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The M V Dering arrives in Little Andaman island at 5.30 am. The ship left Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, the previous night. The passenger jetty was washed away by December's tsunami, so the ship berths at the cargo jetty instead. A smaller boat takes us ashore.

We step out on a floating dock, then on to the breakwater wall, where we are met by autorickshaws, jeeps and a Qualis. By the time we reach the tehsildar's house, it is 6 am. The early hour makes us apologetic, but he is game for a chat.

"The tsunami forced us to wake early," he says. "I used to be summoned for help at 4 am." He gives us a gist of what the government had done and is doing. The destruction outside his house speaks for itself. The debris is yet to be cleared.

Shafi, the autorickshaw driver, takes us to a cafe of sorts where he insists the best tea on the island is served. The cafe has a large carrom board with a striker that is much larger than normal. You have to stand and play. People play a few shots while waiting for their tea. We play a little, too.

Word and Images: A Ganesh Nadar

Part I in the series: IAF air base arises out of tsunami wreckage

Complete coverage: Waves of Destruction

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