“Namaste” is not all that you can hear in the morning from a Nepali.
In this country rich in history, it is usual to express concern for the neighbor more bluntly.
So when we came to Nepal for the first time, we lived with the Boguns – a Brahmin caste – for a long time we could not get used to this specific morning ritual, when they ask us if we already ate rice – “Namaste, eating rice?” Our Pokharian neighbors did not expect us to know Nepalese, so they formulated a sentence in English as they understood the subject.
At the beginning, I understood it as a treat. This turned out to be usually wrong, although many Nepalese people are ready to put a plate or a glass in front of you. Then – slowly implementing the nuances of the local customs – I made a dialogue explaining that we do not eat rice for breakfast. At the time, it was often understood that we were not eating breakfast in our family at all.
In Nepali, the question is more generally:
खाना खानु भयो? khana khanu bhayo? – means “Have you had a meal?”
So it turns out that rice is absolutely synonymous with them with the term breakfast, although the Nepali breakfast offer section is wide: samosa, puri tarkari, sweet sel … are some attractions from the morning table by the roadside chay-store.
However, if you have eaten sandwiches, you just need to confirm the question.
Often, however, the morning greeting is about tea:
चिया खानुभयो? chiya khanu bhayo? – means “Have you had tea?”
The question becomes valid this afternoon, when people eat their evening meal around seven o’clock or eight o’clock. It sounds then one voice differently:
खाजा खानु भयो? khaja khanu bhayo?.