After eating a few traditional Nepali meals, consisting of Daal Bhat and vegetables) our fearless leader, Rishi, told us to leave our utensils and napkins behind. He told us he would be giving us a lesson on how to eat Daal Bhat properly, using only our fingers. As most of us had never even thought about eating a meal without silverware, we were interested to see how it would go, but excited to learn. After scrubbing our hands well, we listened to Rishi’s lesson about how we can infuse energy into our food by eating with our hands, and how we can become more interconnected with our food and all the aspects that brought it to us. We learned that the trick to eating with our hands is to use your thumb; after intentionally mixing the lentils, rice, and veggies together, you scoop a bit into your fingers and shove it into your mouth with your thumb. We ended up being able to clean our plates even better than with silverware, though even after some of us were done licking our fingers, we still felt like we had to rinse our hands.
It may seem somewhat insignificant, but it was one of the biggest cultural shifts we experienced here so far and we were thrilled to be able to practice it successfully. Thinking about the sky, and the rain, and the earth, and the rice, really helped to connect us together and with our food.