What is it like to be a leftie in a right-handed world?

What is it like to be a leftie in a right-handed world?

Metrolife took this question to people who write, eat and play differently

If you are a left-hander, chances are your childhood was a grumpy one. Parents and relatives would complain about how you eat, write, play, and even hold the toothbrush with the wrong hand. In school and college, however, you were dubbed attractive and cool.

Being one among 10 per cent of people in the world comes with its pros and cons.

Three lefties tell Metrolife what their life is like and why events like the International Lefthanders Day (August 13) are important.

Abhimanyu Sharma, boxer

From turning the pages of a book to operating a mouse, these simple talks were a source of inconvenience for Sharma in the beginning.

“Also, most of the tools and products I use are programmed for the right-handed majority,” the 22-year-old adds.

However, there is a bright side to his story. The district-level boxer says, “Being a leftie gives you an advantage over a lot of your opponents. The sport is all about reading the hand movement and the majority of the tactics involved in the game are taught to tackle a right-hander, that’s why.”

He has an edge outside the boxing ring too. “People still get fascinated at the sight of a leftie. They want to know if I was born left-handed or if I became one gradually. It makes me feel like a celebrity sometimes,” the southpaw says.

Upasana Tripathi, college student

Unlike Sharma, the BTech student says her left-handedness is not much of a bother to either her or others.

“Most of the tools or mechanical products are programmed for right-handers, so gripping the controls of a game or a vehicle is a bit off. Writing on the school desk also was one recurring problem,” shares Upasana.

But left-handers have an advantage. “Most people are unaware that left-hand people are partially ambidextrous,” she says. That is, they can use their right hand pretty well. Ambidexterity doesn’t come that naturally to the right-handed folks, she adds.

Chaitra Rao, sales consultant

She feels that superstitions surrounding the left-handers have lessened considerably today. “People have made peace with the fact that writing or dining with the left hand is normal. Instances when left-handers were considered bad luck have also reduced,” says Chaitra.

She adds that days like the International Lefthanders Day have brought visibility to this minority and it has spread awareness about the challenges they face.

Finding or customising products for left-handers is easier now, she makes a point.

‘Teachers, don’t force kids to use the right hand’

Historically, left-handedness has been seen as a consequence of brain damage or as a bad omen. These are misconceptions and these should be done away with, says Dr Maxim Pereira, a counseling psychologist and assistant professor at Montfort College.

There is also a need to make schooling normal for the lefties. “I have heard of instances where schoolteachers force children to give up left-handedness and use their right hand instead. This should not be done. This can be due to a lack of awareness about left-handedness. The school administration must be sensitised on this aspect,” he says. Explaining why some people are left-handed, he says, “Genetics, mothers’ mental health at the time of pregnancy and conception, and the environment a kid grows up in, play a role in the formation of handedness. Some turn out to be ambidextrous.”

He adds that children who use both their hands to eat, write or perform other activities usually develop dominant handedness either through parental modeling or through self-discovery.

Check these out

Association of Left-Handers India: A community-led organisation, it works towards creating awareness and eradicating superstitions about left-handedness among parents, teachers, and others. Find them on Facebook

The Left Hand Shop: The company makes products exclusively for the left-handed folks, from school stationery and pouch to playing cards and cricket kits. Visit thelefthandshop.in