Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pandora's Box (not of Troubles) but Facets!

This is probably going to be a post mixed with several ideas that have been running through my mind in the past two-three days (might be the whole week also!). Some of them are internal reflections, as I always write, some are amplifications of certain things I never cared to think about; and some are simply the typical blogging materials. Here they go.

Part I (Research)

I met this guy on Thursday who is a researcher at Microsoft Research, Redmond. As illustrious his academic and professional career might be (MIT / MSR / innovative research etc), his talk made me think of an altogether different perspective to the way one can look at one's research problem. He had come to visit AME (the lab I work at) and I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to talk to him about my research. A few nice insightful pointers he gave about thinking on a research problem: the research problem should be one which you can connect to. This guy works on developing music from several bits of notes, and he himself is really into music composition. I also saw my advisor so much into multimedia research - he is an awesome photographer. Now the question comes, how do I connect to my problem of communication dynamics in social networks? Once my advisor told me, it's nice I was so much into observing how people communicate on social networks, because I am myself so much active on Orkut and Facebook. But personally this guy's talk made me feel, I need to find more interesting avenues for that connection. Also doing research is almost like being in love. The more we harbor the chemistry or the connection, the stronger is the bond! :)

Part II (Fun - the movie Race)

I went to watch this movie Race on Friday night with some friends. It was good fun, as far as going out (and not typical Friday night outing with drinking!) was concerned. Topped with the explanation that I was watching a Hindi movie (in a theater) after a long time, after Om Shanti Om last semester, which I re-watched with someone again on the computer in Winter. The movie (Race) is full of twists - almost like too many cooks spoil a kitchen. Katrina was terrible - she really needs to work on her acting. Saif was kind of good. And I don't like Bipasha (no, despite being a Bengalee).

Part III (Socializing)

Saturday was a small get together day with the AME people - and I once again had a wonderful opportunity to try nice cooking! It was barbecue, so I marinated chicken thighs (boneless) and some veggies (bell peppers, green onions and tomatoes) with yogurt, salt, red chilly powder, lemon juice, garam masala and ginger-garlic paste. It was good fun.

Somehow I felt, however much I try to impress upon myself that chilling out alone in the weekend is so relaxing, yet we all are social animals. Socializing always helps - a big take away from the wrecks we go through all the time.

Part IV (Regularity in life)

I have been working out daily (yeah, daily, for those who know me in and out, ain't I religiously into fitness now?) all this week (skip Friday). It is amazing - kind of turns into something which if you don't do, you don't feel good. Running on the treadmill is good fun and gives you a good night's sleep after a tiring day at work!

I have also been cooking everyday this week, and getting food for lunch. Trust me, it is much tastier and you can control you likeness for variety in food. Yes, it is healthier as well. And I just figured out, with certian basic elements of cooking items and a little bit of experimentation, you can almost cook everything!

Waking up early is also so amazing! It makes the day feel much longer. And in a place like Arizona soon hitting the 90's in the temperature, morning cores are fun. I woke up 8 am today, and already enjoying and chilling the day out! Late afternoon, the work starts.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It is not always the technical contribution that matters...

Enough has been said time and again whenever the topic of the first ever solely women Computer Science conference Grace Hopper came into discussion with most of my male friends. It is unfortunate but most of them find it difficult to digest the very idea of it.

I know it is strange. It is something which was not ever done before, and something which is like re-writing history for most women gatherings round the globe. When I attended the conference last year, it was a record with 1,400 women attending it - the largest women gathering in the world!

Let us move beyond facts and figures. Anybody reading this, irrespective of gender, would agree how minuscule is the women representation in engineering, coupled with the size of the women community in research. When I was in college, women representation was less than 15 % in Computer Science. This is really unfortunate, given the fact that population-wise men and women counts are almost comparable.

Most of you would say, women probably aren't smart enough. I won't repeat the cliched feminine dialogues. I agree women don't much have a technical bent of mind (of course there are many exceptions to this) - in fact, they are more creative in different ways. But as I stand being part of a really creative research community, I see that many women could make a lot of difference, because they are creative. Nevertheless, sadly, when I went to PerCom in 2007, I was the only woman speaker in the whole Workshop session!

Coming back to the point of Grace Hopper. This conference is a little different from others - its primary goal is not really making a technical contribution, rather it is a platform where in an aspiring woman struggling to find her unique identity in the society gets an opportunity to meet other aspiring women who think alike. It is also a great way to meet successful women - I got to meet the first woman Turing Award winner in the world when I went to the conference last year. And this wasn't the end. Meeting other successful women and learning their stories is a big moral support to many of us wanting to make a difference.

I am not saying let it be a all woman world - or similar things like woman dominated world. Any gender dominating the other seems strange and against the way the world evolved and Nature exists. Man and woman are two sides of the same coin - two inherent aspects of life. No one can exist without the other - this is as much true biologically as it is in every other mundane aspect of our lives and civilization.

I just wish to see something much lower down than this big picture - I want to see a research community luring both genders equally and a reasonable gender representation. And Grace Hopper is a wonderful means to feel encouraged. After all it made me really feel, "I Invent the Future."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Our Political Ramifications

When I was a kid and the news of the European Union (EU) being formed was in the offing, my Dad used to say that this might be a great step towards a new concept of political geographical re-organization of the world. It was 1993, a time just after the Cold War ended. And as far as I look back, I can draw my senses to understanding politics and all what I was told and saw on the TV is the concept of the world categorically divided into two (or three) sheds - supporters of US and those of the then USSR. Dad used to tell me that though India was highly inclined to USSR, it rather maintained a neutral attitude (and there comes the third genre of countries) in terms of world affairs.

Things in the world political scene were dramatically changing, one with the end of the Cold War, and secondly this whole new concept of the European Union. As a matter of fact, the very idea of having a single GDP and currency among so many countries was intriguing!

Dad told me that may be this new culture would spread wider and deeper, and become more rampant. More countries would probably embrace this idea. Instead of fighting wars and spending millions on defense every year, countries could be stronger if they got geographically coherent in certain aspects. Only time had to tell what was going to happen. But even at that point of time, despite being a kid, I used to think that things could be so much nicer if the whole of South Asia could join hands together and form some kind of what EU was going to do.

And now we stand here today - the hatred and the tendency of countries to wage wars is only going higher. But look at EU. They did well - they are actually a big competitor for the US currently in so many terms, starting from middle-eastern oil purchases. Why can't the rest of us learn something from these guys?

I have so many times been faced with the question: why don't you plan to go back to India and do research? I am kind of speechless at those points. Not because I don't like going there, but because how does it matter? I believe whatever I wish to do would benefit the research community (and in far reaching effects probably the society), irrespective of the country I live in. But there is always this sense of "who is the better one among countries" thing going on - and the consequence, people really asking me to pick one place over the other.

All this sprang up into my mind when I watched the movie The Day After Tomorrow yesterday night. Though based on a really blown up science, the political surge in US was interesting. The fact that a US President makes his first statement on a foreign soil Mexico was a token to the very concept of "one world". But it took so much in the movie to reach that point - it took the whole humanity befall a massive climatic change like the Ice Age. Is it possible that we realize this, before we have to pay heavy prices as people did in the movie?

I want to live in a world where we live unbounded and work for the mankind. The political ramifications are only going to tear us apart. But I don't know who is to blame, or for that sake, who can really fix this. How do we start thinking of a much bigger picture than our little village or city or country?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Walking the Aisle of Our Intellectual Curiosities

Today I was reading this article on New York Times where they report that Hubble has dicovered methane (a basic ingredient in the evolution of life on Earth) was found - methane plays a big role in forming carbon-di-oxide and mono-oxide which in turn play key roles in formation of life. Though the article also says that the possibility of living creatures actually existing there is very low due to one side of the planet facing a star and another side freezing all the time, the research was quite an endeavor!

And the list could probably continue: there have been so many attempts till today to harness man's curiosity to find life elsewhere in the universe. And it is immensely intriguing to us (including me) all the time! But today, a more pragmatic question occurred to me - what are we really trying to achieve through this kind of research? Is there anything substantial for the humanity as a whole, apart from nurturing our intellectual curiosities in these endeavors?

Imagine the extent of resources, efforts and money invested in these kind of broad-spectrumed research. I am somehow burdened by the thought that we could have used all these resources may be to fight hunger in Africa or to address prisoners of war at the time of Cold War or may be just to alleviate the condition of common people in Iraq.

I am not against intellectually stimulating research endeavors. I love research and have chosen it to be my way of life, and it has come to so many costs. But what I am trying to realize is, how many times before trying to reap a harvest out of our curiosity, we actually take a step back and think what impact is my research going to have on the society? What difference I am trying to make to the world?

Research is beautiful. And the way we can make it more beautiful is an ability to justify it to ourselves - a justification which would transcend our mere curiosities or our desires to tell the rest of the world that I am smart or my intellect surpasses most contemporaries.

At the end of the day, life is not all about proving I am the better one and running a marathon driven by our intellectual curiosities. We are undoubtedly the most intelligent species on Earth till date and we need not re-iterate it to ourselves time and again by striving to be better with another accomplishment which does not have any impact on the rest of us. Our interests, if goaded by a more holistic desire rather than simply to profane the person in front of us, I am sure the world would be a better place to live in. Do we then care about life in another planet then?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The "Not" Mavericks

"The real religion is the veneration for man's creativity - ideas and the power they entail."
(From the book The Singularity is Near)

I respect all religions and religous texts - though I don't follow any one in particular. Thinkers in the past said that all religions are just different roads leading to the same goal; but it is true that those paths are quite significantly different from each other. Despite these differences, religion I feel is more about a set of philosophies - certain truths our ancestors and great thinkers have accumulated over time. Religion I feel is just a way to organize our lives better and the reason our ancestors emphasized on it is because it yields a structure to our lives, more given that man is a societal being.

But the question obviously arises, where do the people not following any religion stand? I believe these people are the ones who cull their own philosophies of life - or are the ones who believe in philosophies that transcend any particular religion. People not following religions aren't mavericks to the society. It is just giving oneself more room - to draw in our own logic and to evolve. There is evidence of evolution in biology, shouldn't our society and our beliefs evolve over time as well?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Writing a Good research paper!

From the reviews of my papers (accepted ones - a matter of fact all were accepted :P), I felt that doing good research and writing a good paper are slightly orthogonal. Here I have cited a few pointers which might help one writing a good research paper.

Disclaimer: These points are mostly ad-hoc from my perspective and based on the experience of getting my (four) papers accepted.
  1. Emphasize on the broader contributions of the paper - the bigger picture and the challenges you have faced. This should be grounded with the specific things you exactly accomplish in the paper.
  2. The mentions and references to related work cannot be emphasized more! The reviewers are typically very sensitive to the survey or at least the mentions you make about the prior work done related to your problem in the paper. As a matter of fact, before making a claim like "To the best of our knowledge, there has not been any work about XYZ...", be extremely cautious; I think better to take a softer and more lenient take and say "Prior work has mostly been focused on ABC instead of XYZ...".
  3. At least in my research community, the kind of data used for validating the model is extremely key. Use of more popular / standardized or comprehensive datasets make the results more impactful and believable.
  4. Explanation in the figures need to be very concise but explicit - remember no hidden mysteries should exist, neither should there be the tendency 'yeah, this is so obvious, why mention...".
  5. Discussion of the experimental results - if it is some graph, explain what the results mean. If it is a diagram kind of visualization, explain the different dimensions and what the patterns observed mean.
  6. Avoid typos and grammar errors - these give a very bad impression.
Yeah, so more than whether or not people might like reading this particular blog post, it helped me a lot in straightening out the ideas of writing a good research paper!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Life's Serpentine Journey...

Life is too short to traverse a journey as long as and as meandering as stooping over to ponder and be morose. Each ray of the Sun brings new hope, novel opportunities and unbounded potential for a new dawn tomorrow. Just as simply as today I woke up to read an email which would have changed my day for a considerable time to come - even though be it papers or conferences, getting accepted always sways us, drives us into a new world when the long journey of life unravels its mysterious veils of new beginnings.

  • The picture is taken by me on a long drive somewhere along the way. To the amateurs, the morose look in the picture is ascribed to the sepia tone along with HDR from three differentially exposed similar pictures.
  • The reason behind this jubilation is because both the papers I submitted to Hyper Text 2008 got accepted for publication. It was an immense source of joy - a hope or a promise that I was awaiting in life for quite sometime.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I am profusely disillusioned

I want to ramble about four completely disjoint things:
  1. I am impressed by people working or spending their lives for a cause. It can be as simple as being a scientist and doing something novel for the rest of the world; or being an economist and affecting the society; or an entrepreneur or a doctor or a manager, someone who can look beyond his or her own material pleasure.
  2. The best works on literature probably happen when we are morose. Though Shakespearean works are mostly considered comic tragedies, still the profundity of darkness in his work are phenomenal. I am happy and sad to be in the phase I am currently at.
  3. People with whom I can connect most are the people with whom I can converse; converse on pretty much everything under the Sun. I like crazy thoughts, philosophizing and practically analyzing life and its so many multi-faceted aspects.
  4. Life is transitory, nothing stays in the sands of space and time. How many times has that been literally true in your life?
I am profusely disillusioned, disillusioned about the whole concept called life. I am definitely not talking in the best of the profound positive moods as my other blog posts. But yeah, not all days are the same. Life has its share of grays as well.

Circumstances have been confusing. There seem to be no definite direction, a bunch of all desolate and dismal gloomy paths is all what is visible. Nothing seems to be leading anywhere.

If someone would ask, I would quote:

“I write of what I’ve lived,
Of past love lost, and of my life.
I can’t help rolling in the ashes,
It soots me."

Though I believe in what they say,
there should be incumbent negative energy and outpouring positive energy, yet I wrote this poem:

I step my foot into the white world,
A world full of icy curls,
An ambiance of darkness and gloom,
Amidst all the brightness all I decipher is the loom.

A chilly wind blows my shoulder,
Eroding every sense of me to get bolder,
Leaving me in a world to shudder,
When no one passes by me any closer.

A black swan sings a melancholy tune somewhere,
The cold only making its feathers to shriek and shiver,
But in some corner I silently murmur,
When will the white world of darkness ever care?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Following Keats...

I was reading the famous poem Hyperion by John Keats today and loves these lines:

"The blaze, the splendor, and the symmetry,
I cannot see - but darkness, death and darkness.

Even here, into my centre of repose,
The shady visions come to domineer,
Insult, and blind..."

Indeed life has all its grandeur: it has blaze, the times of flashy happiness, it has splendor, the ability to enthrall us with the most unexpected and symmetry, the fact that history repeats itself.

How often, however, are we lost in darkness? Why does it happen? Why do we get lost in the terrains of "darkness, death, darkness"?

Somehow, sometime, all of us retire to a repose. A state where we wish to seek peace, a place to recuperate ourselves. Life is probably the hunt for that state of repose. But as Keats says, the shady visions still domineer, insult and blind him. When does our quest for the repose end then? What are we really running after?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Love and Tears

One of Nature's most amazing gifts to human beings is probably their ability to feel emotions. And coupled with that comes our notions of joys and woes, happiness and sorrow, laughter and tears. Tears, why after all do we shed tears?

Grief comes as a big burden to heart: grief at things not being the way we wanted them to be, grief at losing a loved one, grief at feeling helpless and seeing something go by, something really close to our hearts. We are definitely the smartest species on Earth, and so comes our inability to accept the reality so many times. We shed tears.

Tears make us feel self-pity. They lighten our heart. They are definitely a way to combat the symptoms of grief. But how many times are we really strong and bold enough to relieve ourselves from grief? I am afraid, often we cannot.

Nevertheless, when times are not so rosy, I often stick to shedding tears. They are mine I know, and are going to be mine whatever happens. I feel close to myself - I feel, when I am shedding tears, I can feel my heart; at a point of time when the dearest people in your life have turned a deaf ear to you - a feel as if they never cared.

These are tough times. Everyone of us has his or her share of it in some manner. And I guess these are the tests of life we have to stand time to time. Tears come in handy - I am not a big advocate of nurturing hatred for a person who leaves me at life's crossroads. I am not a person like that. To me, love subsumes everything. And even when that love inflicts pains on us, tears come to us. We continue to love, may be after several thin threads of transparent water rolling down our face. This is still universal: love which is true to me forever.

Sometimes I feel love doesn't probably need reciprocation, though it is great to have. Love would remain kindled inside my heart always; and tears are the best friends on the difficult road that the love would entail.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"Let the child come home"

Greed. Money. Comfort. Pleasure. Career. Love. Hatred. Sex. Power. Lust.

One and all of us seem to be running after one thing or the other among these in our lives. We are so much so engrossed in fulfilling our desires that many a times we forget the beauty of the existence of life on Earth. Some of us are fighting for oil, some are running after more money, some of us want to be successful professionally - in a never-ending marathon to satiate our never-ending desires. We turn selfish, we forget what we have left behind and we never stoop below to collect the beautiful relics of the wonderful gift called "life". We run after building our very own little realm of blurred insights, in an island which has moved far-far away from a characteristic called "life".

The movie "Children of Men" was beautiful. Not because of its commercial and critical acclaim, it made me think about things which we have far left behind somewhere, in the infinite sands of time. In a world with thousands of people getting killed everyday, millions dying from hunger, another hundreds fighting fanatic wars or some war against terror, the movie made me think what would it take to return to our instincts of being "human beings"? What massacre would have to befall the humankind to return to our utmost identity that we are human beings after all - after all the differences we have sowed in the past thousands of years for caste, color, creed or gender biases? I hope it doesn't take, as the movie goes, a whole species called homo sapiens lose their very instinct to be alive - the ability to bear a child.

Isn't life beautiful? Why and where are we running after then? I know greed and desire for power are required for a civilization to thrive. But I feel we are losing something in between. Something very important; something which I hope doesn't threat the whole survival of humankind altogether.

Before it is too late, I hope we realize our first and the last identity - human beings - and make efforts together towards making the world a better place to live in. A journey which would need a lot of patience, a lot of efforts and a lot of hope which frees ourselves from the shackles of lust, anger, hatred and grudge we have nurtured inside our hearts eons ago.

Let the child come home...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

US license plate state descriptors

I thought I would create a list of the US license plate state descriptors! Here it goes in alphabatical order:

Alabama: Yellowhammer State
Alaska: The Last Frontier
Arizona: The Grand Canyon State
Arkansas: The Natural State
California: The Golden State
Colorado: The Centennial State
Connecticut: The Constitution State
Delaware: The First State
Florida: The Sunshine State
Georgia: The Peach State
Hawaii: Aloha State
Idaho: The Gem State
Illinois: Prairie State
Indiana: The Hoosier State
Iowa: The Hawkeye State
Kansas: The Sunflower State
Kentucky: Bluegrass State
Louisiana: The Pelican State
Maine: The Pine Tree State
Maryland: The Old Line State
Massachusetts: The Bay State
Michigan: The Great Lakes State
Minnesota: The North Star State
Missisippi: The Magnolia State
Missouri: Show-me State
Montana: The Treasure State
Nebraska: The Cornhusker State
Nevada: The Silver State
New Jersey: The Garden State
New Hampshire: The Granite State
New Mexico: The Land of Enchantment
New York: The Empire State
North Carolina: The Tar Heel State
North Dakota: Peach Garden State
Ohio: The Buckeye State
Oklahoma: The Sooner State
Oregon: The Beaver State
Pennsylvania: The Keystone State
Rhode Island: Ocean State
South Carolina: The Palmetto State
South Dakota: Mount Rushmore State
Tennessee: The Volunteer State
Texas: The Lone Star State
Utah: The Beehive State
Vermont: The Green Mountain State
Virginia: The Old Dominion State
Washington: The Evergreen State
West Virginia: The Mountain State
Wisconsin: The Badger State
Wyoming: The Equality or Cowboy State

Monday, March 10, 2008

Is this how the technology is outgrowing us?

A lazed off afternoon, spring break, though still sitting at lab, and a point of time when there is absolutely no looking back, possibly not much looking ahead and a time when deadlines are something we are too used to as graduate students - it was a very typical holiday afternoon at school today. I needed to work on two things with utmost immediacy, but the penchant to constantly live in the present that I have been trying to attempt since past sometime marred a rather eerie blow to my afternoon work! Off I was meeting some friends at the 4th floor of Brickyard (our department): reason, just to chat.

Then came the topic of primitive computers - and certainly came up the Moore's law effect - the boon of the hardware (also software technology) of the new century. Popped up this question, which was pretty obvious, "Remember those days of floppy disk drives?" Sure yeah, we do - and Ice Age it might look, honestly only four-five years back we were using Floppy disks, not only using them, but actually heavily relying on them, often just helplessly waiting for them to get corrupt. And look at today - I just got this buy [dot] com ad email the other day that some 750 GB of external hard drive was decently cheap. 750 GB, isn't that a ridiculous leap from 1.44 MB just five years back?

So obviously, the inquisitive question that comes henceafter is that, is there any limit to this exorbitant flexibility in hardware technology? If so what is that maximum point of stagnation? The Singularity? I am not sure.

On a different track, look at our lives - we are leading a life where probably things are changing at a pace a decently smart human brain can possibly digest at any time. Are we aware of that? I guess no - simple things, the floppy disk transition to external hard drives worth 750 GB. More than countably infinite number of things are at our fingertips - another boon of the technology evolution.

However, the question remains - is this how the technology is outgrowing us?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

When will we really grow?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are entirely mine and are not representative of any group or organization I might or might not be consciously a part of.

A few weeks back, I was watching this movie "A Time to Kill" which tells the story of how an African American man seeks justice in the South where the Whites dominate the society in every aspect. It is how a father who recklessly shoots the rapists of his daughter justifies the reason behind such an act. And how despite all the odds in the "white" society, it shows how we still have people around us who can think beyond the peripheries of color and creed, rationalize a human being through his activities, instead of the color of his skin or religion.

The movie made me really step aside behind a little bit and think of the biases we always cherish in ourselves:

"I won't ever date an African-American guy",
"The manager is a Black person?!",
"Oh yeah, he is a Muslim, he should undergo strict security check at the airport,"
"Oh, he is a Muslim - isn't he finding it difficult to find jobs here?"
"Oh he comes from India, don't people in India sleep on streets?"
"Oh India, right. I heard it's very dirty out there,"
"He is an Asian guy. No point asking him out for any Friday night plan: he only understands staring at the computer screen,"
"Oh Hispanic, those brown skinned people - must have fled illegally to the US."

And the list could go on. However, it is really unfortunate. And the irony being - everyone of us does so in some form at some point of time - biases that we ourselves have generated, gathered from our friends and acquaintances or simply heard somewhere. But how of many these make sense? I agree we almost always can define traits (often negative) for a set of people - since it is so easy to make conclusions then; but how many times does it universally hold? How many times do we actually give a thought in judging the person through his acts, behavior and outlook than by the color of his skin, his nationality or his religion? Seldom.

Why is it that since more than two hundred years since US got independent, there were no African-American presidents? Or that when did we last consider a Muslim guy doing something constructive for the society? It is sad, but true that there are certainly African-American people who could have been US presidents or Muslim guys who probably want to fight against the so-called religious terrorism, instead of endorsing them.

But sadly, we have always overlooked them. We have preferred living in a world driven by our biases - simply because it makes us use our brain lesser and may be simplifies the horrendous mundane and selfish lives we have been leading all this while.

We talk of the "rise" of humanity; but I don't see it coming, unfortunately. When will we break free those shackles? When will we really grow out into individuals who really deserve to be the dominators of the world?

Monday, March 03, 2008

A long winter morning...

"It is not that I don't love you. Nor is that I am being insensitive. Just that, it has been sometime that I felt this relationship has not been working. I also feel we have different expectations from each other and that we are not able to meet each other's needs out of a relationship, staying four thousand miles apart. So I feel I should cut the chord at one point. And I think it is this point... I don't want to keep any contact with you anymore..."

... the letter read, on a day cloudy and overcast, dull and morose as it could be, with no beam of the Sun peeping Sonam's study desk, unlike other winter mornings. It was a day she had been waiting for since a while - since she started seeing Ronny last May. It was the Valentine's Day. As she would naturally do out of curiosity, she stepped up to her mailbox and to her hopes, found an envelope that read "From Ronny G. 324 S. Madison Dr., Foster, RI 02825."

She was stuck to ecstasy, expecting it to be a Valentine card from her beloved. Ran she straight to her study desk, juggled through her tray of knick-knacks to find a knife. She quickly opened the envelope and to her surprise found it was letter. The desk wasn't as bright it would be on other days, so she turned on her lamp. The reading started in the yellow intense light.

Having read it, she felt like having a wet face: they were two thin threads of tears rolling down fast down her cheeks. She knew, the day was long, even though it was still a winter morning. She knew she had a long journey to cover; on a road where she could only see a faint dull glow at the end; but whose voyage to her was unknown. A voyage she would now have to make without somebody at the center of her life, with a spirit which should come with whatever it takes.

It was a long winter morning, till the sun suddenly set.