emotions into it.

***

I didn’t knew, when I came back to normal condition. He said it was miracle of God.

“Do you like animals?”, God asked.

I have not seen any animal in the flat for some time. They don’t allow animals here in this flat. I don’t remember when I saw a pet dog. In this 25th century, no one cares about having a pet. I looked at my watch. It was 9.00 AM.

“Yea but I haven’t seen any in this flat.” I said

“Here it is”, God said and a small Pomeranian puppy came from somewhere. I bent and picked it up and held it in my hands. It was cute, hairy and spongy. It started licking my hands and then my cheeks. I stood still. I didn’t understand the actions. Why the hell it is licking me badly. Does it like the taste of my skin?

God asked me again, “What do you feel?”

I didn’t know what to say about this feeling. I smiled. I again looked at the pup. It tilted its head and came near my nose and again started licking again. I was feeling bored. I kept the puppy down and said to God.

“Well, I would like to leave. I’m hungry”

“Oh…I can get you food here”

“No I wanted to have it down. I’ll meet you sometime later”

“OK. Take care”, God said and disappeared in the thin air.

I went down and opened the door. Switched ON my system and entered the kitchen for breakfast, someone knocked the door again. I went and tapped the display fitted in the door and the display popped up the face.

It was Samyuktha.

“Hey come in. What made you here this morning?”

“Thank you. Just came in. Mom asked me to get some Coffee Powder.”

“Oh…wait a minute” I said. “And hey are you alone? Where is your mom and dad”, she interrupted and winked. I could see some mischievousness in her eyes. I have always seen this girl coming to my house. I’ll always be engrossed in my comp. She used to stare at me and keep staring always.

“Hey what are you thinking”, she again interrupted my thoughts.

“Errr..no nothing. I was thinking where the Coffee Powder packet is”

“Oh no….let it be somewhere. There is no hurry. I’ll get it when I leave”, she said.

So she is not leaving now. She was in her 3/4th gym pants. Pink sleeveless with her hair tied at the back ending in a cute pony tail. The dress perfectly held her tight and packed. Her contour of the body was easily traceable and it suffered bends and turns at appropriate places.

“Hey, what are you looking at?”, she again interrupted.

“No, nothing…I was just………” I searched for words.

“You keep thinking always, Naughty. What have you been doing since this morning?”, she asked me. I never know why I search for words for such silly questions.

“I..I was in terrace….err”, I paused. Should I tell her about the man in white, The God. It appeared insane. Already she is making fool out of me. I did not want to get myself into making a fool again.

“You were in terrace? Don’t tell me that”, she looked so amused. Don’t tell me that? She only asked me where I was. Now she is asking me not to tell her. Is she gone mad?

“When is your mom coming back?”, she asked.

“They are coming back tomorrow. They have gone for a mini pilgrimage” I completed.

“Oh is it? Then it’s fine. We have no problem!!”

“Problem…? What problem do we have?”

She came closer to me, looked into my eyes. “Ashwin, now look. Don’t ask me questions. I like to ask questions but hate being questioned. Getting it?”

“Y…Yeah. OK”

“Cofffee…..”, I started.

“Yaar…shall I tell you something? Are you all right? In this flat, we have seen each other umpteen number of times. We have talked more than 1000 times. I smile when I see you, and you smile when you see me. I’m 22, sexy young, a girl next door. Now both of us in solitude in the same couch sitting side by side, Mom, away from home. I’ve come to your house. What else do you need?”.

Now what is this? Another  problem. Someone is keep bugging me from the morning. One man who tells he is God and talks crap, brings puppy from somewhere and let it lick. Now, this girl. By the time I was thinking this, she was totally close to me and there wasn’t a gap in between our shoulders. The door was locked and she was looking into my eyes.

***

Ramanan was very much tensed. The robot was not able to express the emotion that was expected. It was very difficult to generate this expression in code. 76 scientists have spent day and night writing program for simulating this expression. The emotion that needs to be generated to display this expression is first of all a herculean task for the programmers. The Biogene lab introduced new bio programmers who understand human physiology and psychology. The toughest task was to integrate the chip into the robot’s core processing unit, which houses the tissue which can be connected to a programmable memory and that can be cultured.

Only when the last expression is displayed and registered, the invention will be acknowledged for one of the India’s first Human Robot which can understand and has feelings similar to that of human beings. The fame and popularity that Ramanan would get out of this invention is unimaginable.

The whole team of scientist has been waiting for long time. They have changed the environment of interaction too. The change in the environment may give some change to the robot’s processor, to pick up some other expression from the expression_routine() which was defined in the ASM code. All of them again looked into the TFT screen.

***

For the first time, I held her body, put my hands around her hip and pulled her close to me. She sat on my lap turning to my side, facing each other in the couch, putting her arms around my neck. I could feel her breath warm in my nose. Morning weather was cold outside, the hug made some warmth in my upper part of my body. She wasn’t heavy. She was smiling like hell.

“Now what?…” I asked

“You naughty dog…asking me what uh?” she retorted mischievously.

I looked into her eyes. She was expecting me to do something. I’m supposed to things which will make her happy. I can feel the lust growing in her. She was humming a song. I turned her face towards me closer. Her nose hit mine. I can smell the Garnier Fructis Face wash neatly. My olfactory senses have become active now-a-days. I can feel the moisture of her lips thinning out in my neck, then in my chin and in my forehead. She was almost spreading into me like a creeper. I held face with both my hands and brought it closer to my face. Her lips were rose, soft and glossy. The hands automatically drew her near me and for the first time in my body, I could feel the adrenaline rush with great velocity and force. The hormones have started playing the big boy game. I held her face close to mine and planted a soft, profound kiss on her thick red little lips.  My nano tissues have registered an anatomical juxtaposition of two orbicularis oris muscles in a state of contraction first time.

Ramanan yelled, “Hurrraaaaay!!! SUCCESS. The robot has displayed the affection fantastically. That was a perfect kiss by a robot. Now iHuBot can understand each and every feeling of human being and can express its emotions through the actions such as crying, confusing, kissing and more.

TEST PASSED – He checked the check Box next to the emotion and expression validation test case.

***

I could still feel the voltage that generated impulses in my processor out of that kiss. But suddenly everything disappeared. The flat, Samyuktha, My Comp, House, Bed and everything vanished. I could see only a lab full of screens hanging all around me. Two personnel with white coat and head gear intact came near me and disconnected me from simulation test bed. The environment generation jack was disconnected and he opened my chest case. Pressed few buttons and the Central Processing Unit in my System was slowly going to standby state. The LEDs which were glowing bright were slowly getting dimmed and eventually went off. I stood still. Two automated hands came from the control panel area and lifted me and kept me with many of the test robots designed in the Biogene Human Incubation Research Lab.

The End !


6 thoughts on “Short Story: Virtual Memories

  1. awesome! u r becoming such a gr8 author,dude. . if anyone starts reading ur article,they have to finish it; u somehow tie them to ur post. get them hooked🙂
    so how much did u research for this one?

    but one thing i don’t get is the first part. i’m somehow unable to connect it to the next part. the guy’s parents packing up n leavin for pilgrimage, his sleep, his spam forwards and his rendezvous with god. . . none of them suggest that he’s robot. .! the second part (future part) is fine,though . .! i think a little more explanation would do.

  2. @ The Team:

    Thanks Bloggerchat.in🙂

    //so how much did u research for this one?

    I started off with the God conversation, then built the story around it :-)…

    I’ll clarify ur doubt…

    My intention was not to relate both the first part and second part, when the reader reads the story, only when the climax comes, the reader should know that the guy is none other than the robot and he is being tested..You have followed the story correctly😀

    The guy’s parents packing up n leaving for pilgrimage, his sleep, his spam forwards and his rendezvous with god etc are an example to show that the robot is being exposed to the normal environment as each an every one of us lead and he is being tested for reactions.

    The Second part is not the future part but actually the other angle of the story, in the angle of the research team. The first part is the angle of the Robot (When reading this part, u’ll not know that, this guy is a Robot. !!🙂

    Hope this clarifies all your doubts…

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