For most part of my life I have had to battle for the rightness of the leftie. Growing up, everyone told me to hold the pencil from the right, because left was not ‘normal’. In the kitchen, the peeler ditched me and messed me up, built for the right handed. The scissors too had me force-fitting my four fingers in the tiny slot and the thumb in the longer one. At the dining table, despite adequate etiquette, I would be bonking my elbows with the person on the right while eating. If I preferred a quick after-dinner dance, I’d often encounter people with two ‘left feet.’ In the desktop keyboards, I used to cry hoarse about the number keypad being on the right. All is clearly not right but ‘right’ in a leftie’s world. Perhaps that’s why we have a special day to celebrate and crib. Happy Left Handers Day.
A quarter of the world’s population is like me. First celebrated in 1976, International Left Handers Day is a celebration dedicated to that section of the human lot, that loves to revels in its uniqueness!
And we are quite good at showing off. Leonardo da Vinci was left-handed. Mozart, Marie Curie, Mother Teresa, Barack Obama, Lionel Messi. Lefties don’t lose a single opportunity to be high handed about its ‘famous’ lot. Good day to find plenty of statistics to defend our lot. Left-handers are more likely to be geniuses because over 20% of all MENSA members are lefties. A study even found that the left-handed are, on average 15% richer than right-handed men of those who attended college, and 26% richer if they graduated.
At the dining table, despite adequate etiquette, I would be bonking my elbows with the person on the right while eating.
But once wonders if all these theories really matter when you are targeted for being a ‘lefty types’. Political conversations in the drawing rooms put me on the edge of the seat. I have always worn my left of centre batch with pride. But now they have started using left interchangeably with Lutyens. I had to point to a person calling me left-socialist variety that when it comes to government schemes, even the most right lean left.
While we are good with coining phrases, the English language itself hasn’t been very forgiving towards lefties, always associating ‘good’ with right. So when you are having a good day, you might have woken up on the right side of the bed or been at the right place at the right time. To refer to the ‘left’ of things you’d have to look at ‘counter’ clockwise and if you wanted a respectable alternate to the word lefty all you’d get is something going down i.e south paw. Now you don’t want to know that kefty, paws, handless, ham-fisted are all other words that may describe you and me, the specially gifted ones.
I have felt left out when sitting for exams holding my clipboard high up at right angles and writing the test on the edge of the seat
Even if the language takes a while to fix, suppose some things can be more accessible and be easily available except at niche stores for lefties. Those spiral notebooks? Aargh. Every time one starts a line, the spiral rubs against your hand when you could do with no resistance to the flow. The worse, imagine using a right handed fountain pen that digs into the paper and gives you no ink flow. I love driving but the drink-cup holder is on my left and I would prefer it on my right. I have felt left out when sitting for exams holding my clipboard high up at right angles and writing the test on the edge of the seat. Why? Because no one cared lefties needed desk space on the left. The pandit at the temple asked for the right hand while giving me the parshad.
Tired as I may have become dealing with being in the leftfield over this discrimination, I often take solace in knowing we have a special day, we discuss this every year, we have a global left handers club and we have real conversations about this issue. Realizing that everything in this world is right but only a few overcome it.
Feature image: Naija News