“Nikhat, pass me the curry!” ordered my cousin. We had gathered for a family get together at grandma’s home. The heavenly aroma of the food.Yum! Unable to contain my hunger, I passed the bowl to my cousin and sat down to devour the food. But, but wait, everyone at the table had stopped in their tracks and were staring at me. My mom gave me that exasperated look of a typical Indian parent who is always disappointed with his/her child for no valid reason. Uh-oh, there was a reason here though. I had passed the bowl using my left hand.
I think I forgot to mention that usually, my grandma is the sweetest. But no, not in such things when I have violated the traditions, values and all the typical sentimental things. Do you get it? Yes, I am a left-handed person and fun fact: left-handedness and Indian culture don’t get along that well. Actually, if you are a leftie, you are screwed for life. Let’s go back in time-about thousands of years ago when this association of His Majesty, the Devil with the left hand started.
In the seventeenth century, it was believed that the devil baptized his followers with his left hand. Did anyone ever think that maybe it had just sprained his right hand? Poor guy, sigh. In France, its believed that witches greeted Satan with their left hand. Okay, so we, intelligent homo sapiens decided that left is the code word for all evil things in this world. Woah, if only it were that easy to judge a person. Whatever happened to “don’t judge a book by its cover” thing?
It is also considered that we can see ghosts only over our left shoulder. Wonder who ever saw one! We are not supposed to enter a place using our left foot. The left hand is not to be used for basically anything except cleaning your shit. So, in simple words, my grandma’s logic is that if I am greeting someone with my left hand, I am basically shoving my shit in their face and yeah, everything you do with your left hand becomes shitty too. It’s a daily torture to force myself to do things using the auspicious right hand.
Then there are myths that lefties don’t live for a long time, they are more prone to mental disorders and accidents blah blah blah. Well, maybe it’s the other way round. Maybe it’s all the pressure that the world puts on us which ultimately leads to our short lifespan. I realized I was screwed in the school itself seeing the swarm of right-handed people using tables favoured for them, computers with the mouse on the right side and scissors and other scary shit for people like me. I learned that it’s an unfair life early on.
And yes, all those facts about left-handed people being creative and stuff have just increased peoples’ expectations from me, so that I can disappoint them even more by proving that I am pretty much below average. I survived school despite the nagging of my teachers to improve my handwriting. Or maybe we have it better because in the olden days’ teachers thought of solving this “problem” by beating up the left-handed children. Among all these campaigns for human rights and stuff, we have become a forgotten minority. So, here’s the thing: we live in the 21st century. I am left-handed. I don’t do dark magic. I am not super creative and yes, it is high time we gave logic a chance. Period.
Author: Shaik Nikhat