Before the Break of Dawn: Secrets of the Namboodiri Women is a celebration of life in a Kerala Brahmin household. Most of the narratives start before dawn. The ordinary business of having a bath, the almost compulsory visit to the temple, the task of caring for the unapologetically patriarchal male Namboodiris, the retiring ladies of the house and the Irikkanammas, all following a strict code of conduct. One can smell the lazy smoke of the kitchen fires, the clatter of vessels being cleaned as the household gradually comes awake, brass lamps burnished to look like gold, the chill of the sleeping waters of the pond, the subtle fragrances of blooms easily identifiable by their smell alone, the simple but wholesome and highly repetitive meals of the day, interspersed with rare festival days, the highlight of which is obviously the feast, with the winding down of the day into soft nights where birdsong and fireflies are very much part of life.
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