The Vending Machine

It stands in the centre of the city, like a public whore with open legs — free, filthy and infested with AIDS.

It has dents and scratches and a cracked glass through which it displays its wares.

Nobody knows who decides what is to be in her that she will give away for a penny.

Sometimes when the government feels like it, the vending machine stocks up condoms.

The next day her glass is shattered on the ground around, which is covered with cum and burned latex.

At other times, some philanthropic NGOs decide to distribute free food.

The vending machine has to be retrieved from a slum-gutter the next day by the police.

When the vending machine decides to garner some respect, it stocks up the usual free-market wares from China and USA.

Two things happen after this decision is taken by the machine —
1) The scum of the streets drill holes in its body and devour all the processed delicacies which they only see in the hands of that distant population which regularly walks over their faces, ignorant of their existence.

2) The socialists and the communists attack it with a sickle and a hammer and rip it apart like a run-over street dog.

It is when the vending machine sells religious books and symbols, overpriced and unaffordable by the people, that it machine becomes holy.
Lamps are lighted in front of her and garlands of marigold adorn her battered metal body.

People loan their daughters to get a cheaply printed book, which they believe will set the world right.

A speaker is mounted atop her, which spells out the rules of the Books to the people who think that slavery will rescue their souls.

It becomes a celebration of control. People dress in the same garb of pretend-sacredness and lose themselves in praising their master.

Self-proclaimed saviours of the world cull all those who choose to follow a different slave-master than theirs.

The people who decide to be away from this, seeing the ripped guts and smashed heads, they are dumped up with each other in a pile, their bodies drowned in cheap kerosene and set on fire.

The vending machine is now enshrined in a temple with marble arches and golden doors.

The vending machine has gained its respect.


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