Kolkata meets Troy

A very dear friend came to visit me from India and started talking about his roomba. He extolled the virtues of it. He said how easy it is to use and programme. He said how satisfied he was with the product. He, perhaps, saw the dog hair universe in every nook and cranny of my house and felt this dust and dog hair infested house could do with some cleaning help. The inhabitants are obviously laz….I mean, otherwise occupied to keep their house minimally clean. He said he was going to gift us a roomba. I protested vehemently, he did not bring it up anymore, we had spicy chicken wings, went to the mall, hung out drinking tea and then he left. After a week of his departure, an Amazon packet came for me bearing the gift of …..yes, you guessed it, a roomba. Whenever I get a new gadget, my first reaction is one of panic. What? I have to learn something new? Something modern? Something that requires reading directions and setting up? My brain’s first impulse is to simply shut down for a few minutes. Unwillingly, I read the directions, make sense of them, set things up and use them. I looked at my shiny, black roomba with same anxiety and brain shutdown. “I have to figure you out?”

But first things first, it required a name. After much deliberation we all decided on Troy. I don’t quite remember the reason behind it so don’t ask. The next step was to set it up, connect it to the wifi and turn it on. When all was done (after some hiccups) Troy started zooming around the house picking up Sage hair as the four of us, humans, watched him work with utter amazement on our faces. Sage watched him too, with wariness and distaste.

I became Troy fan. Why won’t I be a fan of something that runs around cleaning my house while I sit on the couch with my feet up and a book in my hand? A robot maid! When I read about Irona in the comics Richie Rich in my childhood, I never imagined I would own a semi Irona one day. But here it was, running around my house picking up dirt, dog hair, gently nudging the dog to move when he was in its way, gently nudging my feet when I am in its way. How enchanting!

Not too long ago, on a Sunday morning, I was calling my home in Kolkata while Troy did its magic around the house. On a whim, I turned the camera around on my phone and showed my parents and the women who keep the house for them my robotic helper. The astonishment rivaled mine when Troy first came home. Baba called both Breshpati and Gouri to see the marvel. He explained to them how I sat on the couch all day, without moving a muscle, and my house gets cleaned. I tried to intervene weakly saying, no, I still need to dust and mop, but that was brushed aside. The news spread that I sit on my lazy butt all day and my house gets magically clean. The cleaning ladies in Kolkata watched with their mouths open as Troy ran around cleaning. They spend hours sweeping, dusting, mopping to keep the Kolkata dirt out of the house and here was a circular machine doing just that without any human intervention. They asked me several questions. I answered trying to explain. But the explanations did not sink it. To them, this was simply unbelievable, magic even. I followed Troy with my phone camera while the two ladies watched it clean. Roomba met its adoring fans via internet. And the word of my laziness spread like wildfire.


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