Long before the robot was invented we had a robot in our house, and we still have one.
You must be surprised, but, you shan’t be, if you know the meaning of the word ‘robot’. A robot is a manlike machine which does routine manual work mechanically on command. This definition rightly fits our house-servant Babu. He is a man, no doubt, but works like a robot. He does all the routine work entrusted to him and does it faithfully. And he does it mechanically. If there is a slight error in giving him instructions, or if the instructions are not complete, we are always in for trouble. He is sure to cause us worries.
We have to take the utmost precaution not to assign to him more than one job at a time. Otherwise he would mix up things and make a complete mess of everything. Once he is instructed to do some work of a routine nature, he goes on doing it regularly and mechanically even if it is not required to be done under certain circumstances.
Once we were talking about sending Babu to market to fetch certain things. Babu heard our talks while we were discussing things to be brought from the market. We soon found that Babu had disappeared, all of a sudden. He appeared after half an hour and reported that he had already been to the market. We had once instructed him not to open the door to strangers. So on one occasion he drove away a near relative of ours who was visiting us after a pretty long period. Then we changed our instructions and asked him to admit people only after inquiring about the purpose of their visit. Since then he has been admitting even strangers. He admits all sorts of persons – hawkers, salesmen, even beggars after asking about the purpose of their visit. Robots have no sense of discretion, neither has Babu.
But, of course, he differs from a robot in one way and that is very important. Unlike a robot, he has a warm and loving heart. He is a simple, trustworthy person whom we find very difficult to get angry with. He is so innocent that he seems to be a fool. But it is precisely because of these qualities that he seems to be a fool. But it is precisely because of these qualities that he has endeared himself to all. yes, we love the robot in our home. He is part and parcel of our family. With all his follies and foibles, we still love him and don’t ever think of replacing him.