A morning call in Kerala

I stumbled, bleary-eyed, onto the deck of the houseboat that had been my home for the last two nights as we meandered along the twisting Keralan backwaters.

I let out a yawn and looked down at my watch. 7am. Early. Too early, but nature had stirred, beckoned by the rising sun and the amplified chatter of the birds, hungry for their first meal of the day, was drawing me from my sleep.

Looking out over the still waters, I watched a slim wooden canoe, steered carefully by two men wearing nothing but lundis, slicing through the reflection of the palm-fringed shores that flanked the snaking river and realised, for the men who work the waters, the day began hours ago.

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