The tradition is to serve lunch on a banana leaf
Even if it is always possible to ask for a spoon, it is a habit to eat with the right hand. Washing hands is mandatory before starting a meal. You can also wash your leaf with a little amount of water before being served, especially when the meal is taken on a banana leaf outside.
If you are invited, you’ll be served by the house lady and you’ll be able to eat as soon as you get served: in India, it is not necessary to wait for all the guests to be served before starting eating.
No left hand allowed !
In some parts of Africa and Middle-East, it is common to eat with three fingers only. In India, the meal is eaten with all the fingers (of the right hand).
When eating rice, just mix the gravy and the rice with your hand, then grab a little amount of the mixture in your fingers forming a cup and push the food with your thumb to put it in your mouth. You’ll get used to it quickly!
This eating manner is very helpful to put aside what you cannot eat: cinnamon sticks, cloves or chicken and fish bones. During the meal, you can put your left arm in front of you, parallel to the table. You can use your left hand to drink water or to get refills.
To show you have finished your meal, you can fold the banana leaf. It can be very useful to remember to fold your leaf since an open leaf means you want to eat more. Beware, the way you fold it has a signification: fold the leaf toward you if you enjoyed the meal and the other way if you didn’t. But the latter is seen as a very rude behavior.
Once everyone finished their meals, you can get up to wash your hands again.