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The future of companionship

Three weeks back, when her mother revealed to her that her biological father is somebody else, she wasn’t expecting this mystifying occasion. What she saw then, at her father’s house, was hugely bizarre and eccentric. She could not believe her eyes and took a while to recuperate from the rapid pulse. As she explored the scene in front of her, Lena tried to recollect her mother’s words carefully, to ensure that she didn’t miss any details.

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Lena’s mother, Theresa, had abandoned her father 30 years back when she realized that her independence was at stake. Her father, a robotics expert by profession, was a paranoid, who got excessively obsessed with his wife who also happened to be his favorite student. He loathed others who talked to her and wanted her to be just devoted to him. Her social life was derailed and aspirations had to be curbed as her movements were restricted. Her sanity was being eroded.

People around them talked – “Nothing less to expect from this maniac professor, who wants a world of robots. He doesn’t know how to treat and care a fellow human.”

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Her mother’s words echoed inside her as her whole journey to meet her father has come to an end. The scene in front of her was slowly unraveling by itself. She saw her father, a frail old man with a lean intense figure. He was talking to a young lady whose aura was so familiar to Lena. She saw somebody who acutely resembled her mother’s younger self. That lady’s expressions were mechanical and she bore a timid outlook. Her body language was very stiff and she had an unemotional voice.

In a while, Lena realized that what she saw there was a humanoid robot which resembled her mother. It was an artificial structure which could be controlled by her father and could mimic her mother’s expressions and speech.

Did her father create this robotic version of her mother after she had left him and had he been living with that ever since. Why did he do that? Was he madly in love with her mother or he just wanted her form to be around him? Was this his way of addressing the very human longing for company? Or did he want somebody whom he can own, control and use for his life’s purposes. Lena didn’t know what to feel – did she feel an aversion to her father who had absolute apathy to anything around him or whether she felt happy to see her mother, in a different form, who died three weeks back.

With a numbed mind, Lena, incapable of a reaction or a response, stood still and observed the scene.

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