I’m a Left-hander, but I’m Not Unlucky or Evil
Jan 23, 2000: The day I was labelled a left-hander for life
It was my first day in primary school. Mom was filling the registration form that asked basic details about me and my personality.
After she filled in all the details, the teacher asked her to mark an asterisk near my name and write a note at the end of the registration form, “He writes and eats with his left hand. So, please take extra care.”
As a 5-year-old, I thought I was special. In a class of 40 students, only I would be given extra care. But little did I know that it was not a special treatment but only the starting of stereotypes, and masked harassment.
Before admitting me to school, my parents had tried for a couple of years to get rid of my habit to write, eat, and do other things using my left hand. But nothing worked!
“Ma’am, please try if Yugansh can use his right hand. You know that using a left hand is not considered lucky,” my mom pleaded to my teacher before leaving me in the class for the rest of the day.
For the next few years, teachers at school and parents at home forced me to use my right hand. I remember receiving a few slaps, especially when I would eat or write with my left hand.
Teachers in school would forcefully wrap my right hand around the pencil and make me write.
All in vain.
Finally, everyone admitted that I was adamant about using my left hand to do everything.
I thought I had won the battle—the battle between listening to my body versus listening to others.
Alas, I wish I knew how wrong I was!
It was a victory for merely a few days; in the wake of it came a never-ending battle against bullying, stereotypes, and a narrow mindset.
I realized that the world considered only right-handers as normal people.
Whenever I would write or eat, everyone would look at me as if I’m an alien.
“Are you mimicking someone? Is your right hand fractured since you are writing with your left hand?”
I had to face these questions – at school, at home, from friends and strangers, every day.
Whenever I visited the temple, I extended my left hand to accept the prasad. And the priest would dare me!
On any auspicious occasion, when I used my left hand to hold the pooja thali or any holy commodity, my family members would look at me as if I committed a non-bailable crime!
At dining tables, inviting a glance from relatives and new friends became a habit as I would take a bite of the roti with my left hand.
Gradually, such silent reproaches faded away. But the taunts and bullying continued for a while.
At times, it would be suffocating. Not that I had chosen to be a left-hander voluntarily.
Then why does this world consider only left-handed people abnormal or alien?
Sep 19, 2007: Left-handers can do proud to the country
For others, this day was a moment of celebration as Yuvraj Singh had smashed 6 sixes in an over to make India secure a comfortable win over England.
But for me, it was a moment of great pride because a left-hander was getting due recognition and appreciation.
I remember staying up late that night and partying alone in my room while reading tweets, “The left-hander who made IMPOSSIBLE look POSSIBLE.”
Nov 4, 2008: Left-handers can become leaders
Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the United States, created history in so many ways when he was elected president. Every time he held a pen in his left-hand to sign a document, I felt delighted.
A left-hander was now on top of the most powerful nation in the world. Finally, the notion “Left-handers are unlucky” was being challenged.
The world is changing for left-handers
My dad is an ardent fan of Sachin Tendulkar. My mom considers ‘Sholay’ to be the biggest film in Indian history because of Amitabh Bachchan. Once, I told them how both these superstars are left-handed and have earned infinite success, fame, and money with their hard work.
Thankfully, my parents don’t order or force me anymore to change my dominant hand or use my right-hand to write or eat.
But this article is to celebrate not only how my parents’ thinking has transformed, but also how everyone else has evolved in their thinking too.
The stereotypes and notions against left-handed people are reducing.
Parents have started to support their children to use whatever hand they are comfortable with.
Brands like The Left hand Shop have come forward to recognize, manufacture and sell exclusive products for left-handers.
But in some parts of India and the world, these stereotypes still exist. People still consider left hand unlucky. These stereotypes will eliminate from our society completely when we all come together and spread awareness.
Rather than shirking away, we all will have to collectively speak about this issue on social platforms, during family gatherings, and while conversing with our friends and relatives.