“Time for all of you to pen your Creative Skills. SeISmO Team Presents “The Short Story Writing Competition”” read the mail from the Cultural activities Team of our office. I thought I would copy paste my “Romance in the Sky” story! But the rules ruled it out as a short story ( <=600 words was the 1st rule :)). So I braced up with my keyboard ( Keyboard is mightier than the sword. Pens are obsolete nowadays :)) and penned a story “Zero” conforming to all the rules laid out. Something inside me that this story would “make it”.
Days flew by and my feelings dampened as many of those who read my story told they hardly could understand it! Voting was added to take into consideration the employees’ viewpoint. Now, they told there would be a Critics Prize for the story chosen by the judges and a People’s Choice Prize for the story which receives the most votes by the readers. Votes started pouring but my story got only a minuscule amount of it! I grew pensive and restless. I got some reprieve when one of my very good pals, Arun, read my story from Korea and was really impressed with it and patted my back ” Dude you’d win for sure!”. More stories started flooding the fray. Public voting continued. And with it, my apprehension too!
Today morning the results came out. I eagerly scrolled through the Results page. They had announced 3 Critics prizes instead of one and 1 People’s Choice prize. My story was nowhere in either of the lists. A gloomy disappointment set in. I’d lost! “No No” I said within myself ” What about my initial instinct that told “this would make it”?”. I continued reading the results page as the judges had put up some more lines of explanation and my heart jumped with joy when I saw this- “This story writing competition won’t come to a proper end if we don’t mention the stories which were so unique; these were just out-of-the-box and deserve a special praise – “Zero”, “Broom Stick” and “Little Ben”.
Ahh!Finally I felt “I Won!” in spite of losing out in the competition!! Hope you read and enjoy my story “Zero”
It was D-day at the ancient city of Numbers. The patriarchs (1 was the head of all of them) had decided to ostracize the poor Zero. The citizens of the city, also called numbers, felt that Zero was a bad omen to their city. After all, he was worthless! And he looked ghastly to them-same from all angles and views. Being “nothing”, they felt that their kids would ape him and become “nothing”.
But Zero was different from other numbers. And he knew that that was his strength! He knew that he is Everything though he seemed nothing! He was resilient and fearless (anything multiplied by 0 is 0). It was these facts that had made the rulers of the city grow insecure of him and hence they wanted to do away with him.
Zero’s distant relatives 100, 1000 all made in vain attempts to save their prodigious kin. Zero, now shunned away from Numbers, sat contemplating despondently at the edge of the city. All sorts of negative thoughts streamed through him telling that he may really be worthless!
But his instincts told him that if he stays true his heart and believes in himself, he would one day, with his hard work and confidence, prove his worth to one and all. With this renewed determination, he set out, to the nearby city of Alphabetia.
Alphabetia was a young city with only a few dignified men but all of them were quite famous in the court of King English. King English had a great taste for words. And the alphabets (citizens of Alphabetia) served his big appetite. Zero came to know of a competition War of Words organized by English and worked day and night towards it and finally won it jointly with the former winners of the event ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘i’ and ‘u’. Zero was able to string together infinitude of words! The king was pleased and made Zero a Vowel, a prestigious crown vied by all alphabets. All the citizens, taken by surprise by the new entrant’s awesome show, proclaimed “Oh” and from that day Zero became famous by the name ‘O’ in Alpabetia.
Zero’s fame spread far and wide. The numbers grew jealous of him but consoled themselves by the fact that Zero was still nothing in Mathematics where they all excelled. This false belief was shattered when the Great Indian Mathematicians came to discover an important constant which the Romans named PI,as a parameter associated with Zero’s shape, circle! And that this constant PI permeates all branches of Mathematics! Also they proclaimed that no number set has any meaning without zero!
This incredible discovery left the numbers with no choice but to accept Zero. And even 1 had to cede his place and Zero came at the helm of the Numbers city. But Zero was as humble as ever and had the culture to respect his elders. He did justice to ‘1’ who was no more the head of numbers by declaring that any number raised to the power zero shall be 1! Now, the city of Numbers ringed with the shouts “Zero is our Hero!” and Zero came up with this gem of a statement at his crowning ceremony-“You are not what people think of you! You are what you think of yourself! Have faith in yourself! ”
Zero became immortal when it came to know that the Earth was in fact a 3-dimensional projection of Zero’s shape, circle and Indians chose him to be the first letter for their sacred chant OM, as a final icing on the cake to Zero’s fame!