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The office of the government placement bureau was as usual deserted and Cau Cou as usual did not bother to go inside. He just cursorily scanned the notice board to see if there were any job postings suited for him. There were none.

The sun had begun its slow descent but yet it was bright and warm in this remote Bhutanese town located at the foothills of the Himalayas. As Cau walked forlornly and took random turns and spins along the meandering streets, he soon found himself facing an imposing glass building with no name board. But, he did spot a discretely placed small board which read, ‘JANITOR WANTED’. He instinctively checked his reflection on the glass panes before pushing open the huge glass door. The lobby had an impressive transparent glass ceiling but no front desk nor any humans. Cau looked up to find a tall gentleman on the other side of the glass ceiling gesturing him to wait. Within a few moments, he was greeted by the same tall man who cheerily introduced himself as Dr.Bard Funman. The bold letters on his badge spelt ‘HUMDINGER LABS’.

Cau mentioned about the ‘JANITOR WANTED’ board outside. Dr.Funman smiled and specified, “We are looking for a temporary janitor.” Cau nodded his acceptance. “Good! Now, let me show you the janitor’s room”, said Dr.Funman as he moved towards a long corridor punctuated by vast, empty glass walled rooms. As he followed the doctor’s brisk steps along the silent corridor, he noticed that all these rooms were labelled, ‘Thought Labs’. Cau couldn’t see any conventional lab equipments or personnel in these thought labs. All he could spot in these labs were black boxes that were either half opened or fully shut. He also couldn’t help but notice the fat, chubby cats of all hues gambolling about in these rooms showing the least concern about life or death or the act of observation.

The corridor seemed never-ending but finally Dr.Funman opened an unmarked door and this room unlike the other glass rooms had no boxes or any felines. Cau was at last relieved to see a few chairs and work desks. His relief turned to joy when he espied a sleek black computer on one of the desks. In his excited state, he barely realised that Dr.Funman was introducing him to the other janitor in the room. He couldn’t make out the other person’s name completely. But, it sounded like “E. P. Winner”.

Mr.Winner beckoned Cau to his desk with a sagely countenance, as Dr.Funman took their leave. The senior janitor then handed him a cup of tea with a solemn bow. The cup was chipped and jaded with age. Cau felt a strange anachronistic feeling about this room and its occupant. Mr.Winner deciphered the perplexed look on the young novice’s face and with a knowing smile simply said, “Wabi Sabi.” Cau became more confused. But, before he could clear his doubts, his eyes got distracted by the ‘Bohring Times’ lying at a corner of the desk. Every job hunter knew that the ‘Bohring Times’ had the best job ads for freshers.

He quickly flipped to the ‘VACANCIES’ section, and much to his delight, he soon found a job advertisement calling for ‘Kitchen Staff’ aboard the colossal luxury cruise liner, ‘ICE N’BERG’. Their only criteria for recruitment were the discipline to work hard, enthusiasm to serve and a penchant for ambiguity. Cau knew immediately that this was his golden opportunity to make right all that was wrong in his life. He quickly scanned the bottom of the ad for the email address and his heart skipped a beat when he saw that today was the last day to send in the application form. The deadline was 6.00 pm.

Without further ado, he switched on the only computer in the room and logged on to the internet. The browser by default opened to the Wikipedia page titled, ‘Wabi Sabi’. Cau suddenly seemed hypnotized by this word. He started reading it and was fascinated by its concept of ‘Perfect Imperfection’ along with the 3 simple realities espoused therein: Nothing is perfect; Nothing lasts; Nothing is finished.

As he revelled in the glow of this new enlightenment, he suddenly became aware of the passing time and the opportunity slipping by. He smiled and silently repeated the words “Wabi Sabi” to himself for he knew that there was still a good 3 hours left for the office hours of M/s. ICE N’BERG to end. He finally completed filling up the online application form after a tedious 1 hour and was just going through the form again before submitting it, when he suddenly realised that M/s. ICE N’BERG’s office is located in Singapore which is around 2 hours ahead of Bhutan, and that he is actually now only seconds away from the deadline.

He nervously cast a glance at the time display of the computer at the bottom of the screen. Strangely, he saw the words ‘KAIROS’ instead of the chronological numeric time display. As he had no time to ponder about it, he just clicked on the ‘SUBMIT’ button with hardly a few seconds to spare, muttering the words “Wabi Sabi” like a deranged monk. But, fate had not yet finished teasing him. The screen now displayed the rotating spikes of the ‘buffer’ symbol.

Cau cursed in loud horror which prompted Mr.Winner to respond calmly as usual with only one word “Kairos”. Cau had reached the end of his patience and shouted, “How can this damned moment be ‘Kairos’ or a propitious moment when it has already gone. Either my form has been ‘submitted’ or ‘not submitted’ before the deadline. There are only two possibilities – YES or NO!”

The major headline of the next day’s ‘Bohring Times’ read: “Y2K 2.0: How a Second Brought down Half the WWW”. The news item below the screaming headlines described the utter chaos caused all around the globe due to the ‘Leap’ second protocol!

About the Author: 
I am from India and am interested in everything that is hidden from us. Everyone has a recessive detective gene struggling to explore new horizons, and I feel science offers the best avenue for curious amateurs like me to understand the mysteries within and without.