Dhido

“Because Dhido builds up your muscles,” he said, swallowing Dhido in such a way that I could clearly see the lump going down his gullet as his Adam’s apple moved up and down. My mother chuckled hearing my father’s explanation. My sister started having fun trying her best to swallow Dhido, saying, “Dada, dada, brother, look at here I swallowed it.” I imitated them with the hope that I would make my muscles strong but the lump-like Dhido got stuck in my throat.

In our mealtime, we gathered around two pots, which still exist, filled with Dhido, cooked flour, and Gundruk, the Nepali national food made from turnip leaves, and its soup in the kitchen. The kitchen was right beside the bed on the floor. My father had adjusted a hearth made of three stones of even shape and placing them in a triangular with a fire lit in the center, on top of which my mother would put a container or kettle or a pot and cook or boil. She used to use sometimes wood shavings, hay, dried leaves, or dried chunks of animals’ dung inside the hearth for fuel and to cook food. After the food was ready, we all bundled together and spread around very closely. My mother served everything to everyone evenly and we ate. After we finished eating, my mother washed the dishes at the water-pump and cleaned the area with fresh cow manure rolling it around the stickiness of the wet dung collecting pieces of fallen food. She thought this made the floor clean, but now I realize this was the cause of the many flies that visited us. We had no snacks, no dessert. No variety, each day we had the same food, Dhido and Gundruk, or whatever one might call “breakfast” or “lunch” or “dinner.” We could not afford rice, which was deemed a rich man’s food, for many years, except for some special occasions. One day we were sharing a light moment over morsels of Dhido and Gundruk. 

“Daddy, why don’t we eat rice?” I asked him dipping the lump-like Dhido into the Gundruk-soup. “It is very hard for me to swallow.” 

“Because Dhido builds up your muscles,” he said, swallowing Dhido in such a way that I could clearly see the lump going down his gullet as his Adam’s apple moved up and down. My mother chuckled hearing my father’s explanation. My sister started having fun trying her best to swallow Dhido, saying, “Dada, dada, brother, look at here I swallowed it.” I imitated them with the hope that I would make my muscles strong but the lump-like Dhido got stuck in my throat.

“Drink water, drink water,” my mother said, handing me a cup of water. I drank, and reluctantly my throat accepted the Dhido. It slowly went down giving me the feeling of its motion through my esophagus and finally resting in my stomach hard and stiff. 

“Yes, Buba, I feel I am strong,” I said, trying another lump-like Dhido.

“See, I don’t say something for nothing. The more Dhido you eat the stronger you become,” he said, showing me another morsel of Dhido he ate. 

But immediately I got a severe stomach pain and that ended in diarrhea. Since then, my father never encouraged me to eat Dhido, which would not make my muscles stronger, but weaker.

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