Highly Commended Story - Sub-junior Category
“Technology – Blessing or Curse?” by Kiana Gopani, Rustomjee Cambridge International School, India, is the Highly Commended story in the sub-junior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2020.
Technology – Blessing or Curse?
“Yeah…!!” shouted Tanvi in excitement. After her 10th birthday celebration, Tanvi started opening all her gifts one by one. She had opened all her birthday gifts but the last one from her Aunt Jenny. It was a nicely wrapped gift in shiny silver paper with red satin bow on the box. The gift box looked bigger compared to all other gifts she had opened. It was midnight and she was tired but the gift was from her favorite aunt so she couldn’t resist herself from opening it. Finally when she opened, it was a gift for which she was longing to buy and was delighted to see it as received on her birthday. Ahhh… her joy had no bound and she was on cloud nine. The gift she received was a Robot Clock.
The robot was bright and attractive in Pink and Yellow colour and looked like a Barbie doll. It had twinkling eyes. It could reach every nook and corner of her house. Tanvi received a lively friend in the house in form of this Robot clock. Her parents helped her to talk to the robot and program the robot clock such that it would remind Tanvi to perform all different activities at programmed time in a very melodious sound. She would eagerly wait for Robot to remind her next activity she is supposed to do and will try to complete as fast as she can, in anticipation of hearing the next activity from the robot. It used to remind her to perform all daily activities from waking her up to eat her meals, to do her homework, to play, to read story books, to get ready for school etc. Couples of months passed by, Tanvi and her parents were happy as she used to complete all her activities timely and enjoy talking and hearing from the robot.
On day, while Tanvi was playing with Robot, it fell from bed and suddenly stopped working. Tanvi was so devastated and started crying. When her mother heard her crying, she immediately rushed to her bedroom and inquired about what happened. Tanvi narrated the entire incident and her mother asked her to calm down telling her that she would give the robot for repair and it would start working again soon. Her mother gave the robot for repair the same day but was asked to wait for couple of weeks until it gets repaired as one of the important parts that had to be replaced was not available in stock. Her mother convinced Tanvi to manage for 2 weeks and then she would have the robot back again.
3 days passed by and now Tanvi was finding it very difficult to perform all her activities as she was so used to do everything based on robot reminders. Tanvi’s parents realized that she had become too dependent on the robot clock and couldn’t manage to do things on time on her own without reminders. Her father explained her how she had become so much dependent on the technology developed by humans and was not allowing her brain to remember things even at this small age. Her parents had to take some extra care for about 10 days and then Tanvi started managing things on her own without any reminders. Now, she became more independent and would prioritize the things based on her mood, preference and some guidance from her parents.
The day arrived when the robot clock got repaired and Tanvi got it back. The robot clock again started giving reminders in a melodious voice but now Tanvi had mixed feeling to act based on reminders as she had developed herself to perform daily routine on her own. She remembered her father’s advice and did not want to get herself trapped in doing things that Robot would order her to do.
Tanvi’s granny was old and staying alone. She had to be reminded everyday to take medicines on time. Tanvi used to notice that her mother would call her granny everyday to take medicine, and there were times when granny would not remember to take medicine if Tanvi’s mother would forget to call. Tanvi came up with an idea to program the robot to remind her granny to take medicine every day on time and gift the Robot to her granny. She shared this idea with her parents and they were happy to know that Tanvi thought about a good use of Robot for someone in the family whose memory was fading. The next day, Tanvi and her parents visited her granny who stayed few miles away and gifted her programmed robot. After a week, granny called Tanvi and told her that the robot has been very useful to her and she is able to take her medicines regularly with the help of reminders from the robot. Tanvi was so glad to know this and to put the robot to the right use.
Moral: Human brain has developed technology. It is good to use to the extent necessary and helpful but we should not become its slave & too dependent on it.