# The infinite boundaries of zero

Azrabano Idrishi

Sneha came home crying, clasping her math test paper. Her sister Anu took the paper and scanned the circular outline; Sneha had scored a ‘0’ in math. As Sneha waited for Anu to say something, she remembered how she had perspired and her heart had palpitated during the math test. Through her tears, Sneha said, “I did not study the formulas, I feel miserable for scoring ‘nothing’….” Anu interrupted her saying everything in this universe is supposed to be something. Sneha did not agree; zero was invented to represent the absence of a digit. Anu said, “You might have to emphasize the fact that zero represents a value between +1 and -1, not to mention its undeniable position between any two digits that lets you decipher that 101 is one hundred and one and not really eleven”. Sneha processed this.

Anu went on, “Earlier, zero was written using weird symbols, sometimes a blank space between numbers represented the zero, and sometimes stones were used, but the zero we now know as ‘0’ has transformed and evolved from the earlier concept of mere absence. Did you know that zero was first seen in the form of a single dot in the manuscript called Bakhshali in ancient India?”

Sneha murmured, “It’s odd that zero was identified in so many different ways.”
“To add to the oddness, zero is considered to be an even number.”
This really surprised Sneha.
Anu explained, “Any number that can be divided by two to create another whole number is even. When you divide 0 by 2, the answer is 0, which is a whole number, thereby proving that zero is even.”
Anu’s enthusiasm for the zero however did not rub off on Sneha, she said, “…no one desires a zero though.”