Currently, I technically lost my job.

I am a freelance writer who writes from her home office, and I write mostly TV shows – both in Hindi and my mother tongue Gujarati. It’s the job I really love to do! Writing! It exhilarates me. More than talking, I prefer written communication because the extra chaos can be cut in half. When we talk, we may start and end the conversation with small talk, just to be polite, but in writing, we don’t really have to do that. We can come to the point in the most polite way, and can end our text as soon as we are done communicating with whatever’s on our mind.

Honestly, I wasn’t too happy with my job because the constant nagging culture that some people call a ‘corporate’ culture, giving corporate culture a bad name, was getting on my nerves. Every single day, there used to be so much chaos, so much of ‘don’t do this but also don’t do that’, and no real time to do some real work. No creative inputs were appreciated. It was as if we were expected to work like ‘cattle’ – just slog on with peanuts for pay and worse, with no real work getting done at the end of the day, nothing to show even in the TV market, let alone to God. 

So you’d think I would be finally happy to get out of this job. 

Turn out I wasn’t. I took it the hardest way. It’s strange to see how attachment to what you love to do works!

I have worked with this organization on and off for many years now – since 2017. Despite my wanting to give my best, they wanted someone who would simply translate one Marathi show into a Gujarati one – with no additional inputs. Like sheep. When I wasn’t comfortable doing that, they got another writer to take over, and I lost my entire month’s pay just because I could not do uninteresting translating work.

Since 2020, I have tried to wake up at 5 am every day just to train myself to be a better writer. And it was heartbreaking to realize that there was no need for a better, deep-thinking writer in the market, everyone simply wants to play safe -be mediocre, make someone else do the job, blame the responsibility on someone else, take the salary and go home.  It is during times like these that we ask ourselves ‘why’? Why are we trying to be better when people we work with, even our superiors, don’t even care about it?

 I wanted to be the number 1 writer in the film industry. But it was as if my hard work of many years had come down to ‘0’.

And then a thought struck me. Was ‘0’ really bad? ‘0’ is from where the Universe originated, and ‘0’ is where it will merge in. All the praises the corporate showered on my work all these years, all those friendships, all those niceties – although they are still quite polite with me and some of them are my friends – had come down to nothing. Zero. All the anxious nights that we spent working, all those break ups, all those fights – all those relationships – all our desires disappeared just like that – ‘poof’! Zero. All good things ended up in ‘zero’, and all bad things ended up in ‘zero’. 

Is there anything as awesome as ‘0’?

The zero is the truth. The 0 is the only number that technically repeats itself. 1 never comes again, I mean not singularly, at least. But 0 is 0. It comes every time we start and finishes a circle.  What I realized is that we all need to focus on the 0 instead of 1. 0 is the long-lasting one, and never the 1.  

I might write a film or a TV show or a book that is spectacular and mind-boggling,  which might give me fame, name, money, and whatnot. I’d win Nobel Prizes, Oscars, and whatnot.  But unfortunately, or fortunately, all that wouldn’t stay. The poor, little Oscar trophy, made of 24-carat gold, will also melt in a fire after we are gone and reduce to ‘0’, just like us and our troubles. 

In a recent interview, Swamiji quoted Mark Twain, probably, and it was a hilarious yet truthful quote: ‘One sign of an imminent nervous breakdown is when somebody feels their work is terribly important to the world.’